With over $28 million dollars raised by some 50,000 donors–and still more coming in–the One Fund Boston is thriving in its efforts to raise funds for the victims of the Boston Marathon bombing. Attorney Kenneth Feinberg has been charged with overseeing the distribution of those funds; he administered the September 11th Victims Compensation Fund and claims against BP after the Gulf oil spill.
“ ‘The result has been sort of unprecedented for private donations,” Feinberg told Andrea Mitchell Thursday.
“I am amazed over the years at the charitable impulse of the American people. Whether it’s Aurora, or Virginia Tech, or the Indiana State Fair windstorm, or Newtown, or the Boston Marathon, people simply as a community, as one nation, people just send in nickels, dimes, dollars, whatever they can afford. And they want to express their sort of cohesiveness, their allegiance with the victims. And it is one of the few uplifting aspects of this whole undertaking.”
Feinberg said he allocates the funds, which are often put toward otherwise-unaffordable future treatment for victims, by determining how much money there is to distribute, when it will be available, and soliciting views at public meetings. Those meetings are set to begin Monday at the Boston Public Library.
“It’s Solomonic, really,” Feinberg told Mitchell. “I mean, there’s only so much money. We have four [families] who lost loved ones, four lives lost. We’ve got a terrible number of double amputees and single amputees. We’ve got a score or more people that have been in the hospital for over two weeks. And you try and allocate the money to the most seriously injured or lives lost.”
“How do you play God, with all due respect, and decide what is the value of an 8-year-old Martin Richards’ future life to his family and the loss that they have suffered?” Mitchell asked.
“You can’t do that,” Feinberg said. “The best you can do is try and exercise some sound human judgment. We have this much money. In the past, in Aurora, 9/11, Virginia Tech, we did it this way. In Newtown, they’ll do it this way. And you try and build on what you’ve learned and hope that both the victims and the public and the families will understand the impossible task that you confront. But you brace yourself. You brace yourself.”