News Release
 June 13, 2022
CONTACT: Kathy Sautter
716 635 5577

Steering Committee Seeks Public Comment, Town Hall Scheduled for July 21

Contact: Rev. Mark Blue Co-Chair, 716-812-1104

Paul Vukelic Co-Chair,

The Buffalo 5/14 Survivors Fund today announced the members of the Local Steering Committee, to be led by Rev. Mark Blue, President of the Buffalo NAACP, and Paul Vukelic, Chair of the Buffalo Niagara Partnership, and President & CEO of Try-it Distributing Co., Inc. The Steering Committee will be responsible for setting policies for the eligibility and distribution of funds collected by the Buffalo 5/14 Survivors Fund, benefitting those impacted by the May 14 shooting at the Tops Market on Jefferson Avenue. The community, business, and civic leaders who will volunteer their time on the Steering Committee include: Rev. Mark Blue, Co-Chair President, Buffalo NAACP Paul Vukelic, Co-Chair Chair, Buffalo Niagara Partnership Thomas Beauford President & CEO, Buffalo Urban League Mike Cummings Vice Chair of Community Affairs and Outreach for the Dept. of Psychiatry at Univ. of Buffalo Jon Dandes Corporate Vice President, Rich Products Justine David Public Relations Specialist, Mower Agency Andy Davis COO, ECMC Peter DeJesus President, WNY Area Labor Federation, AFL-CIO Pastor Larry Donalson Pastor, Greater Works Christian Fellowship Tim Hogues Neighborhood Resident Cedric Holloway Director, Johnnie B Wiley Sports Pavilion Willie Hutch Neighborhood Resident Kimberly Johnson Neighborhood Resident Mark Manna Western Area Director, UFCW Local One Lindsay M. McKenna, Esq. Bond, Schoeneck & King Tiara Parker Pulse Survivor Pastor Kinzer Pointer Pastor, Agape Fellowship Baptist Church Kim Rapp Victim Advocate Daphne Ross Sr. Director, Say Yes to Education (grew up in the neighborhood) Judge Rose Sconiers Incoming Chair, Community Foundation for Greater Buffalo Patty Thomas Board, Thurman Thomas Foundation Thurman Thomas Board, Thurman Thomas Foundation Chantele Thompson Chief Diversity Officer, Mayor Byron Brown's Office Francisco Vasquez Former CEO, Child and Family Services of Buffalo Brad Watts Community Relations Manager, People Inc. Samantha White, Esq. Legal Aid of Buffalo Mike Biehler, Esq. Tops Markets Diane Colgan Tops Markets The Steering Committee today published a set of Draft Protocols which it proposes to govern eligibility and distribution for 100% of all money donated to assist survivors of the Buffalo shooting on May 14th. “We are committed to a fair and transparent process where everyone has a voice,” said Co-Chair Rev. Mark Blue, “We want to hear from survivors, donors, advocates and the community at large so we can make an informed decision about the distribution to all of these families.” Public Comments can be submitted via e-mail to, by July 20, 2022. The Steering Committee will conduct a Town Hall meeting on Thursday, July 21 at 6:00 pm at City Honors School, 186 E. North St., Buffalo, NY 14204. At the meeting there will be an explanation of the Draft Protocol and the application submission process, and an opportunity for questions and comments from potential applicants and the general public. The Draft Protocol proposes five categories of eligibility: families of those who were killed, those who were injured by gunfire, those who suffered some other type of physical injury arising from the event, those who were present and suffered psychological trauma, and employees of the Jefferson Avenue store not present at the time of the shooting. The donations distributed by the Buffalo 5/14 Survivors Fund are a gift and are not considered to be compensation for any economic loss. Co-Chair Paul Vukelic added, “These donations could never make the survivors whole, but will hopefully provide the recipients with some comfort knowing that there are many people who wanted to give in recognition of their pain and help in their healing process.” The Buffalo 5/14 Survivors Fund is being administered by the National Compassion Fund, a nonprofit dedicated to coordinating donations for victims of mass casualty crimes. It administered relief funds for victims of 21 mass casualty events, including mass shootings at Pulse Nightclub in Orlando, FL, the Route 91 Harvest Festival in Las Vegas, Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, FL, WalMart in El Paso, TX, Stop&Shop in West Hempstead, NY, and Kroger in Collierville, TN. Any person wanting information or updates on the Buffalo 5/14 Survivors Fund are encouraged to register on the Victim Survivor Contact form at ##


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