Frequently Asked Questions
What is the Coastside Victims Fund?
The Coastside Victims Fund (CVF) is a direct-to-victims-assistance fund that provides financial assistance to victims of the Half Moon Bay shootings on January 23, 2023. It is designed to take care of all victims, including families of the deceased, those shot, injured, those who witnessed the shooting but suffered no physical injury and those who were not present during the shooting but who resided at one of the two locations where the shootings occurred and were displaced from their homes.
Why was the Coastside Victims Fund created?
Following national best practices largely modeled by attorney Ken Feinberg, who led the sensitive task of establishing a victim compensation fund after 9/11, the Coastside Victims Fund has been created to directly support victims’ families and survivors. After a mass shooting victims and survivors immediately sense a loss of control. Victim assistance funds allow them to decide for themselves what they need and provides them with control over how best to cope with their trauma.
How is this different from other funds?
Direct-to-victims-assistance funds are guided by three important principles: 1) there is a commitment that 100 percent of all donations collected go directly to victims, 2) there is full transparency which means victims’ families and survivors, and the public are provided with frequent updates on how much money has been collected and how it will be distributed, 3) there is no needs determination, such as income, to receive financial assistance through this fund nor are there conditions on how the money is to be used by recipients.
Another important feature of the Coastside Victims Fund is that grants (in the form of cash assistance) are made directly to eligible individuals. These grants are made through a designated 501c(3) organization, without risk to that organization’s 501c(3) status. This is important because nonprofit 510c(3) organizations cannot make grants directly to individuals unless their articles of incorporation authorize them to do so and they can demonstrate the recipient of funds is part of a charitable class.
The IRS defines a charitable class as a group of individuals that may properly receive assistance from a charitable organization. A charitable class must be either large enough that the potential beneficiaries cannot be individually identified, or sufficiently indefinite that the community as a whole, rather than a pre-selected group of people, benefits when a charity provides assistance.
Who is managing the Coastside Victims Fund?
The Coastside Victims Fund is jointly managed by two highly respected public charities, Mavericks Community Foundation and the San Mateo Credit Union (SMCU) Community Fund. Donations for the fund will be received by SMCU Community Fund. For more information about these two organizations, please refer to the additional information section of this document.
Haven’t other Coastside nonprofits created funds and raised money? Are donations still needed?
Yes, donations are still needed. The funds collected by Coastside nonprofits were used to meet the immediate needs of victims in the hours and days after the tragedy.
Decades of experience from mass shootings have shown the impacts are far-ranging and go on for years, if not victims’ entire lifetime. Victims face severe economic hardship from funeral expenses and loss of income to significant medical costs from surgeries, physical therapy and home care and ongoing mental health treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder.
That is why direct-to-victims assistance funds are so critically important. The Coastside Victims Fund (CVF) was created to help victims of the Half Moon Bay mass shooting with some of their long-term financial needs. The victims were all farmworkers, and all were breadwinners. All the victims except one were parents with children of all ages. Four of the victims were grandparents. They comprised 18 households who left both farms with the clothes they were wearing and very little else. They must start over to rebuild their lives.
Can funds raised by other nonprofits be distributed through the Coastside Victims Fund?
Yes. These organizations can determine if they would like to transfer these donations to the Coastside Victims Fund for direct distribution to victims.
How are funding decisions made?
An oversight committee including representatives from Chinese American and Latino farmworker service providers, former regional elected officials, victims advocates and representatives of the Mavericks Community Foundation and San Mateo Credit Union Community Fund will comprise the oversight committee. The committee will be tasked with developing eligibility and distribution protocols for the fund. The committee will draw on already established best protocols for mass casualty events.
Who is eligible for financial support through this fund?
Family members of the deceased, those who suffered injuries and hospitalizations, and those who witnessed the shootings or were displaced as a result will be eligible to receive grants.
What about immigration status?
Eligibility for financial assistance through the fund will not be dependent upon immigration status.
What if family members of the deceased live outside the U.S.?
Mavericks Community Foundation and the SMCU Community Fund will work with the San Mateo County District Attorney's Office to identify family members or next of kin and make grant disbursements accordingly, even if those grants need to be disbursed out of the United States.
Are there restrictions on how the money can be spent?
No. After a mass shooting, victims, their families and witnesses immediately sense a loss of control. Allowing victims and survivors to decide for themselves what they need allows them to cope and manage their trauma in the best way possible.
The model for such a fund was first developed by Ken Feinberg for the 9/11 victims, and used by other communities (e.g., Thousand Oaks and Boston One Fund) following mass shooting events, including for the victims of the Gilroy Garlic Festival shooting.
What is the timeline for setting up the fund and getting direct assistance to victims?
The fund itself is currently operational and accepting donations. The oversight committee will determine the interval of grant disbursement to victims and the overall duration of the fund.
Is there transparency with this fund?
Yes, there is full transparency with this fund. This means that donations raised for the Coastside Victims Fund and grants distributed will be accounted for and verified via an independent audit. The Oversight Committee will develop a distribution protocol and ensure that grants made to eligible victims are consistent with the protocol. Updates to the public on monies raised and distributed will be available on the www.coastsidevictimsfund.org website. Updates will also occur via Half Moon Bay City Council meetings as requested.
What is the fee?
No administrative fees will be taken from the fund, 100% of funds raised will go directly to victims.
Are contributions a tax write-off?
Yes, donations to the fund are tax-deductible.
About Mavericks Community Foundation
The Mavericks Community Foundation strives to make a lasting impact on the San Mateo County Coast by encouraging community engagement, support, and collaboration. We envision a future where all our Coastside nonprofit organizations are enabled to support the needs of our community.
About San Mateo Community Fund
The SMCU Community Fund is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit fund created by the San Mateo Credit Union to support financial wellness in our community, including resources for small businesses, childcare provider grants, small business financial assistance grants, and accepting and distributing funds during community emergencies.