We are horrified and heartbroken over yesterday’s tragedy in Orlando. In the early morning hours, a gunman opened fire at a gay nightclub, leaving 50 individuals dead and more than 50 injured. Our hearts are with our fellow Floridians and the LGBTQ community, their families and friends reeling from this senseless act of terror and the tragic loss of innocent lives.
As flags fly at half-staff today, let us recognize that they still wave proudly and stand for peace, understanding and acceptance. The response from our brothers and sisters across Florida and the country has been remarkable. Residents have appeared in thousands to donate their time and blood to those in need, not only in Orlando but throughout the state. Our fellow regional associations and funders stand ready to offer assistance and support.
For some of us, it can feel overwhelming on where and how to lend a hand. Monetary donations are fast, flexible and effective ways to make a direct impact during Orlando’s time of need. You and your organization can be part of an effort to provide immediate and long-term assistance to the victims of tragedy, as well the broader community. As Florida nonprofits and philanthropic organizations address the short-term and long-term needs of the community, you can join them in the following ways.
Ways to Give
Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer and City of Orlando announced the formation of the OneOrlando Fund. The purpose of the Fund is to provide a way to help respond to the needs of our community, now and in the time to come, after the effects of the Pulse nightclub tragedy. The distribution of the funds will be administered by the Central Florida Foundation. The Foundation serves as the region’s community foundation and is home to more than 400 charitable funds.
The fund will support:
- Nonprofits that are supporting the victims and families,
- The LGBTQ, Hispanic, faith and other affected communities,
- Underlying causes of this tragic event, and
- Other needs we cannot anticipate until we face them.
Florida Disaster Fund
Governor Rick Scott announced the activation of the Florida Disaster Fund following yesterday’s terror attack in Orlando. The Florida Disaster Fund will help provide financial support to organizations that serve survivors, their families, and all those in need. To make a contribution, please visit http://www.FloridaDisasterFund.org.
Our Fund Foundation
Our Fund Foundation, a community foundation whose mission is to support South Florida’s LGBTQ agencies, is collecting tax-deductible. 100% of the tax-deductible funds raised through Our Fund will be donated to the nonprofits in Orlando supporting survivors and victims' families and friends and their efforts to restore peace, joy and wellness to Orlando's LGBTQ community. To make a tax deductible donation through Our Fund, please visit: https://app.etapestry.com/onlineforms/OurFund/Orlando.html
Equality Florida has established a GoFundMe page to support the victims and families affected by the shooting. The state’s LGBT civil rights organization is working with a team of attorneys and national experts to ensure the funds are distributed correctly. Funds will be distributed directly to the victims and their families.
Ways to Serve
- Equality Florida has set up a page for information and updates on blood donations, counseling services, legal services, vigils and other resources and support throughout Florida. Visit http://www.eqfl.org/news/pulse.
- City of Orlando is coordinating volunteers and donations for those located in Central Florida. You can fill out an online form, and someone will contact you regarding services and donation needs: http://www.cityoforlando.net/blog/orlandounited-want-to-help-let-us-know/
- OneBlood, the local blood bank in Orlando, is accepting blood donations. They encourage you to make an appointment due to the overwhelming turnout of donors. To find a donation center or Big Red Bus near you visit www.oneblood.org or call 1.888.9Donate.
- Funders for LGBTQ isssues created a resource guide for individuals and funders looking to support the local community.
Together we can support the victims and their families and loved ones while we continue working to build a better Florida – one fueled by respect and unity.
- Stacy Carlson, Ph.D., is the president and CEO of Florida Philanthropic Network.