COVENANT COMMUNITY CONTINUES TO HEAL
An Update on Donations and Distributions
Nashville, Tenn (Oct. 23, 2023) – In the tragic aftermath of a school shooting, heartbroken residents from both a community’s backyard and across the country often offer gifts in support of those grieving such a tremendous loss. In Nashville, March 27, 2023, brought forth such an event. More than six months later, an update on the generous donations and distributions of funds is available.
Gifts supporting the Caring for Covenant Fund at Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee (CFMT) were raised from the onset of the event to be directed to The Covenant School to support the healing of those affected by a senseless act of violence occurring on March 27, 2023. After identifying how other communities impacted by school gun violence allocated funding resources to bring care to individuals, two distributions emerged as a priority for the March 27 Steering Committee. The allocations approved to distribute 100% of the funds received as of September 15, net credit card fees, are:
National Compassion Fund (NCF): $1,699,534.20 to provide support designated for the 186 individuals who applied to NCF, which represents about 80% of the eligible Covenant Community members. These funds join $115,000 raised directly by the NCF and $500,264.00 from VictimsFirst for a total of $2,314,798.20 being provided as a gift to the individuals to use as they see fit to support their recovery. A donor designated an additional $40,000 gift to the National Compassion Fund to support the staffing of NCF to manage the application and distribution process.
The Covenant School: $299,917.80 to support the healing of those affected by the Covenant School Shooting. The funds are restricted to the following uses: faculty counseling, teacher time off and additional substitute teachers, community programming, and providing a school counselor and school nurse. A final report of the expenditure of funds detailing the distributions is required.
The distribution of any funds received in the Caring for Covenant Fund after September 15, 2023, will be determined by the committee before the end of 2023.
Also housed at CFMT is the Covenant Campus Fund, a fund established to support campus efforts to enhance the physical safety and psychological security of teachers, students, and staff. As of September 15, 2023, $107,264.77 net credit card fees have been raised. No distributions from this fund have been made as of this date. The March 27 Steering Committee prioritized focusing on individual support before campus support. A distribution is expected before the end of 2023.
The March 27 Steering Committee, led by The Covenant School parent and Board Chair Matthew Fleming and consisting of additional local and business leaders affiliated with The Covenant School and Covenant Presbyterian Church, was formed in May 2023 to provide advice on all grant distributions from the Caring for Covenant Fund and the Covenant Campus Fund at CFMT. Adding to the committee a psychologist, an estate planning attorney, and a victim advocate from VictimsFirst, suggested by NCF, as well as hearing from several survivors of the attack, helped to inform the distribution of donated funds.
Additional Covenant School Support Details
- The Covenant Community Fund at The Covenant School
Approximately $1.5 million of donations directly to the school have also been received through various events, corporate, and individual donors. This included:
- Night of Joy Concert (April 2023): $213,000
- A Knight at the Opry Concert (August 2023): $600,000
- Carlos Whitaker “Instafamilia” fundraiser for the establishment of Covenant Heals* (April 2023): $275,000
- Covenant Heals additional gifts: $61,000
- Additional Gifts: $380,000
- *Covenant Heals: $275,000 donated in designated funding for counseling for families in the Covenant community, including the school and the church. Since the allocation, Covenant Heals has funded more than 1,400 counseling sessions for the Covenant community members, utilizing $230,000 of funds raised. Covenant Heals offered 8 sessions per family member of those impacted by the March 27 event. The decision was intentional to offer the sessions per family member to help ensure all family members had access to counseling resources to recover.
Covenant Heals was intended to be a short-term resource for counseling needs, and the limited remaining funds available for counseling also necessitated the offer of this individual counseling resource to come to a close as of December 2023. For those families looking to continue individual counseling sessions, options are available here.
An additional $46,900 in designated funding and additional in-kind support was received from local interior designers to create the Covenant Heals Healing Space, where individual and group care could take place. This location in Green Hills is intended to remain open through May 2024, the end of the 2023-2024 school year, and Group Counseling sessions will be available.
- The Covenant Community Fund at The Covenant School
- Victims of Crime Act Community Resources
Communities have access to federal grant funding and other supports following acts of mass violence resulting from a crime. In Tennessee, this support flows through the State of Tennessee Office of Victims of Crime. In this instance of the Covenant School shooting, these resources are available to not only the direct victims who are part of the Covenant Community but also the indirect community that experiences psychological trauma following a mass act of violence in the community.
The counseling/therapy resources that have been available to the community since March, as well as some additional resources, are detailed below:
- OVC October 2023 Covenant Sessions (October 16-17) National consultants from the Office of Victims of Crime and local advocates from the Covenant Long-Term Recovery Group to focus on typical trauma responses and timelines for adults and children. Additional discussion includes strategies for the holidays, anniversaries, and special occasions, plus local resources.
- Covenant Counseling & Mental Health Resources (Ongoing Options) Local organizations, including Metro Nashville Police Department’s Family Intervention Program, Family and Children’s Service, Nashville Children’s Alliance, Tennessee Voices for Victims, and more.
If you or a loved one is experiencing a mental health crisis, please call Tennessee’s Crisis Line at 988.
About The Covenant School
The Covenant School is a preschool through 6th-grade educational institution that aims to teach 21st-century children in a way that prepares them to impact their culture and think in accordance with timeless Truth. The school focuses on who God intends them to be through impactful teaching methods and programs, daily all-school chapel, and school-wide service-learning. The school’s goal is not only to capture children’s attention and their minds for learning but also to capture their hearts in relationships that challenge their thinking and help them learn critical skills. Graduates of the Covenant School not only excel academically but also act with character that comes from authentic faith in Jesus.
About Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee
Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee unites compassionate individuals and worthy causes. Its generous donors span the community and are driven by a shared commitment to addressing diverse needs. Community Foundation is dedicated to preserving and managing charitable funds with the utmost care to support nonprofit and grantee partners dedicated to making a meaningful impact throughout our community. www.CFMT.org
About National Compassion Fund
National Compassion Fund was developed by the National Center for Victims of Crime in partnership with victims and family members from past mass casualty crimes, including those from Sandy Hook, Aurora, Virginia Tech, Oak Creek Temple, NIU, Columbine, and 9/11. It was created to serve donors by honoring their intent and crime victims by distributing donations directly to them, in a fair and transparent way. www.nationalcompassion.org
VictimsFirst is a network of surviving victims of mass casualty crime and trusted supporters who have first-hand experiences of the problems and re-victimization accompanying these acts when there is a lack of coordinated effort and/or understanding of what survivors need. https://www.victimsfirst.org