Photography by John Partipilo

The Covenant School, in collaboration with the Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee, VictimsFirst, and the National Compassion Fund (NCF), a 501(c)(3) nonprofit dedicated to distributing charitable contributions in the wake of mass casualty crimes, announces the disbursement of funds to the survivors and victims’ families of the tragic March 27, 2023, shooting incident at The Covenant School in Nashville, TN. The funds are unrestricted, allowing recipients to determine their best use.

The Final Protocol for distributions, a comprehensive set of guidelines formulated with transparency, compassion, and fairness in mind, was created by a local Steering Committee. The protocol was shaped by insights from the National Compassion Fund, which has extensive experience in responding to mass casualty incidents, and by valuable feedback from the Covenant community.

The protocol outlines four key eligibility categories:

  • Legal heirs of those who were killed as a direct result of the shooting
  • Those who suffered some type of physical injury during the shooting
  • Teachers and Staff who were present on campus at the time of the shooting
  • Those who were present on campus at the time of the shooting and suffered psychological trauma

Hal Cato, Chief Executive Officer of the Community Foundation, praised the public’s generosity during a time of immense grief. “We are humbled to facilitate the direct connection between donors’ sincere gifts and those deeply impacted by this horrifying event,” said Cato.

The Steering Committee, led by community figure and The Covenant School parent Matthew Fleming and consisting of other local and business leaders affiliated with The Covenant School and Covenant Presbyterian Church, was formed to provide advice on all grant distributions from the Caring for Covenant Fund and the Covenant Campus Fund at the Community Foundation. Adding a psychologist, an estate planning attorney, and a victim advocate from VictimsFirst, suggested by NCF, enriched the development of the Final Protocol.

“The Steering Committee is overwhelmed by the generosity of all those who have donated to help support our school community – the victim’s families, students, teachers, and staff,” said Matthew Fleming, chair of the committee. “We are dedicated to being good stewards of these funds.”

Expressing solidarity, Jeffrey Dion, Executive Director of the National Compassion Fund, said, “Our deepest sympathy extends to the entire Covenant School community. We are honored to partner with the Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee and VictimsFirst to increase charitable giving and honor donors’ intent by disbursing funds directly to the survivors of this tragedy.”

A pooled fund from VictimsFirst, NCF, and the Caring for Covenant Fund will ensure a minimum distribution of $1 million to survivors and victims’ families following the Final Protocol.

Further details about additional disbursements from the Caring for Covenant Fund and the Covenant Campus Fund aimed at ongoing support – including long-term socio-emotional therapy, in-school mental health resources, and security enhancements at The Covenant School – will be shared in the forthcoming weeks.

VictimsFirst, a nationwide victim advocacy organization, will continue to raise funds through its GoFundMe campaign, ensuring that all donations will directly support the survivors of the Covenant School shooting. “VictimsFirst is a network of families who have experienced the pain of a mass shooting,” said Anita Busch, president. “We stand with these families in their time of grief, advocating and assisting on their behalf.”

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. The 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.

The Covenant School
The Covenant School is a pre-school 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 to also 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 the National Compassion Fund
The National Compassion Fund is a 501(c)3 nonprofit that collects and distributes charitable contributions after mass casualty crimes. It is a subsidiary of the National Center for Victims of Crime, the nation’s leading resource and advocacy organization for crime victims and those who serve them.

About Victims First
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.