NEWTOWN -- Officials with the United Way of Western Connecticut announced Saturday that a fund established to help the community in response to the Sandy Hook tragedy has received $2.8 million in donations.
"We are overwhelmed by the generosity of caring people from across the nation and around the world who are supporting the Newtown community," said Kim Morgan, chief executive officer of the organization. "Words cannot express how much we appreciate the support and sympathy Newtown has received as our community mourns and begins to heal."
Morgan said 100 percent of the money donated to the fund would be used to meet the needs of the Newtown community. United Way is working with community leaders to develop "a structure that will manage and administer" the fund in a way that best meet the needs of the community, Morgan said.
The United Way is also helping town leaders establish a command center to assist in managing volunteers and distribute donated goods.
Newtown Selectman Will Rodgers said local officials have been in discussions about creating a charitable organization or foundation that can receive the funds, manage the money and disburse it.
"There's been total agreement that the spending decisions will be made by community groups, community organizations and members of the community," Rodgers said. "Everything is surrounding that principle."
While the structure of the foundation is not yet developed, Rodgers said one of its first tasks would be to receive input from local residents.
The foundation, he said, would also be able to help other funds related to the shootings that need assistance with the legal and tax questions.
While some have speculated that the money raised could be used to build a new elementary school, Rodgers said Newtown has established a separate fund for donations earmarked for building a school.
Rodgers said he did not know how much was in that fund as of Saturday.
email@example.com; 203-731-3358; www.twitter.com/DirkPerrefort