The Community Foundation of Greater Chattanooga is among many organizations that have stepped up to help organize and raise financial support for the families of the victims of Thursday's brutal attack, which killed five people and left two others injured.
"Chattanooga has been rocked and the lives of countless individuals and families were changed," said Pete Cooper, president of the Community Foundation. "The citizens in the area were shocked and moved to an outpouring of support for those involved, especially for the long-term support of the families of four Marines who gave their lives in this incident."
In addition to the Community Foundation's 7-16 Freedom Fund, the National Center for Victims of Crime has opened the National Compassion Fund Chattanooga to support victims and their families. The fund will give all donations directly to families, according to a statement from the National Compassion Fund, which was founded along with parents and families from other mass casualty events such as Virginia Tech, Aurora, Colo., and Newtown, Conn.
On Friday, in a statement, Chattanooga Mayor Andy Berke praised the efforts and thanked both the National Center for Victims of Crime and the Community Foundation for coming together to help.
"We have seen a tremendous amount of support for the families of our fallen heroes," he said. "I encourage all Chattanoogans to do what they can to help."
Contributions to the Community Foundation fund can be mailed to 1270 Market St., Chattanooga, TN 37402, and organizers request contributions be labeled "7-16 Freedom Fund" on the memo line of checks. Donations can also be accepted online through a donation page, starting July 24.
To give to the Compassion Fund, checks should be made out to National Compassion Fund Chattanooga and mailed to the National Center for Victims of Crime at P.O. Box 360681, Pittsburgh, PA 1521-6681. Donations can also be submitted online by going to NationalCompassionFund.org or by texting HOPE to 84465.
"Our hearts go out to the people of Chattanooga and all those affected by [Thursday's] shooting. The National Compassion Fund will work closely with the city of Chattanooga as well as the United States Armed Forces to help meet the overwhelming, unmet needs of the victims," said Mai Fernandez, executive director of the National Center for Victims of Crime.
Below are other fundraising efforts across the region. Remember to only give to trusted organizations.
* NDesigns Screenprinting and Embroidery in Fayetteville, Tenn., is producing special T-shirts to commemorate Thursday's events. All proceeds will be sent to the Compassion Fund.
* The Kappa Alpha and Zeta Upsilon organizations are sponsoring a GoFundMe account to benefit the families of the fallen Marines. Details are at www.tilt.com/tilts/fund-for-fallen-chattanooga-heroes-716-tragedy/description.
Contact staff writer Joan Garrett McClane at 423-757-6601.
Story was updated at 10:45 a.m. on July 18.