The Chattanooga Heroes Fund, created to support the families of those killed or wounded in the July 16 shootings, has raised more than $1 million in two months, according to Community Foundation President Pete Cooper.
The fund, spearheaded by Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning and Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn., has seen money come in from all over the country since it started July 23. It will stop taking donations Sept. 30.
"Thanks to the goodwill and generosity of so many donors, the fund is fully equipped to provide long-term financial support for the affected families as they face the challenge of rebuilding their lives — and their futures," Manning said this week on DenverBroncos.com.
The fund already has helped some of the families with accounting fees, legal fees and a family car for one of the families, Cooper said. Chattanooga Police Department Officer Dennis Pedigo, who was wounded during the attacks, also has been given financial support. Five service members were killed and three other people injured during the July 16 attack.
"I was pleased by the response," Cooper said of the fund. "I think the country responded to this quite remarkably."
Cooper said Manning, a part-time Chattanooga resident and former University of Tennessee quarterback, requested the fund be stopped. Cooper said he thinks Manning had a goal of $1 million in mind, and he was going to have the fund open until the fund reached its goal.
As part of the fundraising push, players from the U.S. Women's World Cup Team donated game-worn jerseys to an online auction. The sale fetched $63,924.05, which was donated to the fund.
U.S. defender Ali Krieger's jersey drew the highest winning bid of $11,100, while goalkeeper Ashlyn Harris' jersey went for $9,100 and Alex Morgan's went for $7,900. Each jersey sold for more than $750 and averaged $2,779 each.
"We are fortunate to be able to play the game we love and inspire others, and to have the opportunity to help the fund and help the families of the victims is the least we can do," said Krieger. "We were honored to play for the United States in Chattanooga and to auction off our jerseys to benefit the families of servicemen who do so much for country."
The other fund Community Foundation started, the 7-16 Freedom Fund, has raised more than $200,000 so far and that'll remain open, Cooper said. The 7-16 Freedom Fund helps the children and spouses of the victims pay for college. Because it's such a long-term fund, Cooper told the Times Free Press in July, the fund will remain open for several years.
Contact staff writer Evan Hoopfer at firstname.lastname@example.org or @EvanHoopfer on Twitter or 423-757-6731.