• September 16, 2019

Community Foundation sees outpouring of support - Odessa American: Local News

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Community Foundation sees outpouring of support

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Posted: Tuesday, September 10, 2019 12:59 pm

With donations from all across the area, state and country coming in, the Odessa Community Foundation Inc. has so far received pledges of $250,000 for funeral and medical expenses for those impacted by the Aug. 31 mass shooting in Odessa and Midland.

People may donate through the chamber website, or send a check made out to the Odessa Community Foundation Inc., P.O. Box 3626, Odessa, TX 79760. Earls said if people want to drop off cash, they can come to the chamber during business hours, 700 N. Grand Ave., No. 200, Odessa.

Mara Barham, chairperson of the Odessa Chamber board of directors, said contributions will be taken as long as they continue to pour in.

“The Odessa Community Foundation, it’s a nonprofit 501c3. It’s already in place to handle donations like this,” Barham said.

Odessa Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Renee Earls has said the fund has been used for projects like the Chris Kyle Memorial and for when three Odessa police officers were killed in 2007 when they answered a domestic disturbance call.

“The foundation has been set up for many, many years and it’s specifically for community projects. It’s the same that we used for the Chris Kyle Memorial, so it is set up for designated funds. … We have a separate account for our foundation. It is overseen by the Odessa Chamber board of directors. We make quarterly reports at our board meetings. We have an annual meeting so … those funds are overseen by them. What we’ll do with this is we’ll set up a committee to oversee those donations,” Earls has said.

Barham said they wanted to offer the community a centralized, secure way to make donations that would all be distributed to the victims and families affected by the Aug. 31 tragedy.

“The donations have come not only from the citizens of the Permian Basin, but they’ve come from all around the state, as well as the country. It’s just heartwarming that there are people everywhere who are mourning with us and grieving with us and supporting us, not only with their thoughts and prayers but financially. That just means a lot to our community,” Barham said.

She said guidelines are still being worked on regarding how the funds will be awarded.

“First and foremost, it’s to try to handle any emergency expenses, funeral expenses, hospital costs, medical bills,” Barham said.

In some instances, it will probably be a reimbursement request and in some instances asking for a bill to be paid.

“We want to be able to respond quickly,” Barham said.

She said the outpouring of support is a bit reminiscent of when the three police officers were killed.

“Back then, the chamber came together and did a similar thing, but this … has really impacted not just Odessa but the entire Permian Basin and to have seen the support from Midland, from Big Spring, from El Paso, it’s really made me realize that we really are just one big West Texas family. We are so much better served when we join together as one community. That’s a feeling that I hope we take forward from all of this that we feel as one and grow as one,” Barham said.

Odessa, TX

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