August 16, 2012; Source: Los Angeles Times

More than $4 million has reportedly been raised to support victims and families impacted by the movie theater shooting in Aurora, Colo. last month. According to its website, the nonprofit Colorado Organization for Victim Assistance (COVA) is coordinating donations for the victims at the request of the Aurora Police Department. Recently, Judge William Sylvester approved the nonprofit’s reaching out to contact those involved provided that they first agree to be contacted. Nancy Lewis, the charity’s executive director, has said that the group will soon release details as to how funds will be dispersed to victims and how victims’ level of need will be assessed.

At the hearing at which the judge approved the nonprofit’s plan, Deputy District Attorney Rich Orman said, “Everyone in this courtroom feels a humanitarian urge” to assist the shooting victims and he noted that there are “many victims who may be incapacitated or have lost family members and are in very dire straits.” In a hearbreaking article, the Washington Post presented profiles of some of the victims and the difficult situations that they face, such as how to pay medical bills and rent or how to deal with new disabilities that will alter their lives in countless ways.

COVA has been around for 30 years and is a statewide membership organization comprised of those involved in the Colorado criminal justice system, Colorado nonprofits and other human services providers. Its vision is “to be recognized as a national leader in building a collaborative environment where crime victims are given the opportunity to heal and restore balance to their lives.” Let’s watch this situation for the markers of that leadership. –Mike Keefe-Feldman