We are horrified and heartbroken over the tragedy in Orlando. In the early morning hours, a gunman opened fire at a gay nightclub, leaving 50 individuals dead and more than 50 injured. Our hearts are with our fellow Floridians and the LGBTQ community, their families and friends reeling from this senseless act of terror and the tragic loss of innocent lives.
As flags fly at half-staff today, let us recognize that they still wave proudly and stand for peace, understanding and acceptance. The response from our brothers and sisters across Florida and the country has been remarkable. Residents have appeared in thousands to donate their time and blood to those in need, not only in Orlando but throughout the state. Our fellow regional associations and funders stand ready to offer assistance and support.
For some of us, it can feel overwhelming on where and how to lend a hand. Monetary donations are fast, flexible and effective ways to make a direct impact during Orlando’s time of need. You and your organization can be part of an effort to provide immediate and long-term assistance to the victims of tragedy, as well the broader community. As Florida nonprofits and philanthropic organizations address the short-term and long-term needs of the community, you can join them in the following ways:
Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer and City of Orlando announced the formation of the OneOrlando Fund. The distribution of the funds will be administered by the Central Florida Foundation. The purpose of the Fund is to provide a way to help respond to the needs of our community, now and in the time to come, after the effects of the Pulse nightclub tragedy. Central Florida Foundation serves as the region’s community foundation and is home to more than 400 charitable funds. Learn more.
Central Florida Foundation will be sharing updates in the next few days on how you can help now and in the weeks and months to come. FPN will release more details as they become available and you can monitor up-to-date developments at their website, http://cffound.org.
Our Fund Foundation, a community foundation whose mission is to support South Florida’s LGBTQ agencies, is collecting tax-deductible donations. 100% of the tax-deductible funds raised through Our Fund will be donated to the nonprofits in Orlando supporting survivors and victims’ families and friends and their efforts to restore peace, joy and wellness to Orlando’s LGBTQ community. To make a tax-deductible donation through Our Fund, visit https://app.etapestry.com/onlineforms/OurFund/Orlando.html
Governor Rick Scott announced the activation of the Florida Disaster Fund following yesterday’s terror attack in Orlando. The Florida Disaster Fund will help provide financial support to organizations that serve survivors, their families, and all those in need. To make a contribution, please visit http://www.FloridaDisasterFund.org.
Equality Florida has set up a GoFundMe page to support the victims and families affected by the shooting. You can donate to the Pulse Victims Fund online at https://www.gofundme.com/PulseVictimsFund. The state’s LGBT civil rights organization is working with a team of attorneys and national experts to ensure the funds are distributed correctly.
For information on blood donations, counseling services and vigils throughout Florida, visit http://www.eqfl.org/news/pulse.
The City of Orlando is also coordinating volunteers and donations for those located in Central Florida. You can fill out an online form, and someone will contact you regarding services and donation needs.
As more information emerges, you can follow these Twitter accounts for ways to help:
Florida Philanthropic Network @flphilanthropy
Central Florida Foundation @cffound
Equality Florida @EqualityFL
Heart of Florida United Way @hfuw
City of Orlando @citybeautiful
Together we can support the victims and their families and loved ones while we continue working to build a better Florida – one fueled by respect and unity.
Stacy Carlson, Ph.D., is President & CEO at the Florida Philanthropic Network.
This post originally appeared on Florida Philanthropic Network.