A major fundraising campaign to help victims of the Oct. 25, 2023, mass shooting in Lewiston announced Thursday it has distributed $4.7 million to 162 people, including heirs of the 18 killed.

The money from the Lewiston-Auburn Area Response Fund also went to 13 wounded survivors and to many people who were present at either Schemengee’s Bar & Grille Restaurant on Lincoln Street or Just-in-Time Recreation on Mollison Way during the crime.

Local philanthropist and Chairman of the Lewiston-Auburn Area Response Fund, Tom Platz, addresses the media during a November press conference in Auburn. The organization announced Thursday it has distributed $4.7 million to 162 people, including heirs of the 18 killed during the Oct. 25 mass shooting in Lewiston. Russ Dillingham/Sun Journal

The fund, overseen by a 13-member steering committee, agreed to hand out all the money donated to it for victims and survivors with no strings attached.

“You can do whatever you want with the money. There are absolutely no restrictions,” Jeff Dion, its administrator, told survivors who gathered for a hearing in December.

Officials connected to the fundraising effort said there will never be a public list of who got money or how much they received.

The donations were collected and distributed by the Maine Community Foundation, or MaineCF, which worked with the steering committee.


“I think I speak for the entire steering committee when I say we are honored to have played a small part in helping our community recover,” Tom Platz, chairman of the Lewiston-Auburn Area Response Fund Victims & Families Fund and principal at Platz Associates, said in a prepared statement.

The committee established eligibility guidelines and a protocol for how it would distribute the donations that poured in from around the country, with those killed and injured receiving more than those who escaped with no physical injuries.

Some of the more than $5 million collected is also targeted for broader community recovery efforts.

Those seeking help were assisted by victim advocates. Their eligibility was determined with the assistance of law enforcement officials who helped make certain those asking for aid were present during the shootings at either venue where people were killed. Medical providers validated those who claimed injuries, the committee said.

“The foundation is humbled to have helped provide a way for people around the world to contribute to victims of this horrible tragedy and the community’s road to recovery,” MaineCF President and Chief Executive Officer Deborah Ellwood said in a prepared statement.

“We are grateful for the volunteer committee members who quickly and compassionately offered their time to support this effort,” she said.

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