The Virginia Tech Foundation announced that it has moved $3.2 million from the Hokie Spirit Memorial Fund (HSMF) into 32 separate named endowed funds, each created in honor of a victim lost in the tragedy of April 16.
The transfer brings each of the named funds to at least the full endowment level, which will enable each to memorialize a victim in perpetuity. The final determination of how each of the memorial funds will be directed is being developed in close conjunction with the wishes of each family.
“We felt this was an appropriate way to ensure that the memory of each of these fallen Hokies would live on forever,” said Vice President for Development and University Relations Elizabeth Flanagan. “Whatever the families decide about these funds, we wanted to give them some assurance that the support generated will be permanent and ongoing.”
Established in the immediate aftermath of the tragedy, the HSMF is administered by the Virginia Tech Foundation, with guidance from the university. In total, the HSMF comprises 34 funds: the Hokie Spirit Memorial Fund, intended to cover expenses resulting from the tragedy and to help support ongoing memorials; the Hokie Spirit Scholarship Fund, a fully endowed scholarship that will support students university-wide; and 32 memorial funds in honor of each of the lives lost on April 16. It is anticipated that the first award from each fund will be made available in fall 2007.
Although donations to the HSMF now total approximately $7 million, the needs of both the community and the families are hard to predict. Many of the needs may not be clear for several months and the intent of the HSMF is to provide assistance for some time to come. The university intends to use the HSMF to fund things such as health insurance for the families of the faculty, undergraduate education expenses for children of deceased faculty, and financial counseling and mental health services for victims’ families.
Further, to assist those who were physically injured in the Norris Hall incident, the university intends to help pay tuition and fees for injured students through spring 2008 as well as to pay for medical costs not forgiven or otherwise covered by insurance.
The Hokie Spirit Memorial Fund will also pay several full-time family advocates who will work with the victims’ families. The family advocates will help to ensure services are received and provided in a timely manner.
“We have responded quickly to immediate needs in the days and weeks following April 16, and are now giving attention to ongoing future needs” said Ray Smoot, chief operating officer of the Virginia Tech Foundation. “We intend for the fund to be fully utilized in supporting needs and memorials in the future.”