Numerous Organizations Respond to Assist After Highland Park Tragedy

Shooting July Fourth Parade

On July 4, 2022, Robert E. Crimo III allegedly opened fire on parade attendees in Highland Park. One of the victims is an eight-year-old boy who is now paralyzed from the waist down because a bullet severed his spine.

Crimo faces 117 criminal charges including 21 counts of first-degree murder. He recently pleaded not guilty and has been held without bail since his arrest during a traffic stop. [[1]]

Many people and organizations throughout the country are responding with support in various ways to help those affected by this incident. Here is an overview of what is being done, and how you can potentially get involved.

1. Billy Corgan Plays a Benefit Show

Corgan serves as the frontman for The Smashing Pumpkins. He and his partner, Chloe Mendel, hosted a livestream on July 27 to benefit the shooting victims.

“We had a horrible tragedy here on July 4 that took so many lives and injured so many people, have has really affected us as a community,” Corgan said on social media. [[2]]

The show was titled “Together and Together Again.” The broadcast is available for free on the band’s YouTube channel, allowing viewers to make donations.

All proceeds benefit the Highland Park Community Foundation and the organization’s response fund.

2. VictimsFirst Fundraising Efforts

GoFundMe verified several fundraisers helping to raise money for those affected by the shooting in Highland Park. Many of the efforts are organized by VictimsFirst, which is a survivor’s network from previous mass casualty crimes.

VictimsFirst has launched fundraisers to support families in Uvalde, Buffalo, Atlanta, and El Paso. 100% of the donations go directly to those who were injured or killed in the incident. [[3]]

“Our families have been re-victimized… by nonprofits that collect funds for themselves after a mass shooting saying they will support or help the families – the verbiage used when donations do not go directly to the victim base,” the group wrote. “We will find a way to get the funds directly to the families. We always have.

3. Highland Park Community Foundation Distributes Donations

Betsy Brint is the Chairperson of the Highland Park Community Foundation. She says that as the community grieves, everyone must come together to support one another. “The Foundation has established Together Highland Park Unidos to develop a transparent and open process through which 100% of the funds will be distributed primarily victims,” she said.

The charity will also support organizations that are working to help residents and victims in Highland Park, Highwood, and other local communities who need support in the aftermath of the shooting. [[4]]

Claim forms are accepted until September 7, 2022. Each person will have an opportunity to meet with the fund’s administrator about their claim, with all the money expected to be distributed in October.

The charity says that a third-party audit will occur after the fund closes, with the results released to the public.

4. FSLC Provides Free Mental Health Services

Family Service of Lake County announced that they offer free mental health services daily from 9 AM to 7 PM. Counseling is available in English and Spanish for those that need to speak with professionals about what they experienced or witnessed in Highland Park. Walk-ins are welcome, and no identification is necessary.

Anyone in the Highland Park area can visit their office at 777 Central Avenue. They’re on the first floor of the building in Suite 17.

How Can I Help People After a Tragedy?

Grief is a powerful emotion. It ebbs and flows like the ocean’s tides, creating days that feel “normal” and some that make it hard for people to get out of bed.

Bereavement can be intense and painful. People often experience profound sadness, guilt, anger, and depression.

It’s not unusual for people to feel alone or isolated when grieving since it can be uncomfortable to talk about these emotions. The strength of these feelings also creates issues when people try to offer support since they don’t want to say or do the wrong thing.

The grieving process works on its own timetable. Most people recover in two years or less, but the time can be significantly longer. Some never return to how they felt before grief arrived.

People need to feel like their loss is acknowledged. They don’t want a friend or loved one to be forgotten. Stories might need to be told repetitively to facilitate the healing process. Try to be patient because repetition helps to process the situation. The pain often gets a little better each time the story gets told.

If you’d like to support people in Highland Park, WTTW created a list of the approved GoFundMe campaigns to review.



[[1]] https://www.cnn.com/2022/08/03/us/highland-park-crimo-not-guilty/index.html; [[2]] https://www.billboard.com/music/music-news/billy-corgan-benefit-show-highland-park-shooting-victims-1235114867/; [[3]] https://www.victimsfirst.org; [[4]] https://www.hpcfil.org/wp-content/uploads/2022/07/July-27-2022-July-4-Highland-Park-Shooting-Response-Press-Release.pdf

Shown Above: Handwritten, painted signs and rocks dedicated to the seven people killed and others injured in the Fourth of July mass shooting are seen at a memorial site, Thursday, July 21, 2022, in Highland Park, Ill. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)