Since 1995, the Murrah Disaster Relief Fund has worked with many survivors and families of those directly affected by the Murrah Building bombing. The fund, administered by the Oklahoma City Community Foundation, provides services and financial assistance to meet their needs and help them move forward.
Initially, more than 40 separate funds worked cooperatively to provide assistance. These efforts and the services provided are hallmarks of the Oklahoma City response that has been recognized and lauded throughout the country.
The Murrah Disaster Relief Fund and the American Red Cross of Central Oklahoma are the only two funds still actively assisting survivors. Approximately 50 cases are ongoing, in addition to 45 students who are either still in college or are eligible for scholarships through the Survivors Education Fund. Two case managers continue to respond to any individuals or families with physical or psychological needs related to the bombing.
Recent news reports have raised questions about services provided to or requested by specific individuals. The Oklahoma City Community Foundation, through its oversight of the relief fund, is committed to the confidentiality of those we've served. We're unable to publicly respond to those allegations but we believe a number of the representations and statements in the articles are inaccurate.
A comprehensive performance audit will be conducted by an independent firm to confirm whether the foundation has properly administered the Murrah Disaster Relief Fund. We agree with former Gov. Frank Keating and former Mayor Ron Norick that this is an appropriate way to address the reported concerns. The foundation welcomes the review. If any shortcomings are identified, they will be rectified. Correspondingly, the performance audit will assure that any criticism is based upon actual facts.
The charitable funds that have been administered since 1995 were contributed by donors to meet the needs of the bombing survivors and families. The foundation is bound by legal and tax requirements for the distribution of charitable funds to individuals, and we have complied with those requirements. These funds weren't established to provide monetary compensation to bombing victims. They are not the result of a legal settlement, as were certain funds related to the 9/11 tragedy. The funds are required to be used to meet specific bombing-related needs and the needs of those affected — especially those who were critically injured.
The Murrah Disaster Relief Fund is fortunate to have the financial resources to continue providing this support. Our allocation of long-term funds reflects a commitment to meet those ongoing needs.
Since 1995, the overriding goal of all involved has been to assist families and individuals as they recover. Our trustees and staff are passionately committed to assisting survivors and their families, fulfilling donors' trust and providing certainty that the fund is properly administered. We look forward to working with a duly appointed independent auditor to assure any legitimate concerns or complaints are addressed, and to be certain that any future publicly aired complaints are factually accurate.
Anthony is president of the Oklahoma City Community Foundation. Davis is chairman of the foundation's board of trustees.