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Families Of Newtown Shooting Victims To Receive $281,000 Each

A controversial plan to distribute $7.7 million in donations has been approved.

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A controversial plan that will donate 70% of the funds collected by the United Way following the Dec. 14 shooting at Sandy Hook elementary school has been approved in Newtown.

Families of the 26 children and staff of Sandy Hook Elementary school killed in the December 14 massacre will receive $281,000 each under a final plan released Wednesday for dividing up $7.7 million raised by the Sandy Hook-Newtown Community Foundation, known also as The Foundation.

The families of 12 surviving children who witnessed the Dec. 14 shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School will each get $20,000. Two staff members who were injured will get $75,000 each.

The distribution plan created by advisor to the local committee Kenneth Feinberg, a veteran attorney dealing with victims' compensation who previously headed the September 11 Fund, allocates donations to 40 families, the Foundation says.

The Foundation's plan came under criticism when it was presented at a public forum last week in Newtown, as questions were raised as to how nearly $4 million remaining of the more than $11 million collected would be divided. Members of the community spoke out at the forum expressing concerns that The Foundation did not openly and transparently disclose how the remaining funds would be distributed. Still others felt that all the money should go to the victims' families.

Connecticut Gov. Dan Malloy openly criticized the Newtown-Sandy Hook Community Foundation for relying on community members to decide how to split up the money and not bringing in a third party to manage the process. In a July 12 letter, Malloy wrote: "While I appreciate your efforts, I remain deeply frustrated at both the pace and the manner in which the foundation has approached decisions on how best to distribute these funds."

"It is a sentiment that I have heard from individuals in the Newtown community and elsewhere in our state," Malloy added.

Patrick Kinney, spokesman for the Foundation responded to the governor's comments, saying in a statement: "The remaining funds will be used to support services that are need-based, and will help all affected by the tragedy, not excluding any who received compensation in the first round of funds."

The Foundation will now set up a second committee to decide how to distribute the funds, the Hartford Courant reports. Gov. Malloy has asked that the committee not preclude distributing more funds to the victims' families.

Michael Hayes is a senior reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in New York.

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