Chardon Healing Fund Raises Nearly $580K

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CHARDON, Ohio --

People in Northeast Ohio are giving their hearts, and their money, to help fund healing for the Chardon community.

"The Chardon Healing Fund came about the next day after the incident. It came after some conversations between us and United Way Geauga County. Fairmount Minerals was very generous. They stepped up and donated $100,000 to seed the fund. Now it's up nearly $580,000," said Tracy Jemison, Geauga County Commissioner.

It's an amount that speaks volumes to the amount of compassion for this city.

"I'm not at all surprised to see that number raise to that amount. I think everyone's first reaction is, 'How can I help?' And I think through the seeding of this fund, it allows people to help," added Jenniffer Deckard, Fairmount Minerals' president.

The United Way of Geauga County collects the money raised.

"First and foremost, the funds are going directly to families impacted by the event. So people can be rest assured that the money is going to those families most affected," said Kristin Lewis, a spokeswoman for The Healing Fund.

An 11-person advisory board oversees the distribution.

"We have a diverse mix in the board. Folks who graduated from Chardon, long-time alumni, business owners, people who really understand the way this community works," said Kimm Leininger, executive director of United Way.

The money will also go to counseling in the schools and community, as well as benefit first responders.  Donations can be made at any PNC Bank branch locations or www.uwsgc.org.

"This event didn't' just impact a school and children in a school. It truly has created a resounding impact on an entire community," said Leininger.

Another group that has formed is the Chardon Angels of Hope. A spokeswoman tells Fox 8 they've raised almost $110,000 by community fundraisers and private donations.

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