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$1m proposed for some victims of Boston bombings

Kenneth Feinberg will meet with victims next week.707291

The attorney overseeing the $28 million fund to benefit victims of the Boston Marathon bombings plans to unveil a tentative proposal Monday for distributing the money, including payments of “well over $1 million” to each of the families of people who died in the blasts and those who lost more than one limb.

Kenneth Feinberg, who was asked to distribute the money collected by The One Fund Boston Inc., said about a dozen victims who lost a single limb would probably receive amounts approaching $1 million under his preliminary proposal. He plans to unveil that proposal in advance of meetings with victims and other members of the community at the Boston Public Library in Copley Square on Monday and Tuesday.


People who suffered other physical injuries would receive smaller amounts, depending on how long they stayed in the hospital, under the draft proposal.

Feinberg said he believes that all the families of those who were killed should receive the same amount of money, regardless of their economic circumstances or financial need.

Jeff Bauman of Chelmsford lost both his legs in the Marathon bombings. More than $740,000 has been raised for him on Internet fund-raising websites.Charles Krupa/Associated Press

“It will make it much faster, much easier, much cleaner — no less controversial,” he told the Globe on Thursday. He said families can do whatever they want with the money. “This is a gift.”

Feinberg is not proposing compensation for businesses damaged or temporarily shut down because of the explosions and subsequent manhunt for the bombers, he said — nor for individuals whose only injuries are psychological.

“There is probably not enough money,” Feinberg said. “If you spread it too thin, the money you give out isn’t going to be meaningful.”

Three people died in the blasts and more than 260 were injured, including at least two who lost both their legs. In addition, an MIT police officer was later killed by the suspected bombers and an MBTA police officer was wounded in the manhunt. The MIT officer’s family and the MBTA officer will also be eligible for payments.


The One Fund, which was created by Mayor Thomas M. Menino and Governor Deval Patrick with strong support from local business leaders after the April 15 explosions, has raised more than $28.4 million, including nearly $17.6 million in corporate donations and tens of thousands of donations from individuals. Feinberg has pledged to disburse the money by June 30.

To simplify the process, Feinberg said he does not plan to consider victims’ actual expenses or economic losses from the bombing.

Nor will he reduce any awards for victims who already expect to receive disability or life insurance payments or have independently raised money from donors.

Many victims have raised money on their own. Dozens of families have collectively raised roughly $3.9 million on two crowdfunding sites alone, ­GoFundMe and GiveForward. For instance, Jeff Bauman, a Chelmsford resident who lost both his legs, has raised more than $740,000 — an unusually large wave of generosity compared with most other fund-raising efforts on the Internet.

“We’re used to seeing ‘large’ campaigns exceed $100,000, but having a couple campaigns raise over $700,000 each is exceptional even by our own standards,” said Brad Damphousse, chief executive of GoFundMe of San Diego. Donations to the funds are not tax deductible because they are going to individuals, rather than an established charity.

City officials said contributions to the One Fund Boston should be tax deductible retroactively once the Internal Revenue Service approves the organization as a 501(c)3 charity, though it’s unclear when the IRS will rule.


Feinberg plans to hear comments on the draft proposal from victims and other members of the community at the two town hall meetings scheduled for 6 p.m. Monday and 10 a.m. Tuesday.

He noted he could still make changes based on the feedback he receives.

But no matter how he decides to split the money, Feinberg’s decisions are sure to spark debate. Many people loudly complained about the formulas Feinberg used for past funds to distribute money to benefit victims of everything from the fund for Sept. 11 victims set up by Congress to one funded by BP to benefit victims of the massive Gulf oil spill in 2010.

“Anybody who does anything like this and expects thanks, gratitude, appreciation, acknowledgment — forget it,” said Feinberg, who has shepherded numerous disaster funds since a judge appointed him in 1984 to distribute money to veterans exposed to Agent Orange; he’s handling the Boston fund pro bono. “This is thankless.”

Based on his past experience managing funds, Feinberg expects all the eligible victims to apply. Victims are expected to be able to apply for the funds between May 15 and June 15.

Feinberg, who grew up in Brockton and has long maintained ties to Massachusetts, expects to surrender his role when he disburses the money. But he and city officials said the charity may remain in operation, as checks continue to pour into the fund’s coffers. The money could be used to support programs to help the local community, but the precise mission is still being defined.


“It will live on to continue to bring people together from the tragedy and it will live on for other unforeseen events,” said Menino’s spokeswoman, Dot Joyce.

Though dwarfed by the donations following the Sept. 11 attacks, the One Fund has already eclipsed the fund-raising in some more recent tragedies that had higher death tolls, including the shootings in Newtown, Conn., where 26 children and school officials died, and the Aurora, Colo., movie theater shooting, where a dozen people were killed.

The governor could not be reached late Thursday. But last week, he expressed gratitude to donors for the rush of money raised.

“This overwhelming support has meant so much to all who are in the process of healing,” Patrick said in a statement.

Todd Wallack can be reached at twallack@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @twallack