CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - The downtown Charleston church where nine parishioners were gunned down last summer has donated $1.5 million to the families of the victims.
Mother Emanuel AME Church donated the money, which included $380,000 of donations specifically designated for the families, augmented by an additional $1.135 million church leaders decided to add from the donations made to the church, according to church attorney Wilbur Johnson.
In November, the church announced total donations to the Moving Forward Fund totaled $3.4 million and donors had the option to designate where their donations would go by selecting among four categories:
- The Mother Emanuel Fund will be used for physical plant improvements.
- A Memorial Fund will create a living, physical memorial tribute to victims and their families.
- The Mother Emanuel/Rev. Clementa C. Pinckney Endowment Fund will pay for future scholarships and community outreach.
- The Mother Emanuel Nine Fund will be donated to the estates of the victims whose lives were lost in the shooting.
"The total amount of the donations were divided equally among the family units," Johnson said. "Then, in general accordance with the state intestacy statutes, individual members of each family unit were identified to receive a portion of the amount allotted to each family unit."
Johnson said the church attempted to include more family members to "broaden the reach of the distribution." He said the church generally followed South Carolina intestate statutes which dictate how assets are to be inherited by beneficiaries in the absence of a will, adding he "did not recall the inclusion of beneficiaries beyond spouses, children, parents and siblings."
"The Church's handling of the distribution was informed by a number of factors, including among them the review of records by accounting professionals, the Church's intention to reach out as much as practicable in keeping with its pastoral mission, the overall goal of providing some support for the families and the effort to do so without further delay," Johnson said.