The horror of the Boston Marathon bombings was a shock felt by millions of us. Of course the victims – as well as their families, friends and first responders – were affected most acutely. With 3 people killed that day and 264 injured, that traumatic experience could have stopped everyone in their tracks. But we continue to hear stories of courage, heroism, dedication and resiliency among average citizens as well as professionals.
And now we are learning more about the reactions to the bombing from individuals and corporations here at home and throughout the world. Boston Mayor Thomas Menino and Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick set up One Fund Boston to raise money and distribute it to support those who were injured or killed that day. In only the first week, more than $20 million was raised from over 60 corporations and 50,000 individuals across the country and around the globe.
What inspires people to unite behind this cause with such a strong sense of purpose? At times of crisis, we look for ways to draw together and support each other. Our differences do not seem as important as our shared experience of suffering. When we reach out to others in need, we gain much for ourselves as well – the knowledge that we have made a difference in improving the lives of others, a ‘helpers high’, and a greater sense of efficacy. We recognize that while we sometimes can’t control a situation, we can decide how we react to it. We hope to be able, in some small way, to make something positive come out of a terribly negative event.
As of today the totals at www.onefundboston.org exceed $27 million, with over $17 million coming from corporations and over $9 million from individuals. Sports teams have rallied and grass roots fund-raising has ranged from sales of Boston Strong T-shirts to a haircut-a-thon and a Pilates boot camp. With Kenneth Feinberg administering the compensations to be paid out, there is a high level of confidence that the funds will be distributed appropriately yet as Feinberg himself said, “It’s a wonderful outpouring, but it will not make people whole.”