Tornado

Fund set up for Joplin tornado victims closes four years after deadly storm

Shawna Neal looks through the rubble that used to be her home on May 23, 2011 in Joplin, Mo. Her home and neighborhood near St. John's Regional Medical Center were destroyed by the EF5 tornado.
Shawna Neal looks through the rubble that used to be her home on May 23, 2011 in Joplin, Mo. Her home and neighborhood near St. John's Regional Medical Center were destroyed by the EF5 tornado. File photo

JOPLIN, Mo. — A fund established after the 2011 Joplin tornado has been closed and its board disbanded after distributing nearly $1 million to assist residents and nonprofits in recovery efforts.

The Joplin City Council this week praised the board of trustees of the Joplin Tornado First Response Fund for their work, The Joplin Globe (http://bit.ly/1c72bf2 ) reported. The fund allotted $998,201 in aid after the May 22, 2011 tornado, which killed 161 people and destroyed thousands of homes and hundreds of businesses.

City documents show the fund received donations ranging from $1 to $119,000 from people throughout the world. Board chairman Phil Stinnett thanked the council and city staff for their help and said the contributions wouldn't have been available without the generosity of almost 1,000 donors.

"Without their willingness and desire to help this community, this fund would never have even existed," Stinnett said.

More than 40 grants were awarded to over a dozen nonprofits to help rebuild or repair homes, replace appliances for those who didn't have insurance and build storm shelters.

The fund also distributed money to organizations to help those with disabilities recover and to provide storm shelters for group homes. A number of child care and counseling services received funding to help those traumatized by the storm. Churches that housed and fed the influx of volunteers who came to help in the aftermath of the tornado also received money.

Stinnett said one $25,000 grant was returned to the fund after the recipient said the money no longer was needed. Other groups didn't use the full amount of their grants. The board agreed to grant the remaining $39,290 balance to the city.

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