From the Boston Bar Journal - Disaster Relief: The One Fund Boston Model

By Susan L. Abbott and Lisa A.H. McChesney


The authors express their appreciation to the many others at Goodwin Procter who were part of the One Fund team, and in particular for the invaluable assistance of Stuart Cable, Mary-Kathleen O’Connell, and Alyssa Fitzgerald.

In the wake of the Boston Marathon bombings on April 15, 2013, Boston Mayor Menino and Massachusetts Governor Patrick proposed creating a charity to benefit the survivors and families of those killed in the attack.  On April 16, Mayor Menino reached out to local businesses Hill Holliday and John Hancock to assist with the creation of the One Fund Boston.  Later that day, before the fund was even incorporated and before Ken Feinberg was brought on as administrator, the One Fund received its first $1 million commitment from John Hancock.

As the One Fund’s attorneys, we at Goodwin Procter had to seek quick incorporation of the fund and apply on an expedited basis for 501(c)(3) tax-exempt status with the IRS.  However, applications for 501(c)(3) status often take up to eighteen months to process, and in addition, obtaining the necessary approval was challenging, due to IRS limitations on the types of distributions that charitable organizations can make to individuals in the context of disaster relief.

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