Boston Victim Assistance Fund Rises to $20 Million

One Fund Boston, set up to aid marathon bombing victims, has reached $20 million with donations ranging from $5 by children with lemonade stands to $1 million by companies, Mayor Thomas Menino said.

Kenneth Feinberg, who oversaw the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund, will distribute money to people hurt by the blast. He said today he will hold town hall meetings in early May to listen to suggestions from the public on how to distribute the funds.

“This is not the first time I’ve been asked to administer a fund like this and every time I always hope that it’s the last time,” Feinberg said at a press briefing today. “But bad things happen to good people every day in this country.”

Claims from victims must be submitted by June 15, and funds will be distributed starting June 30, with Bank of America Corp. issuing the checks, he said.

“These funds have to be distributed quickly, with no fuss,” Feinberg said. “Claimants are in desperate shape.”

Three people were killed and more than 260 were injured in the finish-line bombing of the Boston Marathon on April 15. Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, 19, was charged yesterday and his brother Tamerlan, 26, was killed in a shootout with police. Law enforcement officials say the brothers shot and killed a Massachusetts Institute of Technology police officer on April 18 before that confrontation in Watertown, Massachusetts.

Corporate Millions

John Hancock Life Insurance Co., the sponsor of the Boston Marathon, as well as AT&T Inc., Bain Capital Partners, Partners Healthcare System Inc., New Balance Athletic Shoe Co. and Liberty Mutual Insurance Co. have pledged $1 million each, the fund said in a statement.

“I never imagined after the tragedy of last Monday the generosity of folks -- that we would reach $20 million in one week,” Menino said.

Forty-eight people remained hospitalized citywide, according to figures provided yesterday by six Boston hospitals that dealt with most of the seriously injured. At least 13 survivors lost a limb, including some who had multiple amputations, said the hospitals, which include Brigham & Women’s Hospital, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Tufts Medical Center, and Massachusetts General Hospital.

Five people lost seven limbs at Boston Medical Center, medical officials said yesterday in a news conference. Already, they are undergoing rehabilitation that includes some walking and exercises to make them more mobile, doctors said.

Feinberg oversaw victim assistance funds last year after the Aurora, Colorado, movie theater shooting, and in 2007 after the shootings at the Polytechnic Institute and State University in Blacksburg, Virginia, known as the Virginia Tech massacre.

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