RICHMOND, Va. -- The University of Virginia Alumni Association has created a support fund to assist the survivors, victims' families, and student community following the Nov. 13 shooting that claimed the lives of three UVA football players.
It is called the UVA Strong Fund.
"It's a reflection of the character of this place and of the UVA alumni community," said association president and CEO Lily West of the fund's name. "It's defined by care and compassion and resilience. And you've seen that time and time again, especially in the past week and a half."
"We are trying to be a small, but hopefully important player in the healing process for the university community."
West said the fund was launched last Thursday and credited alumni from Virginia Tech, who used their experience setting up similar aid following 2007 at that school, to help get it up and running quickly.
"Our counterparts at Virginia Tech have been incredible and they have taught us a lot in a very short amount of time about how to effectively respond to these types of tragedies," said West. "We're taking from their learnings. We're also mindful that each tragedy is its own and we want to be responsive to the needs of this community."
West said in the first five days of the fund's creation they already had over 600 donors.
"It has just been overwhelming to see the response and it's been so moving during a time of such despair to see how much people are stepping up and thinking of this community as they contribute funds of any amount," said West. "There was an example of an elementary school class that left us a voicemail and the teacher said that her students wanted to donate proceeds from their bake sale."
The fund is also receiving a portion of the profits from the sales of UVA Strong shirts.
CBS 6 spoke with West about the fund prior to Tuesday night's shooting at a Walmart in Chesapeake that left six dead, plus the shooter, but she responded to it in an email.
"Our hearts go out to the victims, survivors, their families, and the entire Chesapeake, VA community. To have these two mass shootings happen within a matter of days and within a drive of each other is maddening and devastating. What profound losses. We are sending our deepest condolences from Charlottesville to Chesapeake," said West.