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Tuesday, May 28, 2024

Jason Nixon: 501(c)(3) will ensure stable families and the victims are remembered

(Southside Daily/Courtesy of the city of Virginia Beach)
(Southside Daily/Courtesy of the city of Virginia Beach)

After Virginia Beach Mayor Bobby Dyer called May 31 “the most devastating” in the city’s history, the community of people, organizations, and businesses rallied around the survivors and victims families by donating to the Virginia Beach Tragedy Fund.

As of Friday, the fund has raised $4 million, according to a spokeswoman at United Way of South Hampton Roads. 

And, although he’s grateful, Jason Nixon said he’s following through with a vision to establish a 501(c)(3) in honor of his wife, Kate, and the other 15 victims who died or were injured in the Municipal Center on May 31.

“I think the foundation would be an honorable thing to keep Kate’s legacy alive, help the families, and keep everybody remembering who they were,” he said. 

Nixon said he’s thinking two black-tie dinners per year and a golf tournament in the spring will provide opportunities to say the victims’ names while also raising money.

Nixon said “it makes sense” to establish long-term financial assistance for families who are facing a loss of income because of the tragic death or debilitating injury of their family member who was in Building 2 that day.

“They worked for public utilities, public works — they weren’t police officers, they weren’t firefighters, they weren’t military they didn’t run that risk of losing their lives going to work,” he said. “No one in a billion years would expect something like this.” 

As a real estate agent, Nixon said his checks didn’t cover the bills for their family of five, “my wife was the breadwinner and that’s just the way it was.”

“We’ve raised a lot of money [with the Tragedy Fund], but for 16 families it’s really not.”

Suddenly as the single parent of three girls ages 1, 6, and 13, Nixon has the added pressure of making sure the family is medically insured after Kate’s benefits plan expires in December.

“These are the things that keep me up at night,” he said.

That’s the reason establishing “a growing fund that’s consistently there” is so important to him, Nixon said, but it’s also important for the other families who might be facing the same, or different issues.

“There’s a lot of factors that play into peoples lives and family structure, nobody knows anyone else’s personal financial business,” he said. 

So far, Nixon said the idea is still in its infancy but has received a lot of support from survivors, other victims’ families, and friends he’s mentioned it to.

Nixon said he’s never started a 501(c)(3) before and is open to opinions, advice, and information, with hopes of laying the foundation and getting the work done in time for it to be up and running next year.

He doesn’t have a name yet but wants to “come up with something that means a lot to everybody,” he said.

I want to see this through and I think the city will embrace it,” he said. “I like the whole ‘VBStrong’ idea but we can make this a long-lasting thing in my opinion.” 

RELATED STORY: Virginia Beach mass shooting aftermath: Finding answers, sorting through the chaos

John Mangalonzo
John Mangalonzo
John Mangalonzo ( is the managing editor of Local Voice Media’s Virginia papers – WYDaily (Williamsburg), Southside Daily (Virginia Beach) and HNNDaily (Hampton-Newport News). Before coming to Local Voice, John was the senior content editor of The Bellingham Herald, a McClatchy newspaper in Washington state. Previously, he served as city editor/content strategist for USA Today Network newsrooms in St. George and Cedar City, Utah. John started his professional journalism career shortly after graduating from Lyceum of The Philippines University in 1990. As a rookie reporter for a national newspaper in Manila that year, John was assigned to cover four of the most dangerous cities in Metro Manila. Later that year, John was transferred to cover the Philippine National Police and Armed Forces of the Philippines. He spent the latter part of 1990 to early 1992 embedded with troopers in the southern Philippines as they fought with communist rebels and Muslim extremists. His U.S. journalism career includes reporting and editing stints for newspapers and other media outlets in New York City, California, Texas, Iowa, Utah, Colorado and Washington state.

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