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November 21, 2019

Businesses, foundations lead fundraising for Garlic Festival victims fund

The money came in from all over the country, from customers and employees of giant companies and mom-and-pop stores, from community foundations, from fundraisers at fitness clubs and restaurants, and from thousands of individuals who gave as little as a few dollars.

In less than three months, gifts to the Gilroy Garlic Festival Victims Fund totaled more than $1.7 million.

Businesses and foundations made the first contributions to establish this fund with the Gilroy Foundation—the local community foundation—and they continue to lead foundation fundraising with more than $1 million in donations.

The first detailed list of their contributions provided by the Gilroy Foundation, in response to a request from this newspaper, shows the astonishing depth and breadth of the giving to victims of Gilroy’s darkest day, July 28, 2019.

The foundation report also revealed a mysterious bombshell: One anonymous donor transferred $250,000 to the fund account. Because this donor asked to remain anonymous, whether the money came from a business, individual or foundation remains unknown.

Foundations and businesses (and their customers) gave generously and without any expectation of identification or recognition. Most of the money came in in the first three weeks after that fateful Sunday evening, when a 19-year-old Gilroy man in less than a minute sprayed 39 bullets from a semi-automatic rifle into the Garlic Festival crowd, before killing himself in a shootout with three Gilroy police officers.

Six-year-old Stephen Romero and 13-year-old Keyla Salazar, both of San Jose, and Trevor Irby of Santa Cruz died of gunshot wounds. Seventeen others were shot and are in varying stages of recovery.

“The Gilroy Foundation and our community are overwhelmed with the generosity of individuals, families and businesses in their support of the Gilroy Garlic Festival Victims Relief Fund,” said Donna Pray, executive director of the foundation, in a statement earlier this month.

278 business and foundations

The 278 businesses and foundations listed in the Gilroy Foundation report gave more than $1.04 million to the victims’ relief fund.

Individuals accounted for another nearly $700,000 in gifts to aid the victims and their families, according to the foundation.

The victims’ fund was established by the Gilroy Foundation in partnership with the Silicon Valley Community Foundation, which contributed an initial $10,000 to the relief fund.

In addition to the anonymous $250,000 donor, a number of foundations and businesses gave more than $10,000.

Here are some of the highlights:

Three gave $50,000

Charlotte, NC-based Bank of America, the David and Lucile Packard Foundation of Los Altos and the California Community Foundation of Los Angeles each gave $50,000.

Apple Inc. gave $29,264 in matching donations from its employees, and other matching programs from Google, Netflix, LinkedIn and Micron Technology added another $10,795.

The Sharks Foundation of San Jose gave $21,000, and the Ventura Christian Church and Kendra Scott Design, an Austin, Texas jewelry firm, each gave $20,000.

KW Local Cares, the charity of Keller Williams Realtors of Cleveland, gave $15,238.

Gifts of $10,000 came from Fifth Generation Inc. of Austin, Texas, Ross Stores Foundation of Dublin, Christopher Ranch of Gilroy, Gilroy Gardens, Heritage Bank, RRA (Straw Hat) Pizza, Sarah’s Vineyard of Gilroy, and Zanker Road Resource Management of Gilroy.

Sales of “#Gilroy Strong” T-shirts yielded gifts of $36,272 from One Life Prints and $23,000 from Cal Silk, both of Gilroy.

The foundation reported that altogether, 77 Gilroy businesses, foundations and non-profits gave more than $220,000 to the fund. In San Jose, 23 businesses and foundations gave $77,587.

Other significant business donations in Gilroy came from the Nimble Thimble Quilt Shop, $9,000; Fortino Winery, $9,938; Wyndemere, $7,200; and Syngenta’s, $3,698.

Also in Gilroy, the Edward Boss Prado Foundation gave $6,000, the KLA-Tencor Foundation gave $5,000, Pinnacle Bank gave $5,000, the New Hope Community Church gave $4,950 and the Rendiamo Foundation gave $4,500. Another dozen Gilroy organizations gave more than $2,000: Arteaga’s Food Center, Siam Bistro, Cafe Thyme, Westside Grill, Gilroy Rodeo Association, Miller Red Barn, Aver Family Vineyard, St. Joseph Family Center, Moya Art, P&V Winery and UNFI Foods.

Morgan Hill, Hollister

In nearby Morgan Hill, 10 businesses and foundations gave nearly $13,000, including $7,000 from Marki Microwave and $5,000 from the Ford Store of Morgan Hill, where on June 25, a gunman killed two managers before killing himself. Also in Morgan Hill, George Chiala Farms gave $3,000, the Morgan Hill Chamber of Commerce gave $4,695 and the Edward Boss Prado Foundation gave $2,000.

In neighboring Hollister, the Community Foundation for San Benito County gave $500, one of 10 community foundations in California—six in the Los Angeles area—and around the country that contributed to the victims’ fund. The San Benito County Chamber of Commerce and Brent Redwood Logistics LLC and the Brent Redwood Foundation also donated.

Orangetheory Fitness centers in the Bay Area held 19 fitness fundraisers, contributing $1,167.

Contributions of $5,000 each came in from the Brandenburg Family Fund of San Jose, the Starbucks Foundation in Seattle, Impact Assets of Bethesda, MD, the Santa Clara County Realtors Foundation, AssetMark Charity and Giving Fund of Concord, the Harbor Freight Communities of Calabasas, the Cedar-Sinai Medical Center of Los Angeles, and the Kirkirian Family Foundation. 

The Britannia Arms restaurants raised $8,260, and the Santa Cruz Mustang Club gave $6, 798 and Cordevalle LP gave $5,174.

Checks handed out

Pray said that the victims’ relief fund established by the foundation handed out more than $1.5 million to victims of the July 28 mass shooting in the first two weeks of October. Lump-sum checks totaling $1.38 million were handed to the families of the three murder victims and to survivors who received gunshot wounds; the rest went to 59 others who suffered other injuries and personal trauma in the melee following the attack in Christmas Hill Park in Gilroy. The latter group received a total of about $178,000.

The lump-sum amounts varied depending on the severity of the injuries, according to the foundation, which is distributing 100 percent of donations to the victims.

Applications for aid are being accepted until Jan. 31, 2020, pending the availability of funds.

The foundation continues to accept all donations. 

“They continue to pour in,” wrote Pray. ”The more donations we get, the more we can give out to the victims.”

To donate or apply for aid, visit gilroyfoundation.org.

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