A charitable fund intended to support the victims of the Gilroy Garlic Festival shooting on July 28 has received more than $630,000 in the first 10 days.
The Silicon Valley Community Foundation, working with the Gilroy Foundation, set up the fund the morning after the tragedy, contributing an initial $10,000.
Gilroy Foundation Executive Director Donna Pray sent out an email to 80 people, from board members to city and business leaders, among others, notifying them of the new fund. Within seconds, Pray said she received an email from Ken Christopher, executive vice president of Christopher Ranch, saying the garlic producer would match the $10,000 donation.
The floodgates opened. The David and Lucile Packard Foundation cut a check for $50,000, the Oakland A’s contributed $10,000 from garlic fries sales, and the San Francisco Giants donated $5,000.
By the end of the week, the fund ballooned to “way over $200,000,” Pray said.
“It’s really something else,” she said. “It’s wonderful to see these people who are wanting to be involved, and they’re not just from Gilroy.”
The funds have been arriving in all amounts. Pray said among the foundation’s overflowing mailbox was an anonymous sympathy card. The note-writer said they had read about the shooting in the East Bay Times, and wanted to help out in any way they could.
Inside the card was a $5 bill.
“It was very, very heartwarming,” Pray said.
The Gilroy Foundation, which was founded in 1980 and has assets of more than $12.8 million, typically provides grants to causes such as student scholarships and recreational activities. Raising funds for shooting victims is something that is unfamiliar to them.
“Fortunately, we’ve never had a disaster like this in Gilroy before,” she said. “This is heart-wrenching. We know we needed help.”
Working with the Silicon Valley Community Foundation, the Gilroy Foundation is beginning to form a process of how to provide the money to the victims, their families and local nonprofits that provide relief.
“We are just in the collecting mode right now, serving as the steward of these donated dollars,” she said.
Pray added that 100 percent of the funds will go directly to the victims, and the foundation will not be taking administration fees.
Donations can be made at www.gilroyfoundation.org or mailed to P.O. Box 774, Gilroy CA 95021.