Volunteers and staff of the Gilroy Foundation this month handed out more than $1.5 million to victims of the July 28 mass shooting at the Gilroy Garlic Festival.
Lump-sum checks were handed to the families of the three victims and individuals who were shot as well some who suffered other injuries in the melee following the attack in Christmas Hill Park.
The distribution followed an astounding outpouring of generosity, which continues, and the careful development of criteria and processes to ensure the donations were handled properly and fairly, according to the foundation.
Nearly 90 percent of the donated money–$1.38 million—went first to the families of the three murder victims—Trevor Irby, Stephen Romero and Keyla Salazar—then to the 17 people who were shot. The lump-sum amounts varied, depending on the severity of the injuries, according to the foundation.
The remainder of the disbursed funds, about $178,000, was given to 59 individuals who suffered a variety of injuries other than gunshot wounds.
“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.
The fund, established Aug. 1, has received more than $1.7 million in donations and pledges to date, she reported.
In addition to the disbursements by the local foundation, the California Victim Compensation Board paid $33,035 to victims and survivors, according to Mary Thompson, acting public information officer for the state fund.
In interviews and written answers to questions from the Gilroy Dispatch, Pray and Joel Goldsmith, chair of the foundation’s Gilroy Garlic Festival Victims Relief Fund Oversight Committee, described a process that was exhausting, rewarding and filled with emotion.
“The members of our committee have not just been looking at numbers—we have gotten to know the victims, and we want to do what is morally and ethically correct,” said Goldsmith, the retired owner of Goldsmith Seeds of Gilroy.
Goldsmith said the foundation concluded it didn’t need to pay most medical bills or funeral expenses, but instead focused on meeting urgent financial needs of the victims and their families.
He said the foundation consulted national experts in compensation of victims in mass shootings and terrorist attacks.
“As we continue to heal as a community, we receive daily words of support from all over the world,” Pray said in a statement.
“We have been so moved by the courage and resilience demonstrated by the victims, and we are humbled to be a part of their recovery,” Pray told the Dispatch. “As difficult as this situation has been for all of us, we are confident that the administration of the relief fund has been effective, fair and reflects the values of this great community that Gilroy Foundation is proud to serve.”
The foundation is distributing 100 percent of donations to the victims.
Applications for aid are still being accepted, until Jan. 31, 2020, pending the availability of funds.
All medical/counseling/funeral, etc. have been reimbursed by service agencies.
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.