News and analysis
January 19, 2011

Philanthropic Funds Sprout to Honor Arizona Shooting Victims

Rick Wilking/Reuters/Newscom

A memorial to Christina-Taylor Green, one of the victims of a January 8th shooting in Tucson, Ariz.

Philanthropy is playing an important role in helping people in Tucson—and across the country—respond to the mass shooting there.

The family of Christina-Taylor Green has set up a memorial fund at the Community Foundation for Southern Arizona to honor the youngest shooting victim, a 9-year-old who was killed January 8 during the attack on Rep. Gabrielle Giffords and 17 other people in front of a Safeway supermarket.

“Our family has been overwhelmed by the outpouring of love for our sweet Christina,” John Green, Christina’s father, said in a written statement. “This memorial fund will ensure her legacy for the children in our community.”

More than 900 donations had been made to the fund by the end of the day Tuesday. An official at the community foundation said that Tucson’s mayor, Bob Walkup, planned to announce the amount of money donated to the fund later this week or next week.

The Christina-Taylor Green Memorial Fund is one of a growing number of funds established to honor the people who were killed or injured in the attack.

  • Donations to the 1/8/11 Tucson Tragedy Victims’ Fund, organized by Homicide Survivors, a nonprofit in Tucson, will help pay for funeral expenses for the people who died as well as travel, child care, and other expenses to allow survivors and family members to participate in court proceedings related to the tragedy.
  • Safeway last week created the Tucson Victims Fund, to which the company contributed $100,000. The grocery-store chain is collecting donations in its Arizona stores and accepting donations through its foundation.
  • U.S. Navy Capt. Mark Kelly, the husband of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, who was wounded in the attack, asked people who wanted to help to consider making donations to the Congresswoman’s favorite charities, the Community Food Bank and the Southern Arizona Chapter of the American Red Cross, both in Tucson. Both organizations have set up funds in Ms. Giffords’s honor.
  • Gabriel M. Zimmerman, a 30-year-old Congression­al aide who was killed in the shooting, served on the boards of two Tucson charities that have established memorial funds in his honor: Child & Family Resources and the YWCA Tucson.
  • Alumni at Mr. Zimmerman’s undergraduate alma mater, the University of California at Santa Cruz, have set up a scholarship fund in his memory. The university has set a goal of raising at least $50,000, which would allow the scholarship to be endowed. So far the university has received roughly 250 gifts totaling $15,000.

“I want to be able to call Gabe’s parents sooner rather than later that we have an endowed scholarship,” says Joop Rubens, associate director of development for social sciences at the university.

The Arizona State University School of Social Work, where Mr. Zimmerman earned a master’s degree in 2006, has also established a memorial fund in his memory.

  • The Pima Community College Foundation has created the Memorial Scholarship Fund to honor the six people who died in the attack. (The accused killer, Jared Lee Loughner, briefly attended the community college.)

Community Volunteers

The prominent role of philanthropy in the aftermath of the tragedy makes sense given the level of community involvement of the shooting victims, says Evan Mendelson, a vice president at the Community Foundation for Southern Arizona.

While Ms. Giffords’s and Mr. Zimmerman’s public service is well known, Ms. Mendelson says she has been struck by the volunteer work and activism of the other shooting victims.

Says Ms. Mendelson: “There was this immediate relationship with the nonprofits because they were so active in the community.”