Since its inception in 1979, the annual Gilroy Garlic Festival has topped lists in local and national publications, been awarded a Guinness world record, and been featured on The Food Network and Travel Channel. But last year, on its 40th anniversary, the three-day food fair experienced a tragedy.
On Sunday, July 28, 2019, a gunman opened fire at the festival, killing three people and wounding more than a dozen. The shooting left the community reeling, but united in providing relief to the victims and support to each other.
A year after the shooting, we remember the victims and honor our first responders by presenting this video (above) and publishing a blog about how the community came together. We also invite you to Gilroy Foundation’s virtual memorial event on Tuesday, July 28, 2020 at 5:15 p.m. The memorial will be streamed on YouTube Live and is open to the community.
With other community foundations in mind, we have also published a disaster response guide that details some of the lessons learned by Gilroy Foundation and SVCF in responding to the violent community tragedy. This collaborative piece documents challenges overcome in supporting community healing efforts.
Due to COVID-19, there will be no Garlic Festival in 2020. If you would like to contribute to the Gilroy Garlic Festival Endowment Fund, however, please contact the Garlic Festival Association at 408.842.1625 or email@example.com. You can also donate through gilroygarlicfestival.com/donate.
Gilroy Foundation Brings Community Together in Wake of Garlic Festival Tragedy
Gain first-hand perspective about the aftermath of the shooting from two types of non-traditional first responders: a festival volunteer (formerly an EMT and volunteer firefighter) and community foundations – philanthropy’s “first responders.”
Gilroy Garlic Festival Victims Relief Fund - Final Distribution Report
The community sprung into action after the shooting, raising funds for victims and their families. Silicon Valley Community Foundation seeded the Gilroy Garlic Festival Victims Relief Fund with $10,000. Ultimately, nearly $2 million was raised and disbursed.
NBC Bay Area: Gilroy Foundation Creates Guidebook for Tragedy After Mass Shooting
With the foundation’s work to help local victims winding down, the focus is on a guidebook that its creators hope won’t ever need to be used: a book aimed at helping the next city after the next shooting or tragedy.
Philanthropy Now Podcast: Pivoting in Dire Times
As part of an eight-episode podcast series with the Alliance of Community Foundations of Silicon Valley, we discuss Gilroy Foundation’s response to the 2019 Gilroy Garlic Festival shooting, the 2020 COVID-19 outbreak and more.
Gilroy Strong Resiliency Center
After the shooting, the Santa Clara County District Attorney's Office set up a Family Assistance Center to support festival attendees with grief counseling, assistance in filing medical claims, and referrals to other agencies. It is now the Gilroy Strong Resiliency Center, located within Gilroy’s The Neon Exchange.