The Paso del Norte Community Foundation established the El Paso Victims Relief Fund within hours of the tragic shooting of August 3, 2019. Generous gifts from donors from El Paso, throughout Texas, across the United States and throughout the world poured in to support victims and their families. In all 4,422 donors made 4,544 gifts for a total of $5,869,531 ranging $5 to $1.5 million. The Paso del Norte Community Foundation joined the El Paso Community Foundation and City of El Paso to combine the philanthropic resources, establish One Fund of El Paso, engage Stephanie Karr, the National Compassion Fund and the One Fund El Paso Task Force and Board to develop and implement a publicly-vetted protocol for the disbursement of funds, and ultimately distribute $11,833,588 to victims and families. The PDN Community Foundation established two additional funds in partnership with Community En Acción to support immediate educational needs of victims and relatives and long-term scholarship funds for the children of those taken. The United Way of El Paso County and County of El Paso established the El Paso United Family Resiliency Center to connect victims and families to social services and provide opportunities for our community to come together to grieve and to heal.
The Paso del Norte Community Foundation has been so moved by the immediate and overwhelming support for victims and families. In recognition of the first anniversary of the needless tragedy, we have compiled tribute stories that demonstrate generosity, solidarity and the best of our humanity.
As families continue to grieve and heal, they have expressed their gratitude for the extraordinary generosity. One family recently wrote, "That day we lost a pillar of our family, a loving mother and wife whose absence we continue to feel every day. In the midst of this hardship, however, we have also met your support and enormous generosity and we are very thankful for it. We have received from you more than we could ever have expected, and we want to let you know that your help will make a big difference in these coming years. You have given us an incredibly valuable resource that will be crucial in relieving some of the financial pressures of everyday life and allow each of us to open a space for ourselves to heal and begin the process of retaking our lives after these very difficult past five months."
One of the first gifts delivered to the Paso del Norte Community Foundation was from Willy Dogs, a local food stand who donated 100% of their sales collected on Sunday, August 4th.
A Navy veteran from the USS El Paso delivered a gift that he put together with his former shipmates. The veteran was not from El Paso but had met Mayor Dee Margo just the year before and felt so connected to our community after serving on the ship named in the city’s honor that he and his fellow veterans were moved to give.
Univision/Entravision knew they wanted to do something significant to support victims and families. With the passion and dedication of their extraordinary leadership and staff, they organized a telethon for viewers across the Southwest. Elected officials, artists and musicians gave of their time, talents and resources to be a part of the telethon. Barracuda PR ran a parallel campaign on social media. Gifts came in from a wide range of donors including generous Univision sponsors like Bravo Cadillac and McDonalds. A family who owned a jumping balloon company delivered their gift to the station and challenged other jumping balloon companies to give as well. One older woman delivered a Folgers jar full of coins that she was saving to buy her grandson a Christmas gift. She knew how much the victims and families were suffering and wanted to give all she could. One band came to deliver the tips they collected the prior weekend. Univision raised more than $200,000 as a result of the telethon, not including the incredible in-kind value of their staff time and the station facilities.
The Ysleta del Sur Pueblo Tiguas, led by Cacique Jose Sierra, Sr., were heartbroken by the shooting and in solidarity with their families and friends in the El Paso and Juárez communities, they made a generous initial contribution of $100,000 to the El Paso Victims Relief Fund and then they donated all revenue from an August 15, 2019 Clint Black concert to the fund, resulting in an additional gift of $78,337. The concert was a special opportunity for the community to come together as part of the healing process following the shooting.
Donations from businesses, corporations and foundations were extraordinarily powerful. Some of the largest corporate gifts came from Group 1 Automotive with a $200,000 donation, Walmart with a $200,000 donation, Helen of Troy, with a $200,000 donation and matched dollar-for-dollar all gifts made by employees, and the GECU Foundation with a $150,000 gift. Pizza Properties, Tri-State Electric, United Bank, Hanon Systems, Sundt Foundation, Wells Fargo Foundation, Kendra Scott, Verizon, Microsoft, Novamex, Harbor Freight, Jobe Materials, Platinum Software Labs, Toyota, Lexus, AT&T, Sunflower Bank, Sunland Park Racetrack, WestStar Bank, JP Morgan Chase, One Gas, Favor, GC Services, Vinton Steel, Alamo Drafthouse, Starr Western Wear, GE Companies, Sumitomo Wiring Systems, and Western Technical College were among other generous corporate donors. Many companies provided generous matching gifts as well matching every dollar their employees gave including Hunt Companies, MIMCO, Lauterbach Borschow, El Paso Electric, Kemp Smith, Delgado, Acosta, Spencer, Linebarger & Perez, among others.
Healthcare partners across El Paso gave generously to the El Paso Victims Relief Fund. The WellMed Charitable Foundation made a $575,000 gift thanks to the generosity of the WellMed founder and support from the WellMed Charitable Foundation and employees. WellMed joined Blue Cross Blue Shield of Texas with a $50,000 gift, El Paso Cosmetic Surgery, El Paso Health, Bienvivir, Southwest Transplant Alliance, SW Chiropractic, Surgical Center of El Paso and East El Paso Surgery Center, among others, with significant contributions.
The MountainStar Sports Group Foundation together with the El Paso Chihuahuas, El Paso Locomotive, Hunt Family Foundation and Foster Family Foundation donated $150,000 with a check presentation during the first Locomotive game after the shooting. The Southwest University Ballpark was the site of the first city-wide memorial lighting luminarias on the field in honor of those taken. Responding to the El Paso Chihuahuas’ call to give, the Padres Foundation donated $10,000 to the fund.
Bartenders were not to be outdone giving their tips at an event hosted by National Distributors. More than 2,000 bartenders were in attendance at an event held at EPIC Railyard specifically to support victims and families. In all, Republic donated over $50,000. In addition, bars such as Aceituna’s Beer Garden, Neon Rose Bar and Coconuts took up donations among their patrons and bartenders and wait staff contributed as well, while LB Liquors and Wine donated $5,000.
Multiple student-led groups set-up fundraising efforts to support victims and families with generous gifts coming from Parkland Middle School, Apalachee High School, Loretto Academy, Lydia Patterson Institute, and United High School Longhorns.
At least two companies headquartered outside of El Paso were moved to generously give driven by employees with personal ties to the community. Pace-O-Matic’s Chief Administrative Officer, who grew up in El Paso and went to Coronado High School, came to the Foundation offices to personally deliver an $18,000 gift. Another generous contribution came from Brady Industries, a Las Vegas-based company with employee ties to El Paso.
Food City Supermarkets set up canisters at all of their registers to collecting thousands of dollars in change. They also quietly and without recognition delivered bags of groceries to families in need with loved ones in the hospital.
The Braden Aboud Foundation was one of several foundations that gave generously to the El Paso Victims Relief Fund joining generous gifts from the Chicago Community Foundation, Arizona Community Foundation, California Community Foundation and Community Foundation of Nashville – and other important local and corporate foundations including the Raise the Roof Foundation, Bernard & Audre Rapoport Foundation, TJX Foundation, Richard G. Miller Foundation, and Starbucks Foundation.
Several groups mobilized to raise money through the sale of t-shirts. Bullzerk, a Dallas company, designed a special t-shirt in response to the shooting that read “Don’t Hate in My State” and they partnered with the news station WFAA to promote and sell the t-shirts. They raised an impressive $125,000 from the t-shirt sales and they worked around the clock to meet demand from people across the state who wanted to support the effort. A check was presented at the Eastwood-Plano football game played at the Dallas Cowboys’ training facility, The Star. Jayva Print House sold El Paso Strong t-shirts and donated a portion of the sales to the El Paso Victims Relief Fund. The first check they presented was for $10,000 and the entire staff personally delivered the check to the foundation, as they were connected to a victim of the shooting and they felt compelled to help in any way they could. The Juvenile Probation Department designed their own El Paso Strong t-shirts and sold them within their department. They raised over $1,600. Similarly, Early Bird Pediatric Therapy had a contest in their office and the best design was printed on shirts and sold among their staff and they personally delivered a check for $300.
El Paso restaurants encouraged giving to the El Paso Victims Relief Fund among their patrons and they made inspiring gifts to the fund, both from the restaurants themselves and their patrons. Peter Piper Pizza contributed $10,000 and restaurants such as L&J Café, Cochineal, Joe & David’s Tacos, Maria’s Cantina, Brass Monkey, Border City Ale House, Thirty-Five Tavern & Grill, Hudson’s Grill, Don Carbon, Cattleman’s Indian Cliffs Ranch, Shack Wings and Brew, Desert Rustic Kitchen, Denny’s, and Wing Shack, among others, raised several thousands more.
Panda Express reached out immediately to support victims and families. They committed $104,762.72 – a combination of a gift from the Panda Cares Foundation and donations from patrons giving to donation boxes set up in stores across the El Paso market.
Macy’s was an incredible supporter of the El Paso Victim’s Relief Fund. Macy’s itself made a $20,000 gift to the fund and it also led a “Round Up” effort over a weekend in August 2019 at all its Macy’s department stores throughout Texas and another $80,000 was raised generous customers of Macy’s!
Mister Car Wash raised just under $20,000 for the El Paso Victims Relief Fund by dedicating a portion of their car wash revenue for a weekend soon after the fund was established.
Entertainment and recreational businesses donated proceeds from their sales in support of the El Paso Victims Relief Fund. Gifts from PM Comics, Star Fireworks, Card My Yard and Pockets Billiards and Fun are just a few examples.
Nonprofit organizations showed their compassion and solidarity with generous gifts from Endeavors, Rio Grande Cancer Foundation, Chica Chat, Women’s Fund of El Paso, and more.
Elected Officials exhibited extraordinary leadership in the wake of the tragedy and shared their generosity too with special gifts from Congresswoman Veronica Escobar, Congresswoman Barbara Lee, State Representative Cesar Blanco, Congressman Robert (Beto) O’Rourke, Mayor Dee Margo, and more.
It was truly touching to witness how individuals rallied within their own circles of influence to raise money for the victims’ fund. A series of car shows, and bike runs were put together by various car and motorcycle clubs throughout the city and at these car shows, and bike runs, organizers sold foot and t-shirts to help raise money to benefit victims and their families. Other meaningful fundraising events that were held included a tennis tournament that was held at the El Paso Tennis & Swim Club that raised $3,300, the Cactus Dodgeball tournament that raised $500, the lemonade stand manned by the Barreno children that raised just under $35.00 for the fund.
A group of women in the Plano area were so moved by the tragedy that they formed a fundraiser on Facebook for families in the Plano area to give to the El Paso Victims Relief Fund, raising nearly $5,000 for victims and families.
The PDN Foundation received two very moving gifts from Cuban immigrant detainees, who sent $20 in cash along with an incredibly heartfelt letter, as well as over $200 collected by an association of Hispanic inmates in an Oregon detention center. They sent these financial resources along with their sentiments of love and solidarity.
Recognizing that the needs of families would exist beyond the immediate direct financial support provided by the El Paso Victims Relief Fund, Community En Acción established two important scholarship funds — one for the immediate educational needs of victims and their extended families supported by generous gifts from the Trellis Foundation and Trellis Corporation along with local business donors – and one for the long-term scholarship needs of the children of those taken. More than $300,000 has been raised for these two scholarship funds to date.
LaLa Imports generously donated thousands of pinatas for the benefit of the El Paso Victims Relief Fund and the Junior League of El Paso graciously donated a booth at their Christmas Fair event as an avenue for selling the pinatas. The Junior League of El Paso also raised funds within their own membership and made a beautiful gift on behalf of the organization of just under $1,500.
Online gifts were immediate after the shooting with more than 3,850 gifts made online from donors in El Paso, 49 states and three countries.
The Paso del Norte Community Foundation has also been the recipient of other beautiful acts of kindness all shared with the victims and families — from soothing musical CDs to knitted hats to original artwork.
The staff of the Paso del Norte Community Foundation, Paso del Norte Health Foundation and Fundación Paso del Norte went above and beyond in a myriad of ways to support both victims and the overall community in response to the August 3rd shooting. Staff supported victims who called or walked in foundation offices looking for assistance in El Paso and Juárez, they volunteered at fundraising events to support the Victims Relief Fund, attended community meetings in support of outreach efforts through One Fund and contributed in many other impactful ways. A special thank you note for the staff received from a donor from New York included a quote by Mr. Rogers, "look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping."
To ensure that 100% of donations would support victims and families, the Paso del Norte Health Foundation contributed $100,000 to support the overhead related to managing the distribution of funds, including engaging Stephanie Karr and the National Compassion Fund, and covering administrative and credit card fees.
The El Paso Victims Relief Fund was established by the Paso del Norte Community Foundation to accept monetary donations to support victims and their families affected by the tragedy of Saturday, August 3, 2019.
El Paso Community Assistance Fund was established to rebuild the resources and capacity of local partners offering services including crisis counseling, emergency food and shelter, disaster response, and other needs as they arise.
CEA Survivors en Acción Scholarship Fund was establish as a scholarship fund for the minor children of victims who lost their lives, with special emphasis on children who lost both parents by this senseless tragedy.