Fire Relief, Recovery, and Resiliency Fund for Oakland Fire

For: Oakland Fire Relief Fund
Oakland, CA
Organizer: Gray Area Foundation for the Arts
$886,388
of $900,000 goal.
Raised by 11776 donors
98% Complete
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The Story

Gray Area Foundation for the Arts is a non-profit 501(c)3 organization tax-id 26-3383316. Your donations to this campaign are tax-deductible to the fullest extent allowed by law. This message is an update as of Friday, December 23rd, 2016 please read all information below and on our web page:

Thank you everyone for your incredible support and ongoing efforts. The growth of this fund is a testament to the impact of this tragedy, the vein that it has hit internationally, and the value of the artistic community locally. Gray Area Foundation for the Arts is honored to be your trusted representative and takes this signal with great responsibility. Our belief is that relief, recovery, and resiliency of this community is the greatest cause we can work towards into 2017. We stand with you and please keep spreading this message to ensure this never happens again. We honor the memory of those we lost as their sweet souls inspire the next generation to care for one another in a bigger capacity than ever before. This is a long-term project and we are committed to serving our community.


Not only are we sensitive to the impact nationwide, we are also understanding of the due diligence process required to fulfill the intent of our donors, and this takes time. As collaborators, the Red Cross and the Oakland Mayor’s Office are working in the same manner and needed their own timeline to ensure the data being passed along to us would be secure and vetted. We have just received some of the data we have needed and all along we have been accepting intake forms from our community to assess a broader need. To date, we have received over 300 requests for aid from this fund. Running the gamut from funeral expenses, grief counseling all the way to funding for safety upgrades to DIY spaces. We will soon be getting the entire set of data required from our collaborators that we have needed to do our case management work. Red Cross has been doing an amazing job of providing immediate relief to victims (next of kin) and displaced. We are going to be able to understand all that they have done and reach a broader set of issues.

We are working–over the holiday– to build this important database which will inform our distribution process. We have had so many in-kind donors of legal aid, counseling, social work, and other disaster nonprofits, and we are working with all of these people to ensure everything is done correctly and with the confidentiality and sensitivity that is required. We are cross-referencing that data with all the intake forms we have received. We have received request for aid from over 300 people, and we intend to personally address each person.

We ask for your patience through the holiday season as we are down to a few people that are burning the midnight oil for this cause. You are welcome to direct any inquiries to [email protected] and we will keep this page up to date: http://grayarea.org/initiative/fire-relief-fund/

With Love,

Gray Area



----------------------------------------------------
This below message is an update as of Wednesday, December 7th, 2016 3:16pm, please read all information below:

We remain extremely grateful for the tremendous support of our community in the face of the Oakland Fire Tragedy. As an organization, we have had to shift our operations to focus fully on fielding inquires, processing contributions, and communicating effectively -- all while grieving ourselves. Our team is giving our time, attention, and resources to serve our community in this time of need. Our last update was posted as of December 5th at 11:07AM where we had just surpassed $250,000. We have now doubled our goal as of December 7th, 2016, at 3:16pm and the contributions are not slowing down. From the bottom of all of our hearts THANK YOU.

INTAKE FORM for Affected- https://goo.gl/forms/qWsBKthGjSbgEMN33

We are receiving contact information, through the Mayor’s Office, the Coroner’s office and the Red Cross. However, since we are deeply connected to so many who are directly affected by this tragedy, we are also beginning to collect our own information about those affected for committee review.

Preventative Pro Bono Services- https://podio.com/webforms/17357191/1167041

This form is for organizations interested in offering pro bono services to those living in dangerous conditions in order to sustain their life and artistic practice. Gray Area is currently using its resources to organize direct relief for victims and families; however we feel deeply that the events surrounding Ghost Ship highlight issues around affordable housing and support for artist spaces. We are eager to organize around these issues, and are moved by the many individuals and firms already offering their services to artists who struggle to practice their work in safe conditions. Our immediate focus are those affected by the tragic fire, but we are eager to work with you and the rest of our Bay Area creative community provide important services and support.

We are collaborating closely with the Oakland Mayor’s Office, the Red Cross, and getting guidance from many local arts institutions. The immediate needs of fire victims will be our priority with the Red Cross as the first point of contact for allocation of the funds received from the Oakland Sports Teams funds. We will be second point of contact after that and are working on a system for intake. When the immediate needs of families are resolved, we are going to turn our attention to longer-term issues of safety and resilience across our creative community, and apply ourselves to ensuring that this tragedy is not repeated.

It is unfortunate that it takes a tragedy to shed light on a broader situation around the need for safe venues for artists, musicians, and creatives in the Bay Area. We will continue to increase this goal as support comes in. We want this funding to stay in the community that was impacted.

You can reach us at [email protected] Please do not call or email our direct lines. We will only respond through the [email protected] email.



----------------------------------------------------
The below message was updated as of Sunday December 5th, 2016 11:09am to help alleviate some of the inquiries we are receiving as we are also grieving.

We are working with the Oakland Mayor's Office, the Red Cross and other fundraisers to be a main fund for this effort. We will work to use the Red Cross' knowledge of the appropriate format for distribution of these funds. We are working every minute to figure this out. Please keep sharing and donating. We are a Non-Profit Organization tax ID 26-3383316.


Friday, December 2nd, at approximately 11:30 PM, a tragic fire erupted in an artist collective workspace in the Fruitvale district of Oakland. Within the space many artists and attendees of our community were present. To date, the exact number of injuries and fatalities are unconfirmed but have risen to 36 and may take weeks to resolve. Sadly, what is known is that this is a massive tragedy for the Bay Area Arts community.

Gray Area Foundation for the Arts, a non-profit that has been involved in the greater Bay Area artist community for the last 10 years, has deep and personal connections with many of the presumed victims of the tragedy. We at Gray Area feel that a relief fund is critical to the surviving victims as well as the families of those that passed. Immediately upon learning of the incident, we established this donation page under the tax deductible shelter of our 501c3 in order to collect funds to help the victims and the families of the victims.

Now surpassing $250,000 has been raised as of Monday December 5th at 11:07AM, with the assumed number of at least 40 victims, this leaves only $5,000 per victim, which is easily the cost of a few medical bills or a small memorial service. At this time we ask for your continued support in spreading the word of this fund to continue to fundraise in advocacy of the victims. We will continue to update the fundraising goal as support pours in to foster as many contributions as possible for those affected.

We are forming an oversight committee, talking with Oakland authorities, and will be sure the funds are allocated appropriately to fire victims and with due diligence. There will be public disclosure through the fund page and via Gray Area disclosing how these funds are spent, while also maintaining anonymity for the grieving friends and family members affected by this event. We are waiting on official word from authorities prior to making further decisions but our hope is to provide relief for Funeral, Medical and Health related expenses first and foremost.

We as collective community are in mourning, many people are immediately impacted by this horrific event, not only in the region, but internationally. In these times of divide, it is critical that we band together.


----------------------------------------------------
Original Message Below posted Saturday December 2nd


On Friday December 2nd, A fire broke out during a 100% Silk party at a two-story warehouse and artists' studio in Oakland, killing at least nine people and leaving about two dozen missing so far, the California city's fire chief said.

Gray Area is setting up this fund to support the fire victims to do what we can to support the Bay Area arts community as we go through this together. The fund will be held and administered by Gray Area Foundation for the Arts, as a 501c3 we can accept tax-deductible contributions for causes that support our community mission.

We are friends, employers, supporters of many who have been affected by this tragedy– we are holding safe space for all. We hope this fundraiser can provide relief for some of the victims, We will distribute the funds to all affected as soon as the full picture is released of the tragedy.

With Love-- Josette Melchor & The Gray Area Team

Fundraiser Updates

Posted on December 23, 2016

Posted on December 23, 2016

Thank you everyone for your incredible support and ongoing efforts. The growth of this fund is a testament to the impact of this tragedy, the vein that it has hit internationally, and the value of the artistic community locally. Gray Area Foundation for the Arts is honored to be your trusted representative and takes this signal with great responsibility. Not only are we sensitive to the impact, we are also understanding of the due diligence process required to fulfill the intent of our donors, and this takes time.

As collaborators, the Red Cross and the Oakland Mayor’s Office are working in the same manner and needed their own timeline to ensure the data being passed along to us would be secure and vetted. We have just received some of the data we have needed and all along we have been accepting intake forms from our community to assess a broader need. To date, we have received over 300 requests for aid from this fund. Running the gamut from funeral expenses, grief counseling all the way to funding for safety upgrades to DIY spaces. We will soon be getting the entire set of data required from our collaborators that we have needed to do our case management work. Red Cross has been doing an amazing job of providing immediate relief to victims (next of kin) and displaced. We are going to be able to understand all that they have done and reach a broader set of issues.

We are working–over the holiday– to build this important database which will inform our distribution process. We have had so many in-kind donors of legal aid, counseling, social work, and other disaster nonprofits, and we are working with all of these people to ensure everything is done correctly and with the confidentiality and sensitivity that is required. We are cross-referencing that data with all the intake forms we have received. We have received request for aid from over 300 people, and we intend to personally address each person.

We ask for your patience through the holiday season as we are down to a few people that are burning the midnight oil for this cause. You are welcome to direct any inquiries [email protected] and we will keep this page up to date: http://grayarea.org/initiative/fire-relief-fund/

Our belief is that relief, recovery, and resiliency of our community is the greatest cause we can work towards into 2017. We stand with you and please keep spreading this message to ensure this never happens again. We honor the memory of those we lost as their sweet souls inspire the next generation to care for one another in a bigger capacity than ever before.

This is a long-term project and we are committed to serving our community.

With Love,

Gray Area


Posted on December 7, 2016

Posted on December 7, 2016

Gray Area Foundation for the Arts is a non-profit organization tax-id 26-3383316. This message is an update as of Wednesday, December 7th, 2016 3:16pm, please read all information below:

We remain extremely grateful for the tremendous support of our community in the face of the Oakland Fire Tragedy. As an organization, we have had to shift our operations to focus fully on fielding inquires, processing contributions, and communicating effectively -- all while grieving ourselves. Our team is giving our time, attention, and resources to serve our community in this time of need. Our last update was posted as of December 5th at 11:07AM where we had just surpassed $250,000. We have now doubled our goal as of December 7th, 2016, at 3:16pm and the contributions are not slowing down. From the bottom of all of our hearts THANK YOU.

INTAKE FORM for Affected- https://goo.gl/forms/qWsBKthGjSbgEMN33

We are receiving contact information, through the Mayor’s Office, the Coroner’s office and the Red Cross. However, since we are deeply connected to so many who are directly affected by this tragedy, we are also beginning to collect our own information about those affected for committee review.

Preventative Pro Bono Services- https://podio.com/webforms/17357191/1167041

This form is for organizations interested in offering pro bono services to those living in dangerous conditions in order to sustain their life and artistic practice. Gray Area is currently using its resources to organize direct relief for victims and families; however we feel deeply that the events surrounding Ghost Ship highlight issues around affordable housing and support for artist spaces. We are eager to organize around these issues, and are moved by the many individuals and firms already offering their services to artists who struggle to practice their work in safe conditions. Our immediate focus are those affected by the tragic fire, but we are eager to work with you and the rest of our Bay Area creative community provide important services and support.

We are collaborating closely with the Oakland Mayor’s Office, the Red Cross, and getting guidance from many local arts institutions. The immediate needs of fire victims will be our priority with the Red Cross as the first point of contact for allocation of the funds received from the Oakland Sports Teams funds. We will be second point of contact after that and are working on a system for intake. When the immediate needs of families are resolved, we are going to turn our attention to longer-term issues of safety and resilience across our creative community, and apply ourselves to ensuring that this tragedy is not repeated.

It is unfortunate that it takes a tragedy to shed light on a broader situation around the need for safe venues for artists, musicians, and creatives in the Bay Area. We will continue to increase this goal as support comes in. We want this funding to stay in the community that was impacted.

You can reach us at [email protected]Please do not call or email our direct lines. We will only respond through the [email protected]email.


Posted on December 5, 2016

Posted on December 5, 2016

The influx of support and inquiries is astoundingly appreciated and we will continue to be a foundation to support our community. Below is an updated statement on the crowdfunding campaign page as of Sunday December 4th, 2016 9:32pm to help alleviate some of the inquiries we are receiving as we are also grieving.

Friday, December 2nd, at approximately 11:30 PM, a tragic fire erupted in an artist collective workspace in the Fruitvale district of Oakland. Within the space many artists and attendees of our community were present. To date, the exact number of injuries and fatalities are unconfirmed but have risen to 33 and may take weeks to resolve. Sadly, what is known is that this is a massive tragedy for the Bay Area Arts community.

Gray Area Foundation for the Arts, a non-profit that has been involved in the greater Bay Area artist community for the last 10 years, has deep and personal connections with many of the presumed victims of the tragedy. We at Gray Area feel that a relief fund is critical to the surviving victims as well as the families of those that passed. Immediately upon learning of the incident, we established this donation page under the tax deductible shelter of our 501c3 in order to collect funds to help the victims and the families of the victims.

Although close to $200,000 has been raised as of Sunday December 4th at 9:28PM, with the assumed number of 40 victims, this leaves only $5,000 per victim, which is easily the cost of a few medical bills or a small memorial service. At this time we ask for your continued support in spreading the word of this fund to continue to fundraise in advocacy of the victims. We will continue to update the fundraising goal as support pours in to foster as many contributions as possible for those affected.

We are forming an oversight committee, talking with Oakland authorities, and will be sure the funds are allocated appropriately to fire victims and with due diligence. There will be public disclosure through the fund page and via Gray Area disclosing how these funds are spent, while also maintaining anonymity for the grieving friends and family members affected by this event. We are waiting on official word from authorities prior to making further decisions but our hope is to provide relief for Funeral, Medical and Health related expenses first and foremost.

We as collective community are in mourning, many people are immediately impacted by this horrific event, not only in the region, but internationally. In these times of divide, it is critical that we band together.

With So Much Love,
Josette Melchor, Gray Area Team

Special thanks to Finance Manager Alona Esposito and her husband Erik Kozak for helping craft the new note and driving the formation of a committee and eventually to Alona for help with oversight of the fund.

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