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.
As of March 3, 2017, $534k has been disbursed from the #OaklandFire Fund. We have posted more detailed process information to our website here: http://grayarea.org/initiative/fire-relief-fund/Including an FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) section and Timeline with details on topics including how allocations have been made, and what informed our decisions on which claims are eligible. The FAQ will be updated regularly as needed.
Nearly all of those requesting assistance who fell into the Relief category have been served, with the most outstanding claims falling into the more complicated Recovery Family Tree category. We will continue to address these claims urgently.
We know this is a challenging time, but you still may have an opportunity to get assistance from Gray Area. We want to remind you that the deadline to submit a claim for assistance is Tuesday, March 7, 2017 at 5PM PST. We urge those who might qualify for aid from the Family Tree category (biological family, significant others, artistic and/or business partners, and roommates) of deceased victims to complete this form. The form can be found here through the deadline: http://grayarea.org/initiative/fire-relief-fund/
Program administrators are available during regular weekday business hours to answer questions for claimants over email or phone. You can always reach us at [email protected].
Previous messages below
As of February 13, $402k has been disbursed from the #OaklandFire Fund, with more being processed every day. We are continuing to be responsive online and offline with families coming in to visit us at Gray Area.
The development of the Family Tree category is nuanced and requires a unique approach, there are hundreds of cases that may fall into this category. Two working groups have been established to resolve the issues presented by this category- ‘Family Tree and Pro-Bono Services Workgroups.’ The goal is to improve the efficiency of distributions. The first, Family Tree Workgroup is comprised of east-bay artists who were also involved in acquiring funds from like beneficiaries related to the youcaring campaign. The second, entitled the Pro-Bono Services Workgroup is uniquely situated to vet and allocate in-kind resources.
Provided the generous donations of our beneficiaries, Gray Area endeavors to enhance its efficiency. Accordingly, we have brought on two project managers to optimize the delivery of funds, it is our resolute goal to be transparent and to provide the affected community and other interested parties with appropriate information. We encourage, relevant inquiries that facilitate the goals of the affected. If you have interest in volunteering in a Workgroup or have feedback please complete a ‘Get Involved’ form here. You can always reach us at [email protected]
Gray Area is an Arts organization with six paid staff, since the the Fund grew, our Executive Director, Staff, Board of Directors and Committee have been volunteering to serve those affected while also maintaining our existing programs. Gray Area was connected to many victims in the fire as contractors for the organization and has staff that almost attended the event. Year-round, Gray Area educates the public on digital tools for artwork creation, produces media arts events at The Grand Theater, develops artistic projects and fiscally-sponsors many funds under its Incubator. Learn more at grayarea.org
The below message is an update as of February 5th, 2017 , please read all information below:
We wanted to post an update to provide more frequent communication. Immediately after our last update, the first wave of checks have been mailed, picked up, or delivered to the families in our fund’s Relief Allocations. We have already disbursed over $220k to date. More checks will be issued quickly as we work closely with families to collect documentation. We have been humbled to serve so many families already with this aid.
As of February 5th, no applicants have been issued a denial. We are in the midst of processing our claims and, in reviewing our criteria, are discerning how to prioritize distribution to those in the Survivors and Family Tree categories. We have already held hundreds of phone calls with claimants and are setting up more currently.
To our knowledge, we do not know of another organization that has done family tree allocations on this scale. We listened to stories and created this category based on knowing there is a complex chain of family (whether that means biological family or chosen family) and we are doing our best to respect and thoroughly understand that chain.
The immediacy of people’s need is not lost on us and we are processing claims as quickly as we can.
You can always reach us at [email protected]
The below message is an update as of Wednesday, January 25th, 2017 , please read all information below:
Thank you for everyone's patience and understanding. We are working as quickly as we can and we realize we have not been able to communicate regularly because of a lot of backend work. However we have taken a big first step towards allocations and for the first phase of disbursements!
Here is a snippet of our Jan 25 Press Release-
"The first phase of allocations for theGray Area Foundation for the Arts’ Fund—set up as an immediate response to the Ghostship tragedy—have been reviewed by a research committee and program managers and approved by the Gray Area Board of Directors. As of January 25, 2017, 136 intake forms have been qualified. Documentation will be requested, and funds will be dispersed immediately upon receipt of qualification documentation.
To fully allocate the second phase of funds, Gray Area still needs those who may qualify to submit the required intake form. The form has been available since December 7, 2016, via the foundation’s site athttp://grayarea.org/initiative/fire-relief-fund/. The deadline to complete an intake form has been established as March 7, 2017 (90 days from the publishing date).
From now through the deadline, intake forms are continuously vetted by the fund’s program managers, and the vetted claimants will be asked to provide additional documentation so their allocation can be processed as quickly as possible. Of the 400+ forms already received, many have been counterfeit and have slowed down the process immensely.
Gray Area received the officially vetted list of victims and their contact information 30 days after the fire, on January 2, and a discussion with the Red Cross took place on January 10. Upon receiving that critical information, we were able to ensure our data are cross-checked with official documents and responsible agencies, such as the City of Oakland and the Red Cross. Dependent on information from these agencies, Gray Area’s formal plans were delayed over a month, as key documents needed to cross reference claims were not made available during this period. Now that these documents are in hand, the allocations will begin........"
You can find a press release with more details HERE and an FAQ will be coming later this week.
The below message is an update as of Friday, December 23rd, 2016, please read all information below:
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/
The 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