Donors Pledge $1 Million Match for January 8th Memorial

Mary Minor Davis –

Tucson’s January 8th Memorial is one step closer to reality, thanks to the efforts of several donors who announced they will match $1 million in donations to construct the memorial.

Crystal Kasnoff, executive director of the nonprofit group spearheading the project, said the match would put them just $500,000 short of the estimated cost of the project. The organization already has raised $2 million.

“It’s taken a lot of commitment and time to reach this point,” Kasnoff said. “When the state legislature made the decision not to set aside funds for this memorial, everyone thought the project was dead. Just the opposite has happened.”

Kasnoff said the community has been coming together and lifting up the project – much like what was seen on the lawn of then-University Medical Center after the shooting Jan. 8, 2011, which killed six and wounded 13.

By the end of November, 2017, the campaign had reached more than half its goal. The largest donors include Raytheon Missile Systems, the Kautz Family Foundation, Jim and Vicki Click, the Click Family Foundation,  Tucson Medical Center, Banner Health Employees, Shirley Estes,  Renee Morton, Pam Grissom,Tucson Foundations, real estate investor Michael Kasser, the Connie Hillman Family Foundation, Sundt Construction, attorney Mark Rubin and January 8th Memorial Foundation board members. Tohono O’odham Nation also has committed a $21,000 grant.

“The foundation would like to thank our campaign co-chairs – former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and Jim Click – for their dedication and efforts to see the memorial to completion. The efforts of Gabby and Jim reflect their giving spirits and love for our community,” Kasnoff said.

Click recently wrote in the Tucson’s January 8th Memorial newsletter, “We all remember that day, whether you were here in Tucson or watching the news unfold across the country. The tragic moment that struck our community hit at the very heart of our nation’s democratic process.

“The way that this community responded in unity, by bridging the divide of politics and ideologies, was truly an inspiration to me and it’s a great honor for me to serve alongside Gabrielle Giffords as honorary co-chair of the January 8th Memorial Foundation. This permanent memorial will be an enduring symbol of the strength and resiliency of our community. It will forever stand as a tribute to the lost, an honor to the wounded, and a testament to the values of our republic for all the world to see.”

Kasnoff said two bills are currently pending in the Natural Resource Committees in the US House of Representatives and Senate that would make the memorial a National Memorial, an affiliate of the National Park Service. The bills are being lead by Congresswoman Martha McSally and Senators Jeff Flake and John McCain.

The memorial, designed by Chee Salette Architecture Office, will include symbols for the victims of mass shooting – those who died or were wounded – as well as for first responders, the history of Arizona and aspirations for the future. Kasnoff said there are other elements that honor them, including six trees planted within the memorial and another 13 that will be planted around the outer perimeter of the memorial.

There also will be memorial gardens, with three of them dedicated in themes to 9-year-old Christina Taylor-Green, Gabe Zimmerman, who was Giffords’ aide at the time, and U.S. District Court Judge John Roll. “The Butterfly Garden will honor Christina,” Kasnoff said. “Gabe was a hiking enthusiast, so the Hiking Garden is dedicated to him, and John really enjoyed hummingbirds, so that garden is in his honor.

“It’s not only going to be a beautiful memorial, it’s going to be meaningful,” Kasnoff said.

The capital campaign officially runs through Jan. 8, 2018, but Kasnoff said the foundation will continue to seek donations beyond that to support ongoing operations and maintenance of the memorial.

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