The plan to build a memorial for the Jan. 8, 2011, mass shooting in Tucson received a boost Monday with the announcement of a commitment to match $1 million in donations.
The largest commitment came from Raytheon Missile Systems and the Kautz Family Foundation, said Crystal Kasnoff, executive director of Tucson’s January 8th Memorial.
The commitment to match funds also came from Tucson Foundations, the Connie Hillman Foundation, real estate investor Michael Kasser, Sundt Construction, attorney Mark Rubin and the memorial foundation’s board members, Kasnoff told about 60 people at the Pima County administration building.
The memorial is planned for El Presidio Park next to the historic courthouse. It is designed to commemorate the six people who were killed and 19 who were wounded in the mass shooting during a meet-and-greet hosted by then-U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords at a grocery store on Tucson’s northwest side.
The estimated cost of the project is $4.5 million; organizers had raised $2 million prior to Monday’s announcement. If future donations reach $1 million, which would be matched, then the project will have $500,000 left to raise, Kasnoff said.
Former U.S. Rep. Ron Barber, who was wounded in the shooting and sits on the board of the memorial foundation, said the memorial would be built next year.
Barber asked the crowd for a moment of silence for the victims of last week’s Las Vegas shooting in which 58 people were killed and some 500 were wounded.
Barber praised officials from Pima County and the city of Tucson, several of whom attended Monday’s announcement, for their support of the project. He said he hoped the memorial would educate young people on the importance of personal access to elected officials.
Jon Kasle, spokesman for Raytheon, said the memorial will be a “reminder of tolerance and civil discourse” and encouraged the business community to support it.