Arizona's leading education organizations today launched a long-term, statewide, community-giving effort aimed at providing the financial assistance necessary to meet the full-range of education needs of the children and families of the 19 hotshot crew members who died fighting the Yarnell Hill wildfire. The Prescott Granite Mountain Hotshots Memorial Education Fund will provide the 13 children, three unborn children, and the spouses and fiancées of the crew members all reasonable assistance with education-related expenses throughout the children’s school-age years. The goal is to raise $5 million.
A fund has been established with Wells Fargo and the public is invited to make tax-deductible donations at any Wells Fargo branch using account number 8008516158. In addition, checks to the Prescott Granite Mountain Hotshots Memorial Education Fund, with account number 8008516158 noted in the memo line, may also be sent to the fund’s fiscal agent, the Arizona School Boards Association, at 2100 N. Central Ave., Ste, 200, Phoenix, AZ 85004, for deposit into the account.
Assistance to families, which will be provided until the youngest of the children turns 22, could include funds for early childhood education opportunities like preschool, K-12 needs such as school clothes and supplies, activity fees for extracurricular activities, and college admissions testing, and post-secondary needs such as college textbooks and tuition, or vocational training programs.
“This fund was established to provide a way for all Arizonans, and compassionate people everywhere, to honor the brave men who were lost and stand by the families of the Yarnell 19 over time as they lay educational foundations for the future,” said Tim Carter, Yavapai County Superintendent of Schools, who has worked as liaison between the statewide organizations spearheading the effort and Prescott-area groups, including the family services branch of the local firefighters’ union.
The groups pledging their assistance to help build the fund and support the families over time through regional, state and national efforts are the Arizona School Boards Association, Arizona Association of School Business Officials, Arizona School Administrators, Arizona Education Association, Arizona Association of County School Superintendents and Yavapai College Foundation.
“Nothing can replace what these families have lost, but we can build awareness for their needs, and leverage our state and national networks to support them as they move forward - growing, learning, and pursuing successful and fulfilling futures in the ways education makes possible,” said Dr. Tim Ogle, executive director of the Arizona School Boards Association.
A 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, ASBA’s services as fiscal agent for the Prescott Granite Mountain Hotshots Memorial Education Fund will be provided pro bono.
In addition to the comprehensive Prescott Granite Mountain Hotshots Memorial Education Fund, a complementary scholarship endowment fund for the children of the Granite Mountain Hotshots and other fallen firefighters was recently established by the Arizona Community Foundation and the Yavapai County Community Foundation.