Oakland Fire Fund
Relief, Recovery, and Resiliency

Through April 14, 2017, Gray Area was collecting donations to provide support to those affected by the tragic fire that took 36 lives in Oakland on December 2, 2016. Moving forward, donations to the Oakland Fire Fund are only being accepted to support programs designed for long-term impact and community security in the wake of the tragedy. For more information on how to donate, request or offer assistance, and why we created this initiative, please continue reading below.


Please use the button below to donate to the Oakland Fire Fund Resiliency project. Note that any funds collected after April 14, 2017 will be used to support resiliency programs designed for long-term impact and Bay Area community security. You may also send a check directly to Gray Area, though you must use this template to allocate your donation to the Oakland Fire Fund Resiliency project. You can still donate directly to Peaches, who was critically injured but survived the fire.

Background & Timeline

On Friday, December 2, 2016 at approximately 11:30 pm, a tragic fire took 36 lives at 1305 31st Ave, Oakland, CA, 94601. The fire broke out while an event was taking place in the unpermitted live-work space known as the Ghost Ship, a warehouse occupied by several artists. Those who died were performers, attendees, and one tenant.

Gray Area Foundation for the Arts is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit founded by Josette Melchor, located in San Francisco, that has been involved in the greater Bay Area artist community for the last 10 years. In its previous incarnation, Gray Area itself was established and operated out of warehouses and alternative spaces. Further, those at Gray Area have deep, personal connections to many of the victims and the community impacted by the loss of life. In unhesitating response, the scale of the tragedy still unknown, Gray Area launched a fundraising campaign on YouCaring.com on Saturday, December 3, at approximately 10:00 am, to aid those affected.

Since the fire, Gray Area’s Executive Director and staff have donated their time to encourage contributions and ensure that the fund is distributed fairly and with compassion. In the days and weeks after December 2, 2016, those at Gray Area navigated an unexpected amount of attention and the brand new administrative needs of the fund management, as a more detailed picture of the tragedy and its impact came to light.

Critical information, such as the verified identities of the deceased individuals and displaced residents, was withheld by the City of Oakland, delaying Gray Area’s formal plans over a month. The Red Cross, who is accustomed to such work, began disbursements of the Oakland A’s relief fund on December 12, 2016, but key documents were not made available to Gray Area until January 2, a full 30 days after the fire. A system for collaboration with both traditional aid and grassroots organizations was — and continues to be — developed, and we selected appropriate staff and tools, began outreach to the affected, and continued to raise funds. Board approval (a necessary step for this non-profit organization) for the final round of disbursements came on April 10, 2017. Program managers expect to complete distribution of funds by the end of April 2017. Review a detailed timeline of events by clicking below.

Frequently Asked Questions

Having received many inquiries from a variety of sources, we hope the information provided here will address any confusion or curiosity about the Gray Area Foundation for the Arts’ Oakland Fire Relief, Recovery, and Resiliency Fund. This page will continue to be updated as needed.


Dedicated Oakland Fire Relief Fund Contact


Please do not call or email Gray Area's direct lines.