Fundraising campaigns launched for Monterey Park victims. Here’s how you can help

A group of people forming a prayer circle in the street
A prayer circle forms at the corner of Garvey and Garfield avenues near Star Ballroom Dance Studio where 11 people were fatally shot and 10 injured Saturday night.
(Myung J. Chun / Los Angeles Times)

A GoFundMe campaign has raised more than $879,000 of its $1-million goal for victims of the Monterey Park shooting and their families after a gunman opened fire inside Star Ballroom Dance Studio on Saturday night, killing at least 11 people and injuring several others.

Asian Americans Advancing Justice Southern California — a legal aid and civil rights organization supporting Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders — launched the Monterey Park Lunar New Year Victims Fund on Sunday for those directly affected by the tragedy. Separate memorial funds have also been launched for individual victims; links to their GoFundMe campaigns can be found at the bottom of this story.

Asian Americans Advancing Justice Southern California created the Monterey Park Lunar New Year Victims Fund in collaboration with several other organizations supporting the Asian American Pacific Islander community, including Stop AAPI Hate, the Asian Pacific Community Fund, the Asian American Foundation, Stand With Asian Americans, the AAPI Equity Alliance, the Chinatown Service Center and Gold House.


Gold House, a media and entertainment nonprofit that promotes Asian and Pacific Islanders representation, confirmed Sunday in a statement that a Gold House employee’s family member “is among the victims” of the attack.

“At least 10 individuals killed and many more seriously injured in a shooting spree that occurred just blocks away from a joyous New Year festival where thousands of people gathered,” the campaign description reads.

“Our hearts go out to the victims of this horrific tragedy. All proceeds contributed to the fund will go to the many individuals who are now suffering from this senseless violence.”

Connie Chung Joe, chief executive of Asian Americans Advancing Justice Southern California, anticipated that donations will help cover expenses such as funeral costs, airfare to transport loved ones to memorial services, medical bills and equipment, potential lost wages and counseling services.

However, the organization is hopeful that local counseling agencies serving the Asian American Pacific Islander community will waive fees for those affected by the shooting.

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“There are folks who, immediately when they heard about this tragedy on Sunday morning, they started ... asking, ‘Where do we donate to?’” Chung Joe told The Times on Monday.


“There was an immediate demand for it, and we’ve learned that time is of the essence in these situations. ... No fees, no nothing is going to be kept by any of the organizations ourselves. All the money donated goes to the victims, but we still need to work out the details.”

In addition to co-organizing the Monterey Park Lunar New Year Victims Fund, the AAPI Equity Alliance has released a resource directory for Monterey Park victims and community members. The guide contains information about numerous local, state and national resources, such as the Asian Pacific Counseling and Treatment Centers, the Asian Mental Health Collective and Asian Americans Advancing Justice. You can access the resource directory here.

“Regardless of what the shooter’s intent was ... people were fearing the worst — that this was another case of anti-Asian hate, another Atlanta massacre,” Chung Joe told The Times.

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“There’s been a lot of trauma and fear and anxiety in the community, and so we wanted the community to know that — if they need mental health services or they want to talk to somebody or they need other support, and they need to know how to navigate resources — these are the organizations, these are the services that are out there.”

Because the shooting occurred in a city that is 65% Asian American, Chung Joe emphasized the value of local organizations and resources that can better attend to survivors’ and community members’ specific needs. The first 10 victims were all in their 50s, 60s or 70s, according to the L.A. County coroner.

“These are Chinese immigrants who are seniors and who are limited English proficient, and so ... what happens with immigrant communities — and especially seniors who are limited English proficient — they [rely on] a system that’s a little bit separate from mainstream government and service organizations,” Chung Joe said.


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“You have all of these folks in the government side ... and everyone who wants to help these victims, but there is a bit of a disconnect if you don’t speak the language, and you’re not part of the community, and you’re not trusted as an insider. It can be difficult to provide support because they don’t know you, they’re not comfortable with you. And those language and cultural barriers can be very difficult. ... A lot of us community-based organizations who work with Asian American communities know that that happens a lot.”

Beyond donating to the fundraising campaigns and sharing the resource directory, Chung Joe said, allies can help the Monterey Park community and the larger Asian American Pacific Islander community at this time by showing “their support and solidarity.”

She also encouraged Monterey Park community members to call Asian Americans Advancing Justice’s Cantonese and Mandarin help line at (800) 520-2356 for legal support.

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“Even though this might not be an an incident of anti-Asian hate or a hate crime, it still feels very triggering for our community after everything that’s been happening during the pandemic,” Chung Joe said.

“When folks come to us and express their support and allyship and solidarity the way they did after Atlanta ... that still is meaningful. It is an emotional lift for a lot of us.”

Below are links to separate memorial funds launched for individual victims.

Valentino Marcos Alvero

The Valentino Marcos Alvero fund has raised more than $15,000 of its $50,000 goal. Alvero, 68, was a son, brother, father and grandfather who died in the shooting at Star Ballroom Dance Studio. In a statement, Alvero’s family said he “loved people and hearing about their lives and, in return ... shared his own stories with so much gusto and enthusiasm that you couldn’t help but listen and laugh along with him.”


“We want to honor his memory the way he would want, with a big funeral Mass and party,” the GoFundMe campaign organized by his child reads. “Your support is so appreciated! Thank you!”

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Yu-Lun Kao

The Yu Kao Andy Funeral fund has raised more than $9,300 of its $25,000 goal. Kao, a 72-year-old contractor known as Andy Kao, was dancing at the Star studio with his dance partner of 15 years — a woman named Shally — before he was killed in the massacre.

Written by Shally’s husband, the description for the memorial fund states that Kao protected his dance partner by “taking the bullet for her.”

“We are currently heartbroken and mourning the loss of our wonderful friend,” the description reads. “One day he’s here, the next day he isn’t. We kindly ask that the community for any help that we may bury him in peace. All the money raised will be used for his funeral. We appreciate every amount of support and generosity. This goes out to all the victims of this tragedy.”

The GoFundMe campaign describes Kao as “a kindhearted friend” who was dubbed “Mr. Nice” by the local dance community because “he would welcome newcomers with open arms and teach them the basics.”

“Yu Kao was a free spirit, made people laugh, and loved to dance even if it was only him on the dance floor,” the description reads. “We were close friends and treated each other as family. He was like a brother to me. We frequently shared meals together as a family while sharing funny stories. He was always there to lend an ear to and to put a smile on our faces. He will truly be missed.”


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Ming Wei Ma

The Ming Wei Ma Funeral Fund is no longer accepting donations after surpassing its $30,000 goal in fewer than 24 hours and raising more than $45,000. Ma, 72, was a beloved longtime student of Star Ballroom Dance Studio who died in the shooting. Dariusz Michalski, an instructor at the dance studio, told the Los Angeles Times that Ma helped manage the studio and was known fondly by all as Mr. Ma.

“He ... built a community that dearly loved and respected him for his kindness and liveliness,” the campaign description reads.

The campaign organizer posted an update: “Thank you to everyone that donated and shared the link! I’m excited to share that we’ve surpassed our goal thanks to each and one of you guys! I have turned off the donations. All the support is well appreciated and we cannot thank you enough on behalf of the Ma family! Please look up Monterey Park on gofundme for other fundraisers to support others.”

Mymy Nhan

The Mymy Nhan Funeral Fund has raised more than $37,000 and surpassed its $25,000 goal in about two days. Nhan, who loved ballroom dancing and spent weekends taking classes at the Star studio, was the first to be killed in the massacre. One of Nhan’s longtime instructors, Maksym Kapitanchuk, told The Times she was “the light of the class and the light of the studio.”

“We start the new year broken, learning about the death of Mymy Nhan. ... Mymy loved dancing at Star Ballroom Dance Studio for more than a decade. It was a weekend routine, and we never expected Saturday to be her last,” reads the description for her memorial fund, organized by her niece, Fonda Quan.

“Mymy, 65, was kind beyond words. She was a caretaker to all people around her. She was a loving aunt, sister, daughter and friend. She was our biggest cheerleader. The money raised here will be used for Mymy’s funeral. Thank you for your thoughts and prayers. We truly appreciate the support of our neighbors and community.”


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Diana Tom

The In Memory of Diana Tom fund has raised more than $16,200 of its $20,000 goal. Tom, 70, was at the Star studio dancing with friends to celebrate the Lunar New Year before she was wounded in the attack. She later died of her injuries at the hospital.

“On behalf of Diana Tom, we, her family, condemn this senseless act of violence that has uprooted the lives of all the victims, their families and the entire API community at large. We honor and support all of those affected,” the GoFundMe description reads.

“Diana was a hard-working mother, wife and grandmother who loved to dance. ... To those who knew her, she was someone who always went out of her way to give to others. Please consider donating directly to the Toms to support immediate medical, funeral, family care, and legal needs.”

Xiujuan Yu

The Xiujuan Yu Funeral Fund has raised more than $33,900 and surpassed its $30,000 goal in about two days. Yu, 57, was among the people who died in the shooting.

“What was meant to be a night out celebrating the Lunar New Year with friends ended up being a devastating and life-changing event for my family,” Yu’s niece, Kathleen Fong, wrote in the memorial fund description.

“After days of uncertainty, anxiety, and waiting in worry, we received the news that my aunt was indeed among the deceased at the incident. This sudden tragedy has struck my family, and despite our best attempts to mourn for her, we graciously ask the community for help in raising funds for her funeral at this time.”


Times staff writers Alexandra E. Petri, Summer Lin, Jonah Valdez, Rebecca Ellis, Brittny Mejia, Marisa Gerber, Hayley Smith, Julia Wick, Jeong Park, Noah Goldberg, Nathan Solis and Grace Toohey contributed to this report.