Jon and Mindy Gray donate $1 million for Highland Park permanent place of remembrance

Jon and Mindy Gray have made a $1 million donation to the City of Highland Park to aid in the construction of a permanent memorial for the seven people who died in the shooting at the July 4th Parade in 2022, the city announced.

While Highland Park has provided a temporary memorial in the Rose Garden near City Hall, leaders wanted to provide a more permanent space to honor the shooting victims and demonstrate the strength of the Highland Park community.

The Grays’ donation is the first private contribution to the city’s project. The Grays also provided monetary support to the Highland Park Community Foundation for immediate relief efforts after the shooting in 2022.

Jon Gray, a Highland Park native, is the president and chief operating officer of Blackstone, a leading global investment firm.

"I grew up not far from where the devastating tragedy occurred and have cherished memories of decorating my bike to participate in the July 4th parade. We continue to mourn with the community and our hearts go out to the victims and their families,” Jon Gray said in a city press release. “Beyond providing immediate support to those impacted, my wife Mindy and I wanted to join in the City’s important effort to create a lasting place of remembrance and reflection for Highland Park.”

The planning for a permanent memorial began in the fall of 2023, when the City Council created a “core working group” to research, get community input and provide recommendations.

All meetings of the group are open to the public, and the city encourages residents to check for updates and opportunities for community engagement on

The Grays joined Mayor Nancy Rotering and City Manager Ghida Neukirch in visiting the temporary memorial to remember the shooting victims. The city will continue to operate this memorial until a permanent one is established.

“On July 4, 2022, seven lives were taken too soon by a senseless act by one person, with one combat weapon, in under one minute,” Rotering said in the release. “Dozens were injured, with many still working to physically recover from devastating and complex wounds, eighteen months later. ... Today, we are lifted by the kindness of former Highland Park resident Jon Gray and his wife Mindy. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts for this generous gift that will help us create a permanent place of remembrance, a critical part of our community’s long-term resiliency.”

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