caption freeform

City Announces Gift from Jon and Mindy Gray to Support a Permanent Place of Remembrance

City of Highland Park Announces Gift from Jon and Mindy Gray to Support a Permanent Place of Remembrance
$1 million gift is the first private support for the effort
Additional details on planning and donation opportunities available at

February 27, 2024 – The City of Highland Park (City) today announced a $1 million gift from Jon and Mindy Gray to support the construction of a permanent place of remembrance that will pay tribute to the memory of the seven victims of the Highland Park shooting. The support from the Grays represents the first private contribution to this trauma-informed undertaking to provide space(s) for reflection and remembrance of all who were impacted by the shooting and honor the community’s resiliency.

Jon Gray, President & Chief Operating Officer of Blackstone, a leading global investment firm, is a Highland Park native. This gift is in addition to initial support provided by the Grays to the Highland Park Community Foundation for immediate relief efforts in July 2022.

“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,” said Mayor Nancy Rotering. “Dozens were injured, with many still working to physically recover from devastating and complex wounds, eighteen months later. Nearly 5,000 people participating in the parade or sitting along the parade route continue to grapple with the emotional and mental toll of gun violence. 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.”

Jon and Mindy Gray joined Mayor Rotering and City Manager Ghida Neukirch in visiting the temporary memorial, located in the Rose Garden adjacent to City Hall, to remember those whose lives were taken in the shooting.

Jon Gray stated, "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. 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 City began the planning process for a permanent place of remembrance in fall 2023, when the City Council established a core working group to conduct research, solicit community feedback, and provide advisory recommendations to the City Council. The working group is composed of Mayor Nancy Rotering, Councilmember Anthony Blumberg, City Manager Ghida Neukirch, Resiliency Manager Madeline Kati, Park District of Highland Park Executive Director Brian Romes, and Josselyn Community Engagement Manager Gaby Valverde Strobehn. Support is also provided by Assistant City Manager Emily Taub, Communications Manager Amanda Bennett, and other staff and community partners as needed. All meetings of the working group are open to the public.

The City encourages interested individuals to visit to learn more about the planning process and to sign up for project-specific updates, including opportunities for public input. The City’s goal is to maximize the inclusion of different perspectives by providing community members with multiple opportunities and formats through which to share their points of view. Next-of-kin family members, individuals who were injured, and individuals who were present and uninjured and registered with the City will continue to receive specific communication from the City’s Resiliency Division.

The City will continue to maintain the temporary memorial at the Rose Garden adjacent to City Hall (1707 St. Johns Ave.) until a permanent place of remembrance is established. The temporary memorial includes seven plaques designed in partnership with family members. An ADA-accessible, all-seasons walkway extends from the sidewalk along St. Johns Avenue to the Garden. In addition, two plaques remembering those whose lives were taken are located at the southwest corner of St. Johns and Central Avenues.

More information, including an online giving portal for those who would like to make a financial contribution to a permanent place of remembrance, is available at