SANTA CRUZ -- On the third anniversary of the shooting that injured former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords and killed Gabriel Zimmerman and five others, organizers for Zimmerman's memorial UC Santa Cruz scholarship are making a wider appeal for support.
Zimmerman, a 2002 UC Santa Cruz graduate and congressional aide to Giffords, had a $2,500 endowed scholarship named in his honor. The scholarship is awarded to UCSC social sciences undergraduates demonstrating a commitment to public service.
In an effort to reach more students and award more funding, organizers unveiled a crowdsourcing website and video Tuesday.
"We've seen two amazing college students obtain the scholarship in the first few years, and we want to do anything we can to make sure it keeps going," said Jonathan Klein, a UCSC alum and co-founder of the scholarship.
The website has already raised nearly $3,000 toward its $10,000 goal, which it hopes to reach by Feb. 6.
Klein said he didn't know Zimmerman, who was shot at a Giffords constituent meeting in a supermarket parking lot, but was moved by his commitment to public service.
"He was out there doing what those people do, meeting people in parking lots, spreading the word about government programs, all the myriad of things, all for not a lot of income," Klein said.
By supporting the scholarship students, donors ensure Zimmerman's efforts don't end with his death, and encourage students to stay the course toward public service careers.
Yethzell Diaz, a 2012 UCSC graduate who helped organize a Watsonville school parent computer lab as a student, was the inaugural scholarship recipient. Diaz said beyond the money, the scholarship had a symbolic significance, since it came at a time when the social sciences were losing funding in the UC system.
"The Gabriel Zimmerman scholarship became a symbol of acknowledging the powerful role that public service has and could have in changing our communities," Diaz said.
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