In the wake of Gabby Petito’s untimely passing this past August, her parents and stepparents are actively turning the tragedy into a wide-scale, community-based support effort to help domestic violence victims through the newly established Gabby Petito Foundation. Her family is also extremely humbled by the support shown to them thus far.
The Mission Of Gabby Petito Foundation
Gabby’s story is the impetus for the foundation’s mission.
The beginning of the mission statement reads:
“Gabby went missing while on a cross-country road trip that included visits to many of our national parks. After an intensive search it was discovered that Gabby’s life was tragically cut short. We wish to turn our personal tragedy into a positive. It is our hope that Gabby’s foundation will bring these important issues into the forefront of the public eye to the benefit of all our communities.”
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Her parents Joseph Petito and Nichole Schmidt, as well as stepparents Tara Petito and James Schmidt, immediately mobilized the foundation efforts and are all board members for the future 501(c)(3) nonprofit.
The foundation was formed in late September and partners with organizations that focus on finding missing persons. The foundation also provides resources to organizations that help domestic abuse victims – with a focus on education, awareness, and prevention.
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They know Petito’s story happens on a much larger scale, and they want to prevent this from happening to others.
Global supporters have shown that this mission hits home for them, too.
Gabby Petito Foundation Starts Off Strong
The foundation has raised thousands of dollars so far through a concert fundraiser in Patchogue, New York, and the organization is also selling “Justice for Gabby” bracelets and collecting donations on its website.
People who attended a memorial for the 22-year-old at North Port City Hall created artwork in her honor, which is shared periodically on the foundation’s Instagram account.
One piece of artwork displayed on the Instagram account shows a heart with “Let It Be” written on it – a nod to Petito’s favorite song by The Beatles. The heart also says, “She touched the world.”
Petito’s Family Is Grateful For Support
The foundation took to Twitter this past weekend to share a deep appreciation for the support shown so far.
A foundation tweet read: “I just want to reiterate how grateful we are for all the love and support. Every card, letter, kind message, all of it, means the world to us. Together we can fight for change, our promise is, we won’t stop!”
I just want to reiterate how grateful we are for all the love and support. Every card, letter, kind messages, all of it, means the world to us. Together we can fight for change, our promise is, we won’t stop! #gabbypetitofoundation #gabbypetito #justiceforgabby
— Gabby Petito Foundation (@gabbsfoundation) October 30, 2021
These tweets have garnered significant support from followers from all over the world. Many “Justice for Gabby” comments – along with people pouring their hearts out through personal testimonies of their own domestic violence stories – were the response. People also asked how they can volunteer for the foundation on the post.
Many followers responded with butterfly emojis, too, the symbol of growth and change domestic abuse survivors go through.
One follower responded: “Gabby was the catalyst for all the attention and push forward to root out abusers and to find the missing. There was definitely something special about her to touch so many. She has her Golden wings now and she’s on a mission.”
The foundation retweeted a post from Petito’s father of him sharing his personal gratitude for the community’s embrace, as well.
He wrote: “Thank you for all the amazing support. The GabbyPetitoFoundation.org has amazing things coming. We will make a difference. Changes are coming, tell us your stories, share your safe plans if you can.”
Thank you for all the amazing support. The https://t.co/oCYyFHWz9W has amazing things coming. We will make a difference. Changes are coming, tell us your stories, share your safe plans if you can. #gabbypetito #justiceforgabby @Jim_Schmidt416 @TaraPetito @Nikischmidt927
— joseph petito (@josephpetito) October 8, 2021