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Family Donates Fire Reward Funds to MBEF

Aug 29, 2016 10:27AM ● Published by Jeanne Fratello

The Clinton family addresses the community at a candlelight vigil in February 2015

The Clinton family of Manhattan Beach, whose home was firebombed in a suspected racially motivated incident in early 2015, has donated the money from a reward fund to the Manhattan Beach Education Foundation (MBEF).

"Many months have passed and the perpetrator(s) are still at large. We’ve waited long enough," wrote the family in a statement to the community. "We need to put the money and the spirit with which you gave it to good use."

The reward fund had reached $35,000 in community donations; after fees paid from the fundraising site, the amount totals $33,000. The family had said early on that if the perpetrator was not found, they would donate the money to MBEF.

The funds will be used exclusively to support inclusion initiatives, such as teacher and student grants for "creative and courageous" curriculum. In order to qualify, the curriculum must inspire productive and honest dialogues about race and other distinguishing characteristics that should be celebrated, not hated.

"Our goal is to eradicate racism and discrimination in our community. Tolerance is simply not enough," said the Clinton family in its statement.

MBUSD Superintendent Mike Matthews praised the Clinton family for its commitment to inclusion. In a letter to families describing the new initiatives, he wrote, "Parents have come in my office describing ways they and their children have witnessed and felt a lack of inclusion. We also have an achievement gap in MBUSD. The test scores of African American and Hispanic students are significantly below the average for the District. This is true throughout our nation, and we have not overcome it here. All of this comes in conjunction with the national issues of our time, where race is a dominant topic. That is why our goal of inclusion is so critical. If we are truly going to be a stronger 'ohana,' characterized by a culture of inclusion, we have to be leaders in our community, and we must make certain we are doing everything we can to support all students, all families, and all employees."

Since the firebombing incident, the Clinton family says that "good things have happened."

"We have fixed up our home and are alive and well in Manhattan Beach. Our children are thriving and have learned the meaning of perseverance. And we couldn’t have done it without you," the family wrote. "As a community, you rallied for us, and we felt supported and loved. Thank you from the bottom to the top of our hearts."

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See more from DigMB: "Manhattan Beach Community Rallies Behind Family," Feb. 2015

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