The Impact of The Zachary Project

“The Zachary Project allowed space for me to gain clarity while entangled in a battle with depression. I was able to tend to my mental health without concern about finance, which was invaluable to me in that season. Having been sponsored by a legacy that exudes empathy, and acknowledges that love is worth being offered to those among us in need of grace, changed my conversation with life. I admire the benevolence and kindness associated with the memory of Zachary, and the defense it provided to me in a challenging moment in time. Much Love!” 


This playlist (left) was put together in honor of Zachary’s birthday by someone who received support from The Zachary Project last year.
“The Zachary Project literally saved my life.  The day after Christmas I had a severe mental breakdown and needed to get emergency treatment and medication to treat it immediately in the moment as well as ongoing assessment by a psychiatrist and ongoing therapy with my therapist.  Normally I can manage all of this care financially, but at this exact moment I am experiencing a lapse in insurance due to a job change.  Therefore I literally would not have been able to access the care I needed without the Zachary Project… Having access to this fund made it possible for me to get the urgent care I needed immediately and has allowed me to restore a little bit of balance to my reality so that I can now move forward in managing my care.  I am so grateful to The Zachary Project, seriously, forever indebted.”
“The Zachary funds enabled us to pay for some late-stage treatments that eased the pain of an important member battling cancer. Power to KMK! And as he liked to say, power to the people!” 

“The cost of hearing aids was daunting enough that I waited years to start fundraising for the thousands of dollars that are not covered by my health insurance. The Zachary Project allowed me to reach the final stretch of my fundraising goal so I could move forward with scheduling a fitting for customized aids. It’s been five months of having my hearing access needs met and I couldn’t have imagined all the ways this has allowed me to fully participate and engage in the happenings around me.” 

Dear friends and supporters of The Zachary Project,

In honor of Zachary’s birthday, January 26, we at Critical Resistance wanted to uplift his legacy and share with you an update on The Zachary Project. Over the past three years, The Zachary Project has become a valued bedrock resource for Critical Resistance- Oakland and fellow CR members across the organization.

This year, people have accessed The Zachary Project to cover medical bills for cancer treatment, to help purchase hearing aids not covered by insurance, and to support someone during a severe mental health crisis during a lapse of insurance coverage. We are grateful for the ways it has nurtured us and our community.  Being able to offer and distribute resources to our membership and community in these times is invaluable. This is extends beyond resource access and coverage during crisis, to prioritize conditions and relationships that make us healthier, more sustained and able to survive long-term.
This year, inside CR, we have worked to make the Zachary Project an easy-to-access and visible resource, so that members know how to request support and have clear expectations about the process. We have a four-person committee that receives requests and manages the fund. We are extremely grateful to help nurture and grow this project. Reciprocally, it is growing us: we are learning how to communicate with each other about what we need and how we can best support ourselves and community in crisis.  With you all, we are developing an abolitionist mutual aid model that is practical, visionary, and urgently needed.

There is currently $4,565 in the fund as we begin 2018. From 2017-2018, we distributed $1,820 for preventative and acute crisis support.

We want to extend our profound and humble gratitude to you for joining us in this venture. Together, you are helping us create a tool to sustain our most vulnerable community members navigate a world that can be extremely challenging and heartbreaking. Zachary was a pillar in Critical Resistance- Oakland as we navigated new opportunities and challenges. He was thoughtful, steady and practical, but also ready to take risks and forge new directions. In this spirit, we are forging ahead with this fund into uncharted terrain, knowing the need is present and the possibilities are ever promising. Three years after his passing, we are better for having The Zachary Project in our hands.
We hope you join us today by celebrating Zachary’s life and contributions. We invite you to give back to this fund and help it steady our community in times of hardship and crisis. Thank you for everything you have given and all you do.

Onward, together. ¡Zachary, Presente!

The Zachary Project Committee
Charlene Khoo, Jay Donahue, Jess Heaney, and Woods Ervin


The Zachary Project is maintained through individual grassroots donations and family gifts. We invite you to help us sustain and grow this abolitionist mutual aid resource.


You can make a gift online here.  Under Program Designation, make sure to select “The Zachary Project.”
You may send a check (payable to Critical Resistance) to:

The Zachary Project, c/o Critical Resistance
1904 Franklin St, Ste 504
Oakland, CA 94612 

If you have questions about The Zachary Project call 510-444-0484 or email



This morning, January 26th, I awakened with a quickening in my belly and a sadness in my heart, because I would not be calling Zachary to tell him about the day he was born. While I pushed with all my might and Paul prepared to deliver his son, the doctor calmly repeated, “Good job, good job.” 

As I stand humbly before the void of loss, I search the morning sky for a star or a cloud or bright sunshine — something to remind me that my beloved son and I still share the same universe. As Zachary’s brother, Isaac, recently shared with me, it is not possible to fill the gaping hole in my heart, but rather to treat it as a well, to build up its edges, and draw sustenance from it. 

I am so grateful that The Zachary Project invites us to shore up the edges of our common well and touch the lives of those drawing sustenance from this endeavor. “Good job, Zachary. Good job.”

– Margaret Ontiveros, Zachary’s mother

Zachary at Dreaming Wildly, Fighting to Win 2013