Christina Grimmie lived to make others happy.
The embodiment of kindheartedness, Grimmie’s ability to make strangers feel like family was amplified as her singing career grew.
“She was my best friend,” her brother, Marcus Grimmie, told InsideEdition.com. “She was the hardest worker. She had an amazing voice. She was a friend to everyone… she was all-around a selfless human being.”
And though nearly two years have passed since her life was cut short, the entertainer’s legacy and spirit live on and continue to grow with the expansion of the Christina Grimmie Foundation.
Founded by Grimmie’s family in their beloved daughter and sister’s name, the foundation provides financial and emotional support, as well as encouragement, to persons and families suffering from the effects of gun violence.
It also supports families fighting breast cancer.
“It was a no-brainer,” Marcus Grimmie said of creating the foundation. “Christina was raised in the Christian faith. Christina was kindness and compassion wherever she went. That was the person she was.”
The Foundation is committed to providing the same level of support and love that Grimmie’s family received in the wake of Christina’s death.
Born and raised in New Jersey, Grimmie was a social media darling who first gained attention on YouTube for her voice and her skilled renditions of hits, including Miley Cyrus’s “Party in the U.S.A.” and Nelly’s “Just a Dream.”
She went on to compete on NBC’s The Voice, where she was taken under Adam Levine’s wing and finished in third place.
Grimmie was 22 years old when she was shot and killed while signing autographs for fans during a meet-and-greet that followed an Orlando, Fla., concert on June 10, 2016. She would have turned 24 on Monday.
“I know Christina was one of the hardest workers I knew… She inspires me to constantly be working hard,” her brother said. “This foundation is a great outlet to keep her name alive and help hundreds, thousands, millions of families one day.”
The foundation celebrated its launch in south Jersey Saturday, when friends, family and fans of Grimmie gathered together to celebrate her life and legacy.
“It was an amazing homecoming,” her brother said. “The amount of support that came out, it’s unbelievable.”
Grimmie’s family received a standing ovation, as did several guests personally affected by gun violence, including Lisa Fine, a survivor of the mass shooting at the Route 91 Harvest Festival in Las Vegas, and Thomas Holgate, a junior at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., who survived last month’s shooting that saw 17 lives cut short.
“We know there are people every day feeling the way we felt that day, and you can’t take that away but you can try and soften the blow and pick them up just like we were helped,” Marcus Grimmie said.
After Grimmie’s death, her Voice coach Adam Levine stepped in to pay for her funeral. Other fans came together to show their support, including countless donors who contributed to a GoFundMe campaign created in Grimmie’s name, eventually raising more than $160,000.
Others need the kind of support the Grimmie family received, and the foundation is dedicated to filling that void, Marcus Grimmie said.
“Not enough people are stepping up to help those families and I think that’s where our foundation is really going to come through and we are linking with other foundations,” he said. “Being there for these people gives me solace… at the same time, it reignites the anger and sadness.”
Marcus Grimmie is tragically positioned to uniquely understand what the loved ones of victims are going through.
“The first year I was really strong,” he said, addressing the commonly held belief that that is the hardest period to get through. “I am learning to be more humble about it. I miss her. There is not a day that goes by that I don’t think about her.”
He has learned everyone’s path after suffering such a devastating loss will be different, he said, and is still figuring out his own.
“I’d like to take care of my family, and I got to throw myself in there, because Christina would have wanted me to,” he said.