The Gar & Esther Tootelian Charitable Foundation (GET) was established in 2003 to promote agricultural awareness and cultivate community involvement. GET, jointly with GAR have granted more than $2.75 Million in grants and gifts to support agricultural literacy, educational scholarships, and activities promoting the value of California Agriculture.
Notable gifts include: the Clovis Medical Center Emergency Room, the Fresno Chaffee Zoo Valley Farm, Valley PBS Valley’s Gold and Valley’s Gold Education through Agriculture, FARM Academy, FARMS Leadership, Grizzlies Farm Grown Community Fund and Immanuel Schools Building Futures Foundation.
Valley Farm at Fresno Chaffee Zoo. The Gar & Esther Tootelian Charitable Foundation sponsorship with the Fresno Chaffee Zoo began in 2015 with the idea of creating a hands-on family-friendly farm exhibit. The Fresno County Farm Bureau, Jordan College Plant Science Club, Bennett & Bennett Irrigation and Reedley 4-H helped to design and transform the small wonders petting area to a small farm with row crops, fruit trees and a variety of farm animals. The exhibit is a favorite for locals and visitors.
The Gar & Esther Tootelian Foundation is sponsoring a new PBS Series American Grown: My Job Depends on Ag. The series will air Fall 2019 to highlight all sides of Agriculture. From issued based topics on water and regulations to lighter topics on how food is grown, American Grown: MJDOA focuses on the different ways AG touches everyone beyond the fields and farms through people and jobs.
FARMS Advanced is a second year “deeper-dive” program designed by the Center for Land-Based Learning to provide high school students with a broader exploration of careers in agriculture.
Immanuel Schools Elementary complex is a partnership with the Foundation to provide an enriched curriculum to introduce elementary K-6 students to agricultural concepts, science, mathematics and technology.
Grizzlies Farm Grown sponsorship includes the Ag Zone, Farm Grown Friday’s, and Wild About Reading. Wild About Reading school assemblies have presented to over 1 million elementary school kids across the valley promoting reading. The program produces a companion annual activity magazine – Wild About Reading.
CEO, Gar & Esther Tootelian Charitable Foundation
Karen Musson is managing partner of Gar Tootelian, Inc. (GAR) established in 1949 by her parents, Gar and Esther Tootelian. Located in the heart of California’s Central Valley, GAR is a Crop Care Retailer providing water, nutrition, regulatory and crop care advice, products and services to 1500 valley growers from Chowchilla to Bakersfield. CropLife Magazine ranks GAR as 52nd and, also, the largest, single location Crop Care Retailer in the United States. GAR’s leadership in environmental stewardship, sustainability and community outreach has earned the company the Agricultural Retailer Association’s (ARA) National Ag Retailer of the Year Award and DuPont Crop Science and CropLife magazine’s North America Environmental Respect Award (ERA). GAR has also been recognized by: Tulare County Farm Bureau (2019), Orange Cove Chamber (2018), Reedley Chamber of Commerce (2003 & 2017), and Fresno Chamber of Commerce (2013).
Karen leads GAR’s media, marketing and community outreach activities and is the CEO of the Gar & Esther Tootelian Charitable Foundation established in 2003 to engage, develop and direct philanthropic gifts promoting agricultural literacy, careers, and awareness. She produces, writes and records GAR’s marketing messages on local talk radio station KMJ 580 promoting agriculture and making consumers aware of agriculture’s vast contribution to the health and freedom of our daily lives. Under Karen’s leadership, the Foundation and GAR have granted more than $2.75 Million in scholarships and gifts in support of agricultural activities, community enrichment and educational programs it considers critical to the sustainability and future of Central Valley agriculture.
Karen is an active member of numerous community and philanthropic organizations. She is a member of the Central Valley Community Bank’s Board of Directors serving the valley with 21 branches from Sacramento to Exeter. She is the recipient of Marjorie Mason’s 2017 Top Ten Professional Women and is a 2011 Ag One Common Threads recipient. She raised $25,000 in the 2010 San Francisco Nike Women’s Half Marathon for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society and her 2012 challenge to recognize “Central Valley Farmers and Families” at Clovis Medical Center’s Emergency Room expansion raised over $1.5 million. The “Feeding Families Fund Drive” supporting Central California Community Food Bank has raised a total of $965,000 since 2013 and, more than $150,000 has been raised to support Habitat for Humanity projects helping local families earn homes.
Cal Poly San Luis Obispo Gar and Esther Tootelian Foundation Scholarship
Fresno State Ag One Gar and Esther Tootelian Foundation Scholarship & Fellowship
College of the Sequoias Gar and Esther Tootelian Charitable Foundation Scholarship
Reedley College Gar and Esther Tootelian Charitable Foundation Scholarship
Fresno County Farm Bureau Member & Sponsor of Farm and Nutrition Day
Fresno Chaffee Zoo Valley Farm
Immanuel Schools Reedley, Ag Literacy
Quail Lake Charter Environmental, Ag Literacy
International Agri-Center Ag Ventures
Families Protecting the Valley
California Water Alliance (CalWA)
Fresno State Ag One Roy Isom Scholarship
California Specialty Crop Council
California Ag One Leadership Foundation
California Ag in The Classroom
Valley PBS, Circle Member, 2007-present
Valley PBS Valleys Gold and Education through Agriculture, Sponsor
Leukemia Lymphoma Society Team in Training
Community Hospital Medical Foundation
Community Food Bank Fresno & Tulare
Lively Arts Foundation of Fresno, 2000 – 2015
Fresno Grizzlies Farm Grown Community Fund
California Future Farmers of America (FFA) Foundation
Center for Land-Based Learning
Plant Foundation – Farm Academy