Foothills Forever, the campaign to purchase the West Mesa of the San Marcos Foothills from a developer, is receiving support from a national conservation organization, the Allemall Foundation.
“It’s a great positive step. It demonstrates how important this project is to get the attention of a national conservation organization,” Santa Barbara County 2nd District Supervisor Gregg Hart told the News-Press.
The Allemall Foundation contributed to the Redwood Coast Land Conservancy’s purchase of the Mill Bend Conservation Project in Mendocino County in January.
“The moment that we learned of the community efforts to save this important grassland open space, we knew we wanted to help,” Ed Scott, executive director of the Allemall Foundation, said in a news release. “We can’t do it alone, but we can help the Santa Barbara community with additional resources to help meet your incredibly tight timeline.”
The campaign has raised $7.6 million in a matter of weeks from more than 3,500 individual donations. Some community members have even held garage sales to raise funds.
Organizers need an additional $12.4 million by June 1 to meet the developer’s deadline.
“When you think about how far we’ve come in just five weeks, it’s astonishing,” Supervisor Hart said.
He hopes community members will be encouraged by the support of a national organization. Santa Barbara County has had other projects like Save the San Marcos Foothills that have successfully purchased land for public use.
“Saving the San Marcos Foothills continues our community’s legacy of permanently saving threatened open space lands for the community’s use. The Douglas Family Preserve, Carpinteria Bluffs, Sperling Preserve at Ellwood, and many of the open spaces important to our community, all faced these fundraising challenges,” Marc Chytilo, an attorney for the campaign, said in a news release.
Organizers are holding an information session at 5:30 p.m. Monday. Registration for the virtual meeting is at foothillsforever.org.