SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - Organizers of the Foothills Forever campaign said they have more monetary and conservation muscle behind their quest to buy back 100 acres of private land near the San Marcos Foothills Preserve.
"We are delighted to have been joined by the Allemall Foundation in our efforts to obtain the property," stated Peter Schuyler, Co-Chair of the fundraising campaign. The Allemall Foundation, based in Maryland, recently helped the Redwood Coast Land Conservancy complete the purchase of the Mill Bend Conservation Project in Mendocino County.
"The moment that we learned of the community efforts to save this important grassland open space, we knew we wanted to help," said Ed Scott, Executive Director of the Allemall Foundation. "We can't do it alone, but we can help the Santa Barbara community with additional resources, to help meet your incredibly tight timeline."
Santa Barbara County Supervisor Gregg Hart praised the efforts of Allemall Foundation.
"This national organization's involvement is launching this effort to a different level. This increases the opportunity and challenge for local residents to save this precious land."
Since the onset of the community fundraising effort, Foothills Forever members stated that they've reached "all interim milestones" agreed upon with the current developer, Charles Lande of The Chadmar Group. In a email sent to the NewsChannel 3-12 newsroom last Friday, Peter Schuyler, Co-Chair of the fundraising campaign, revealed new numbers in terms of donors and amounts raised.
"We now need angel donors to step up, as well as the wider community to continue to support the campaign. Over 3,500 individuals, businesses, and foundations have contributed more than $7.6 million in cash and pledges to date, plus a short-term loan from Montecito Bank & Trust, to meet the terms of the purchase agreement. An additional $12.4 million is needed before the June 1 deadline, to secure the legacy," said Schuyler.
March Chytilo, an attorney for the campaign, told NewsChannel 3-12 that the Allemall Foundation contributed a $3.6 million dollar loan, at zero percent for two years. Big donors are still needed in order to reach the $20 million dollar goal.
The developer's deadline is June 2.
Campaign volunteers are providing docent-led tours from 10 -11:30 am every Saturday and Sunday through the Month of May. Tours may also be scheduled through FoothillsForever.org