Despite its stunning beauty and long-time fame as a storied tourist destination, Santa Catalina Island has more than its share of financial challenges. There is no large industrial or property tax base, and public services in such a highly seasonal locale are difficult and expensive to maintain. Moreover, a lengthy low season creates employment difficulties for many full-time residents. The result is an acute year-round challenge to maintain a reasonable standard of island life. Now with the 2013 demise of the Church Mouse fishing tournament and a reduction in charitable support from elsewhere, Catalina’s many community groups and services have been severely impacted.
Founded in 2014, the Catalina Island Foundation is a non-profit series of funds permanently dedicated to addressing these issues. Its efforts will be focused on supporting programs vital to a community’s well-being. These will include, but not be limited to, youth groups, Scouting programs, school field trips, health initiatives, substance abuse education and remediation, sports and performing arts organizations, and college scholarships. For those community organizations with dedicated fundraising efforts already in place, CIF will not be a major source of funds. Rather it is our intention to focus on smaller grass-roots organizations that lack the means to help themselves.
CIF will initially be overseen by a Board of Advisors consisting of part- or full-time island residents who have helped initiate this effort. Its financial administration will be under the auspices of The San Diego Foundation, a non-profit 501(c)-3 organization that serves as a platform for many other communityoriented funds, including Carlsbad, Chula Vista, La Jolla and Rancho Bernardo. CIF’s inaugural donations will be made by the end of 2014 and then at least annually thereafter.
Founded in 1975, The San Diego Foundation’s purpose is to promote and increase effective and responsible charitable giving. The Foundation manages more than $620 million in assets, almost half of which resides in permanent endowment funds that extend the impact of today’s gifts to future generations.