POST Launches $200 Million Campaign To Save 'The Endangered Coast'
Organization Receives $100 Million in Grants From Packard, Moore Foundations
Apr. 18, 2001
MENLO PARK, CA — An unprecedented $200 million campaign to preserve more than 20,000 acres of open space on the San Mateo Coast was announced today by Peninsula Open Space Trust (POST), a private, nonprofit land trust based in Menlo Park.
The three-year campaign is the largest land conservation effort ever undertaken by a local land trust in the United States. It targets unprotected properties from Pacifica to Pescadero, west of Skyline Boulevard, that are threatened by development and expected to change hands in the next three years.
"The San Mateo Coast is a national treasure that must be preserved," said Audrey Rust, POST President. "This land is the only remaining undeveloped coast next to a major metropolitan area left in the world. It's beautiful, it's spectacular, and it has incredible value in terms of recreation, agriculture, and natural resources.
"It is also very fragile. People assume these lands are protected, but they're not. The primary threat is from burgeoning population pressures. There are places all along the coast that can be developed. If that happens, we will lose the unique character of this land. Something extraordinary will become ordinary. That's why it is absolutely critical that we raise this money to protect these lands, preserve the unique, rural character of the coast, and prevent it from being compromised by building and development."
In launching the campaign, "Saving the Endangered Coast," POST announced that it has received two leadership gifts of $50 million each from the David and Lucile Packard Foundation and the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation. The two gifts are believed to be the largest grants ever made to a local land trust in the United States.
"These record-setting grants from the Packard and Moore Foundations are a tremendous vote of confidence in POST," Rust said. "They demonstrate the importance of coastal conservation and the magnitude of the challenge before us. With these generous gifts comes an obligation on our part to raise the rest of the money and spend it wisely to accomplish our vision."
"We're very pleased to make a major grant to Peninsula Open Space Trust," said Lew Coleman, President of the Moore Foundation. "Our objective is to fund projects that will make a substantial contribution to the quality of life and health of the planet, now and for generations to come. This important initiative certainly falls into that category."
Gordon Moore, the co-founder of Intel, and his wife, Betty, are longtime POST supporters."I've supported POST because it's been a very effective organization in saving much of the open land we have around here," Moore said. "That's important to me.
We've been fortunate here in San Mateo County that much of the coast is still undeveloped, and we have the chance to keep it that way for posterity. If it becomes just a concrete jungle, L.A. moved north, a lot of us would consider that a disaster." The $50 million grant from the David and Lucile Packard Foundation was announced by Jeanne Sedgwick, director of the Foundation's conservation program.
"Peninsula Open Space Trust is an exceptional organization that has become a national leader in protecting open lands," she said. "This $50 million grant is one of the largest grants ever made by the Packard Foundation. It demonstrates our confidence in POST, our commitment to helping to preserve the San Mateo Coast, and our understanding of the magnitude of the challenge facing us."
POST's new campaign will build on an impressive track record already established by the organization. Since its founding in 1977, POST has saved over 43,000 acres on the Peninsula, including about 26,000 acres of coastal properties.
The San Mateo Coast has been designated by scientists at Conservation International and Princeton University as one of the most critical environmental "hot spots" in the world. Hot spots are defined as those rich in biodiversity and threatened by urban development.
The properties POST has identified for preservation include unprotected open lands that possess some or all of the following criteria:
- faces imminent development
- occupies a strategic location (either by maintaining a boundary on development or linking already-protected open space)
- contains critical wildlife and plant habitat
- offers scenic views and recreation opportunities
- contains productive farmland
- In recent months, POST has acquired options to purchase three important coastal properties-Whalers Cove at Pigeon Point (three acres adjacent to the Pigeon Point Lighthouse, $2.65 million); the Bolsa Point Ranches (1,719 acres south of Pescadero, $39 million); and the addition to Johnston Ranch (215 acres immediately south of Half Moon Bay, $3.05 million). Funds raised in the campaign will be used to complete the purchase of these lands.
"Sometimes we may have to pay premium prices for incomparable pieces of open space," Rust said. "But even with the two large gifts we've received and the critical importance of land protection, we are very careful about what we pay for land. We take that responsibility very seriously."
While POST has raised half of its fund-raising goal, an enormous challenge lies ahead, Rust said.
"We're off to a great start," she said, "but we now must raise another $100 million. The Packard and Moore Foundation grants challenge the rest of us to step forward. We'll be counting on gifts at all levels from the entire community.
"We are confident that we have the will, the track record, and the resources to reach our goal. We have the economic prosperity on the Peninsula necessary to support a campaign of this size. This is a rare opportunity to assume a leadership role for people around the world. We can demonstrate to others that it can be done."
The David and Lucile Packard Foundation provides grants to nonprofit organizations in the following broad program areas: conservation; population; science; children, families, and communities; arts; and organizational effectiveness and philanthropy. The Foundation provides national and international grants, and also has a special focus on the Northern California Counties of San Mateo, Santa Clara, Santa Cruz, and Monterey.
The Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation was established in September 2000 to create positive outcomes for future generations. The Foundation funds outcome-based grants and initiatives to achieve significant and measurable results. Grantmaking supports the Foundation's principal areas of interest: global environmental conservation, science, and the San Francisco Bay Area.
Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation