BVEF FOCUS AREASAs the largest and oldest philanthropic institution in the region, the Fund recognizes it is uniquely positioned to support the strategic development of Borrego Valley for decades to come.
Providing high quality, affordable healthcare and creating the systems to deliver such care is a challenge for small, rural communities throughout the United States. For destination communities such as the gateway community of Borrego Springs, high quality, readily available, and affordable healthcare is of particular importance because of its impact on the economic development and wellbeing of the community—without reliable healthcare, residents and visitors alike are less likely to choose Borrego Springs. Therefore, the Fund seeks to invest in activities and initiatives that:
- Position Borrego Springs at the forefront of innovation in the United States for excellent, reliable healthcare delivery in small, geographically isolated communities.
- Encourage the development and use of the latest technologies to deliver such healthcare, e.g. telemedicine, state-of-the-art triage services.
- Encourage the development of partnerships with the leading regional and national providers of healthcare, e.g. Sharp, Scripps, University of California, Kaiser, Mayo Clinics.
- Capitalize on Borrego Springs’ desert environment as a resource for medical researchers exploring issues such as Valley Fever, Childhood Asthma, and COPD.
- Provide regular and rigorous assessments of the community’s health status.
As with healthcare, providing a top-notch educational experience in a small rural community such as Borrego Springs—officially designated a disadvantaged community—has proven to be a formidable challenge. Also as with healthcare, many observers have noted the questionable quality of primary and secondary education in our community functions as an impediment to robust economic development. Because of its unusual degree of geographic isolation, Borrego Springs faces the additional challenge of not easily consolidating with neighboring school districts, a remedy used by many small, rural districts over the last 50 years. Borrego Springs has a diverse population composed largely of older, affluent seasonal residents and a full-time population predominated by lower SES families, many of Hispanic background. Providing for the varying needs of such a diverse population is a perpetual challenge, especially as it pertains to education. Therefore the Fund seeks to invest in initiatives and activities that:
- Position Borrego Springs at the forefront of innovation in the United States for providing top-notch education in small, geographically isolated communities.
- Support the development and use of the latest technologies to deliver educational services, e.g. distance learning.
- Support the development of partnerships with leading regional educators such as the University of California, Irvine.
- Provide regular and rigorous assessments of the community’s educational institutions.
Borrego Springs is evolving a new paradigm of economic development in recognition that agriculture as currently practiced in the Valley is not sustainable due to water constraints. Nor will it be possible—for the same reason—to dramatically expand the recreational activity, golf, that many once hoped would make Borrego Springs “the next Palm Springs.” The evolving paradigm for economic development involves capitalizing on the community’s unique geographic location in the center of a World Class wilderness area known as the Anza-Borrego Desert State Park (ABDSP). The community of Borrego Springs is the Gateway Community to over 1,000 square miles of pristine desert habitat and the largest continuous State Park in the lower 48 states. It is the home to the only active rift valley in the Western Hemisphere. The new paradigm for developing a nature / tourism economy for Borrego Springs is occurring under the rubric of Geotourism—a concept pioneered by the National Geographic Society that states the economic development of a locale should be guided by the principle of supporting only those developmental activities that enhance the character, uniqueness, and wellbeing of the community, i.e. development that nurtures, rather than kills, the goose that is laying the golden egg. (With annual revenues in excess of $40M, the net present value of the asset referred to as the ABDSP is over $1B—the largest golden egg in the region.) Therefore, the BVEF seeks to invest in activities and initiatives that:
- Promote education and capacity building in the community around the core concepts of developing a nature economy through the lens of Geotourism.
- Develop a core curriculum regarding the unique history and assets of the region for dissemination from K through gray.
- Encourage research, and the dissemination of such research, regarding the unique history and assets of the region.
- Encourage new partnerships with institutions and organizations focused on developing and implementing year-round Geotourism in our community.
- Provide for regular and rigorous assessment of the community’s economic development, not just from a revenue standpoint, but equally from the standpoint of well-being or “happiness quotient” of the community.
The only source of water for the community of Borrego Springs is its aquifer. Thirty-five years of continuous study of the aquifer has demonstrated we use over 20,000 acre-feet of water per year and that the aquifer is replenished at a rate of approximately 5,000 acre-feet per year. Thus the current rate of water use in our community is unsustainable, and, if unchecked, will result in the demise of Borrego Springs. Therefore, the Fund seeks to invest in activities and initiatives that:
- Support Borrego Springs coming into compliance as soon as possible with the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act through the creation and implementation of a Groudwater Sustainability Plan (GSP).
- Support community education and capacity building around this most critical issue.
- Support efforts to access and acquire governmental and political support for the creation and implementation of the SGP.
- Support the regular and rigorous assessments of the status of the community’s only source of water.
The importance of the air we breathe is second only to the availability of potable, affordable water to the community of Borrego Springs. In addition to the obvious consequences of poor air quality—respiratory and other health conditions—it also has a direct impact on the economic development of the community as a “nature destination” and gateway community to the Anza-Borrego Desert State Park, a World Heritage Designation contender. Recent developments in the community and region have led to a perceptible decline in air quality, making our community less competitive as a nature destination when visitors are confronted with poor air quality rivaling that of Mexico City, Beijing, and Deli. Therefore the Fund seeks to invest in activities and initiatives that:
- Develop a data-driven understanding of the community’s past and current air quality, particularly as it relates of federal, state, and regional air quality standards.
- Develop the capacity to determine sources of particulate air pollution in the region.
- Support the enforcement of federal, state and regional air quality standards.
- Support the development and deployment of air quality mitigation efforts.
- Support the use and development of new technologies to monitor air quality, including the impacts of mitigation efforts.
- Support the development of new partnerships with organizations and institutions working to understand and improve air quality in our community and region.
- Provide regular and rigorous assessments of the community’s air quality.
Borrego Springs exists in something of a local governmental vacuum. It is too small to ever meet state requirements for incorporation, and so functions without any sort of representational civic body such as a town council. It has representation at the County level through the County Board of Supervisors, but the relatively small population of Borrego Springs renders the wishes of the residents of Borrego Springs inconsequential at the County level. Borrego Springs has a County-appointed Sponsor Group that has no power beyond the power to advise. The Borrego Springs Chamber of Commerce has strived to fill this governmental void, but is constrained by the demands of its paying members/merchants. Therefore, the Fund seeks to invest in activities and initiatives that:
- Explore, define, suggest, and implement new ways of organizing representation of, and within, the community.
- Explore and evaluate existing governmental designations that could enhance the goals of the community, e.g. special districts, designations.
- Establish relationships with organizations and institutions that are developing and researching new modes of community organization relevant to our community, e.g. Crown of the Continent.
- Evaluate, monitor, and make recommendations regarding Land Use decisions in our community in alignment with Geotourism.
- Focus on developing relationships with all levels of county, state, and federal government for the benefit of our community.
- Provide regular and rigorous assessments of the status of Governance in our community.
National Science Foundation sponsored research concluded in 2012 that the global loss of species was equally, if not more, threatening to human survival than pollution. On a community level, the importance of preservation of species is readily apparent in a community such as Borrego Springs where economic development is becoming more dependent upon nature in all its forms. Specifically, the unique character of Borrego Springs is dependent upon its flora and fauna—wild flowers in their vast multiplicity, Ocotillo Forests, Peninsular Big Horn Sheep, Swenson’s Hawks, mountain lions, etc; and the community’s economic development is dependent upon maintaining that unique character. Therefore, the Fund seeks to invest in activities and initiatives that:
- Promote and protect the diversity of species, flora and fauna, now existing in our region.
- Promote education and capacity building in the community around the extensive biodiversity of our region.
- Promote research regarding the factors impacting biodiversity in our region.
- Provide regular and rigorous assessments of the status of Biodiversity of our region.
Every day 10,000 people turn 65. In 2012, 13.7% of the population was 65 and older; by 2040, this number will grow to 21%, putting an enormous strain on resources for seniors in our region. Our focus area on seniors will focus on enabling seniors to live their lives on their own terms with access to high-quality health and support services that preserve and protect one’s dignity, quality of life and independence.
- Promote health services for seniors in our region.
- Promote education and capacity building in the community around senior programs and services.
- Promote research regarding the factors impacting seniors in our region.
- Provide regular and rigorous assessments of the status of senior services in our region.
Emergency Medical Air Transportation Coverage: Renewed and Expanded by the Borrego Valley Endowment Fund
During 2016, the Borrego Valley Endowment Fund (BVEF) funded municipal policies with Mercy Air and REACH that relieved insured residents of out-of-pocket costs – the deductible and co-insurance that often amount to $3,000 or more per flight. More than 40 residents were transported during 2016.
BVEF is a not-for-profit organization that manages a fund dedicated to improving health care and related services in the Borrego Valley. Please see our website (bvefund.org) for more information about our grants to community organizations and about giving opportunities.
Effective January 1, 2017 BVEF will renew the coverage for permanent residents and expand coverage to also include insured seasonal residents.
- Any permanent or seasonal resident with medical plan insurance that covers emergency air transportation will not have to pay out-of-pocket as a result of BVEF’s policy
- In an emergency situation our excellent EMR service will consult with the San Diego County emergency medical air transport Medical Director and dispatcher. They will decide whether Mercy Air or REACH will fly in and determine the hospital most appropriate to receive the patient.
- Patients, who are permanent or seasonal residents, or their family members will not need to worry about the cost or coverage. Much later, during the claims payment process seasonal residents may have to provide proof they were living in Borrego Springs when transported
Note also that BVEF’s policy with Mercy Air provides coverage in hundreds of other locations across the U.S. where their affiliates fly. BVEF arranged discounted policies with REACH for $35 per household per year. One must complete an enrollment with both companies to receive this coverage because the companies must put your information in databases their affiliates can check to verify eligibility during the claims payment process after transportation.
MASA (available through the Chamber of Commerce) offers a policy that also covers people who do not have medical insurance. MASA also covers ground ambulance and may be an especially good fit for people who travel via RV or who travel in other countries.
The Borrego Valley Endowment Fund hopes its coverage will make Borrego Springs an even better, safer and more affordable place to live and visit.
BVEF Partners with Basic’s Reading Academy
This past spring, the BVEF joined with other non-profit organizations in Borrego and beyond to support the first Borrego-based summer Reading Academy designed to give a “literacy boost” to impoverished 2nd, 3rd and 4th grade children in our community as they strive to read at grade level. This is important because”learning to read” at these grade levels allows the transition to “reading to learn” and thus become productive citizens. This is particularly challenging for impoverished ELL children. For more information check out www.borregobasic.org
Borrego Valley Endowment Fund provides funding for UC Irvine Air Quality Study
UC Irvine will perform a three-year project to improve understanding of, and inform mitigation efforts related to particulate matter air quality issues in and around Borrego Springs. The project will evaluate current and historical air quality trends, develop and calibrate a particulate matter air quality model of the region, and attribute likely sources of air quality degradation.
Community members are encouraged to report air quality changes and dust events by using this Citizen Science Pollution and Dust Event Submission Form. The information you submit will be sent directly to the UCI researchers who are running the Air Quality study. Thank you for your participation in this important work.
DONATIONS TO BVEFYour gift will encourage and support growth in our region for decades to come. Contact us today to learn about your giving options. firstname.lastname@example.org
FUNDING REQUESTSLorry Seagrim, Programs and Projects Jim Wilson, Secretary email@example.com
Borrego Springs Fire Department
Historically the Fire Department has had to absorb financial losses for providing medical related services to the public in Borrego Springs. These losses are caused by the inability of some individuals to pay the cost of the services provided. Thus, the cost of providing the service is written off as unrecoverable. Funding has been provided for offsetting some of the debt. The Fire Department will provide an overall summary of debt incurred for treatment of Borrego Valley residents at the end each fiscal year. This grant is subject to review for each additional year. Grants to date have been for $15,000 per year (A total of $30,000).
Borrego Springs Unified School District
- A $7,000 grant for a Spanish-speaking mental health counselor for the remainder of the 2013-2014 school year.
- A $4,000 grant for a 6 week Parent Institute for Quality Education course taught in Spanish during the 2013-2014 school year.
- A long-term commitment to continue the mental health counseling program for a two year period. The total grant to date is for $170,000.
Borrego Springs Senior Center
- Year 2013 – 2014 $9,500 – Sealed Roof with Installation Foam
- Year 2014 – 2015 $1,150 – Provided Medical Equipment for the Seniors to use.
- Year 2015 – 2016 $8,000 – Provide Funding for Home Delivery of Meals to Shut-ins.