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Borrego Valley Endowment Fund announces change in Executive Board Leadership

J. David Garmon, MD elected Board President with Robert (Bob) Kelly serving as Immediate Past President and Trustee

The Borrego Valley Endowment Fund (BVEF), the non-profit community foundation for the Borrego Springs region, has transitioned to new Executive leadership with the election of J. David Garmon MD, as President of the Board of Directors and Bob Kelly, transitioning to the role of Immediate Past President of the Board.

“Borrego has a rich history of philanthropic support for Borrego Springs, and at this time, the BVEF could not be better positioned to fulfill its mission of focusing that philanthropic support on the most urgent needs of our community” said Garmon, who joined the BVEF Board in 2015.

Over the past four years the Borrego Valley Endowment Fund has invested more than half a million dollars in critically needed support for the Borrego Springs community. This includes funding of new life saving paramedic equipment for the Fire Department; efforts to overturn the placement of sexually violent predators in the community; support for the Community Resource Center and Foodbank; funding the Borrego COVID-19 task force, the Borrego Seniors Center, and numerous other local non-profits focused on education, health, and the environment.

“I’d like to acknowledge a debt of gratitude to Bob Kelly, who will be staying on the BVEF

Board and Executive Committee as Immediate Past President, added Garmon. “Bob oversaw the transition of the organization from the Borrego Community Health Society, with its exclusive focus on the Borrego Clinic, to a true community foundation, the Borrego Valley Endowment Fund, with a focus on the broad range of issues that are critical to the wellbeing of our community.”

“In addition to expanding the role of the BVEF in the community, said Garmon, Bob steered the BVEF clear of its parent organization, the Borrego Community Healthcare Foundation, as that organization was losing its way, thereby protecting the funds that donors have entrusted to the BVEF. His vigilance, integrity and leadership have helped create the BVEF of today.”

The change in leadership was effective with the BVEF’s August meeting, with Kelly “virtually” passing the gavel to Garmon as the meeting was being held via Zoom.

The BVEF’s mission is to harness the power of philanthropy to create enduring, community-wide benefits for the Borrego region. If you would like to donate to support our programs, or others that may be of special interest to you, visit or contact us at

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Oppose Placing Sexually Violent Predators in Borrego Springs

Join your neighbors in Borrego Springs and other rural communities in supporting opposition to the placement of Sexually Violent Predators (SVPs) in Borrego Springs. Opposition is being spearheaded by the Borrego Springs SVP Task Force.

Check out our GoFundMe campaign:

The Borrego Valley Endowment Fund (BVEF) has provided $25,000 in seed funding to help this citizen-led, grassroots effort to safeguard our community. The goal of the gofundme campaign is to match the BVEF funds by raising an additional $25,000 in matching funds to help the Task Force. Funds will be used to develop a consistent, professional, enduring and effective “lobbying” strategy to block placement of SVPs in Borrego Springs. Note that this is an ongoing effort. We are preparing another proposed placement in October.

Specifically, your support will help the Task Force cover the costs to:

· Retain legal counsel to block court-ordered placements of SVPs in Borrego Springs

· Hire a professional lobbyist to lobby Sacramento to change SVP laws and practices

· Develop a database of supporters and communication/e-mailing

· Facilitate digital and in-person meetings, organize town halls,

· Provide regular news and updates

· Design and write high-quality print collateral/handouts

· Design, manufacture and install signage

· Design and insert announcements in print and other media (SD Tribune; PBS etc.); use media to help our cause and spread the word

· Organize participation from local citizenry in the process

· Transportation and costs of travel to hearings in SD

· Design posters, t-shirts, anti-SVP branding to keep SVPs out of our rural communities

· Liaise with County / other officials

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BVEF Welcomes New Board Members

The Borrego Valley Endowment Fund (BVEF) is pleased to announce that Melissa Stevens and Dr. Richard Fausel has joined our Board of Directors. They are both uniquely qualified to help further the mission of the BVEF to serve as a catalyst for philanthropic support to address Borrego’s most urgent and environmental needs.

Says BVEF Vice Chair Dr. David Garmon, “The BVEF is excited to welcome Melissa and Dick with their impressive experience in the healthcare field and their dedication to fostering the well-being of the Borrego Springs community. The depth or their expertise and experience is a great addition to the BVEF team.”

Melissa Stevens is more than 20 years leading sales/marketing organizations in the health care industry, specifically for health plans. In her current role with Community Health Plan of Washington (a Medicaid health plan), she is a close partner with Washington’s 20+ Federally Qualified Health Centers and is very familiar with the business operation and patient base for FQHCs. Additionally, she leads the team which identifies Community Based Organizations to support through Health Equity grants. Melissa has been a Rams Hill vacation home owner since early 2000s, but with the recent move to remote working, has been able to enjoy her home more as a seasonal resident.

Richard Fausel, D.O. is a physician, who spent 38 years in practice, primarily in the Coachella Valley with special interests in pathology, family practice and bone health, now retired. He has been enjoying Borrego Springs and the environs since 1970, part-time resident since 2001 and now a full-time resident with his wife Rosemary. He has been a Board member of Desert Cancer Foundation in Palm Desert for over 20 years. More recently joined the Board of BASIC here in Borrego and is looking forward to active participation with BVEF.

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June 30, 2022

Borrego Springs School graduate Vanessa Rodarte will be starting a one-year internship on the Borrego Valley Endowment Fund Board of Directors. Vanessa brings a variety of background and experience to the Board. She is currently in her fourth year at San Diego State University, where she is majoring in kinesiology

and is the Aztec Women’s Basketball Team Manager. While at BSHS, she served three years as Class Treasurer and one year as Class President. She was involved in many high school clubs including the Interact Club, Junior Soroptimist, and Dream Club. Vanessa showcased her athletic skills in both Softball, where she was the catcher, shortstop and team captain, and Basketball as point guard and team captain. She was twice chosen as Basketball MVP and was invited two times to the All-Academic Team.

Vanessa developed her leadership skills through the Rotary Youth Leadership Award, M.E.Ch.A. (an organization that promotes Latino leadership), and LEAD (Leadership, Ethics, Aspirations & Determination). A lengthy list of awards includes National Society of Leadership and Success (SDSU) and Principal’s Award (BSHS).

The BVEF Internship program was developed to give local students real-world experience in serving on a Board of Directors. By attending monthly meetings, the intern learns how meetings are conducted, how to review financial statements, develop discussion and consider input, make decisions and develop plans of action. Karen Garcia, who served as BVEF Board intern from June 2021-June 2022, said she “gained a lot of insight on how hard non-profit health organizations work to ensure the community, and its members, equal opportunity for access to healthcare, transportation, learning, support and social services”.

David Garmon, President of the BVEF Board, says “We are looking forward to having Vanessa on our Board. Her bi-lingual ability and leadership skills will help the Board strengthen communication and interaction with Borrego Spring’s LatinX community.”

The BVEF’s mission is to harness the power of philanthropy to create enduring, community-wide benefits for the Borrego region.

If you would like to donate to support projects like this, or others that may be of special interest to you, visit or contact Jim Dion at

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When You Need Emergency Medical Air Transportation…..

Updated: May 16

We have you COVERED!

The BVEF, through its contract with MERCY AIR, covers emergency medical air transportation costs for year round and seasonal residents

Features of coverage with BVEF’s contract with Mercy Air:

  • Mercy Air is owned by Air Methods Corporation (AMC) and claims are handled under their OMNIAdvantage membership program Note these company and product names because you may see them instead of “Mercy Air” after you are transported on a Mercy Air helicopter
  • You are covered by BVEF’s contract with Mercy Air even if uninsured (i.e., not enrolled in a medical plan with “Air Medical” coverage)
  • You are covered up to $700 per incident and Mercy Air airfare
  • You are also covered by BVEF’s contract with Mercy Air when you are transported within the other geographic areas serviced by Mercy Air and its affiliate companies. Go to Near the bottom of the Home page you will see Mercy Air’s affiliate companies. Below that, within “Contact Us” under “Membership Inquiries” click on and email your questions about coverage by affiliate companies in other geographies where you may need coverage.
  • Year-round residents, who have the zipcode 92004,will be recognized as covered by Mercy Air/Air Methods Corporation/OMNIAdvantage during the claims process following transportation. It is incumbent upon Temporary residents to inform Mercy Air/Air Methods Corporation/OMNIAdvantage of their status as temporary residents of Borrego Springs following air medical transport, and to provide reasonable evidence of their temporary residence in Borrego Springs
  • Note that you will be covered by Mercy Air or its affiliates only if you are transported on their equipment.
  • There is no need to complete an application to enjoy this coverage.

The Borrego Valley Endowment Fund mission is to harness the power of philanthropy to create enduring, community-wide benefits for the Borrego region. The BVEF-Mercy Air partnership is one example of how the BVEF makes Borrego Valley a safer and better community. If you would like to support the BVEF in achieving its mission by donating to important projects like this or others that may be of special interest to you, please contact Jim Dion at

NOTE: BVEF does not have a coverage contract with Reach

  • REACH is owned by AirMedCare Network (AMCN). BVEF does not have an agreement with REACH.
  • If REACH is dispatched for your medivac transport BVEF cannot reimburse you for being transported in their equipment.
  • In an emergency situation the Borrego Springs Fire District’s excellent EMR service will respond, and will consult with the San Diego County emergency medical air transport Medical Director to assess whether your condition is serious enough to require air transport. If so, the County Dispatcher and Medical Director will decide whether Mercy Air or REACH will fly in and will determine the hospital most appropriate to receive the patient. Neither the patient/family nor the helicopter crew have a say in these decisions. The protocols are designed to identify an appropriately equipped helicopter that can reach the patient quickly and to select the nearest hospital best equipped to treat the patient’s condition. Eisenhower Medical Center (Rancho Mirage) and Palomar Medical Center.
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Borrego Valley Endowment Fund Provides Grant for Borrego Springs Fire Protection District

(Borrego Springs, April 7, 2022)

The Borrego Springs Fire Protection District’s paramedic services are of vital need for the health of our community and the safety of the estimated million people who visit the Borrego region each year. After the Borrego Valley Endowment Fund learned that the Fires District’s existing Heart Monitor / Defibrillators were at “end of life” and were out of date to be upgraded the BVEF opened discussion with the Fire District on how to replace these important lifesaving machines. Heart Monitor / Defibrillators save lives. They are critically important for Borrego Springs as a large population of our community are approaching or above retirement age, and transportation distances to critical care hospitals are far. The grant from the BVEF to the Fire District, totaling $188,826.03, will allow the Fire District to purchase five brand new, industry gold standard, Zoll X Series Advanced Monitor / Defibrillators, and additional equipment. This will enable each fire truck and ambulance to be equipped with these state of the art machines. The grant also allows special training for paramedics and firemen to operate and maintain the apparatus.

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Thank You! Drive Me to My Doctor

Dear Borrego Valley Endowment Fund, We want to take some time to thank the Borrego Valley Endowment Fund for sponsoring Drive Me To My Doctor. Your mileage reimbursement helps us very much. Every little bit helps. Again, Thank you 


 Sincerely, Chris Taglienti & Mary Heller

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Updated: Oct 21, 2021

The Borrego Valley Endowment Fund launched a Community Needs Assessment Program,

the first of its kind, in late September. All Borrego Springs philanthropic organizations were

invited to participate in one of a series of outreach meetings, called “listening sessions” and

conducted via Zoom. The response has been enthusiastic and productive.

Borrego’s non-profits fulfill critical roles in the life of Borrego Springs: from arts and cultural events to healthcare; from protecting our environment to educational services; from transportation for seniors to providing food for struggling families. In an effort to better understand the programs, goals, challenges and aspirations of our local non-profits, members of the BVEF board of directors will participate in five meetings with a total of 13 local charities.

The goals of the Community Needs Assessment Program are to raise community awareness of local non-profits, foster communication amongst the charities for stronger collaboration, and broaden fundraising capabilities through new philanthropic channels. The BVEF intends to follow-up on the “listening sessions” by consolidating the information gleaned and using it to identify priorities for new sources of charitable giving, highlight community needs or gaps that are not currently being met by philanthropic efforts, and look for new ways we can work together to build a stronger community through collaborative philanthropy.

The BVEF is a non-profit organization dedicated to supporting the health and well-being of the Borrego Valley and its residents.

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Updated: Oct 21, 2021

The BVEF is pleased to announce that Richard (Dick) Troy has joined its Board of Directors. Dick spent years in the California State Parks administration, rising to Executive level before retiring in 2002. He participated in the formation of several non-profit corporations, formulated statewide policy on the subject, and worked to resolve various conflicts as they arose. Since 2000, he has served on the board of directors and held corporate officer positions with several non-profits including: The California State Railroad Museum Foundation, The Sacramento Valley Conservancy, The California Trails Conference Foundation, and the Anza Borrego Foundation.

Dick owns a home and has spent the Fall/Winter/Spring in Borrego Springs since 2008. Other times of the year find him in Sacramento or traveling. He has been involved with a variety of community organizations in Borrego and was recently elected President of the Borrego Village Association.

Says Dick of his new position, “I believe the generous 20+ year legacy of the BVEF has helped make Borrego Springs the community we are all proud of. BVEF’s continuing role of financial support will be essential to ensuring thoughtful future growth and the protection of the unique quality of life in our wonderful community.” The BVEF welcomes Dick’s depth of experience in non-profits and commitment to Borrego.

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The Borrego Valley Endowment Fund (BVEF) has named Karen Garcia as its first Board Fellow. In 2021 the BVEF created a new category of Board membership—Board Fellow—to encourage the participation of young and diverse members of the Borrego community in the BVEF’s mission to harness the power of philanthropy to create enduring, community-wide benefit for the Borrego region.

Board Fellows are individuals under 25 years of age who have distinguished themselves in their chosen area(s) of endeavor—academia, profession, sports, arts, etc.—and who wish to learn about the philanthropic activities of a community foundation such as the BVEF. Board Fellows are elected for a term of one year and may be elected for an additional one-year term.

“Ms. Garcia is a wonderful addition to our board,” said BVEF Chairman Bob Kelly. “Karen has consistently distinguished herself in her academic career and she brings to our board the youthful perspective of someone who has grown up in Borrego and who will be here long after most of us are gone.”

Ms. Garcia graduated from Borrego Springs HS in 2018, as salutatorian of her class. She

receives multiple scholarships, many local to Borrego Springs, to attend the University of

California, San Diego where she is a senior and a straight A student. Ms. Garcia is majoring in Global Health with a minor in Biology. She is planning a career in the medical field as a

Physician Assistant.

The Borrego Valley Endowment Fund is a non-profit organization dedicated to supporting the health and well-being of the Borrego Valley and its residents.