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Wermers Donate “The Center” to Borrego Springs Community

Donation of commercial shopping center to Borrego Valley Endowment Fund is transformative gift for Borrego Springs

November 15, 2023 – Borrego Springs, CA – In one of the largest philanthropic donations in Borrego Springs’ history, Anne and Jim Wermers, long time Borrego Springs residents and philanthropists, have donated “The Center” to the non-profit Borrego Valley Endowment Fund (BVEF) for the long-term benefit of the community. The transaction, which closed November 15, 2023, is valued at more than $2.5 million. The Center is one of two major retail commercial centers in Borrego Springs.

“Borrego is such a special place. We want to help preserve Borrego’s unique community spirit,” said Jim Wermers. “We feel The Center, a physical asset with positive cash flow, in the right hands, can be a means to ensure our philanthropic vision. We believe the right organization to entrust with this vision is the BVEF.”

The Center, located at 590 Palm Canyon Drive, is comprised of three buildings totaling 32,000 square feet that house the Center Market, the Borrego Springs Performing Arts Center, the Frugal Coyote Thrift Shop, Pabilto’s Restaurant as well as other retail, professional, and non-profit operations.

“Through their extraordinary generosity, vision, and love of Borrego, Anne and Jim’s gift creates impactful philanthropic support for the Borrego Springs community for decades to come,” said David Garmon, Chair of the BVEF Board of Directors. “We are humbled that Anne and Jim have entrusted the BVEF with this transformative gift to the community.”

The Wermers purchased The Center in 2016 to help secure the economic vitality of Borrego Springs. At the time of their purchase, The Center had endured years of deferred maintenance. Since then, significant investments were undertaken by the Wermers, including removal of an outdated gas station, installing a new sewer system, bringing the premises into ADA compliance, and adding a 500-panel solar system to the roof. The Center now enjoys full occupancy with clean, friendly, inviting spaces.

In alignment with the vision of the Wermers, The Center will continue to operate with proceeds going to BVEF for the benefit of the community.

“When Jim first presented this idea, I thought he was completely bonkers. But after my smooth-talking husband explained the concept, I was totally sold. Then our task became selecting an organization that would understand our vision and have the ability to operate the property. These considerations brought us to the Borrego Valley Endowment Fund,” said Anne Wermers.

Founded in 1994, the Borrego Valley Endowment Funds seeks to harness the power of philanthropy for the benefit of the Borrego Springs community. For more information on how your tax-deductible gift can help secure a sound future for the Borrego Springs Community please go to

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From Nidia Meza, Managing Director for Basic Assistance for Students in the Community (BASIC). ……I would like to thank the Borrego Valley Endowment Fund for your donation of $28,500 for our Summer Learning Academy this year. Your organization will again play a major role in the lives of children who benefit from this BASIC program. Both staff and students look forward to the Learning Academy program every year as we continue to make headway in providing our Borrego Springs youth with a much-needed educational boost. As you know, our program aims to improve opportunities for the children of Borrego to succeed – to improve reading and math skills, to improve English language fluency, to develop a love of learning, to finish high school, to go on to higher education, and be successful in life. This year’s program is scheduled to begin Thursday, July 6th, and runs through Wednesday, August 2nd. We will be hosting 41 students in 4 vital classes. Again, Thank You for the difference that the Borrego Valley Endowment Fund makes in our community.

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Mercy Air Cleared for Permanent Operation by the County Board of Supervisors

Since beginning operations adjacent to the Borrego Medical Clinic in July 2020, Mercy Air’s helicopter air ambulance has operated on a temporary authorization from the permitting agency, the California Department of Transportation (CalTrans), Division of Aeronautics. To give permanent authorization for this service, CalTrans requires documentation of approval of the service by the County Board of Supervisors (BOS). At the regularly scheduled meeting of the BOS on June 28, 2023, Supervisor Jim Desmond formally requested the Board provide documentation of the Board’s approval of the service to CalTrans. 

As the Borrego Valley Endowment Fund (BVEF) has been a long-time financial supporter of the air ambulance service, David Garmon, BVEF President, offered public comment at the BOS meeting. Garmon cited the remoteness of Borrego Springs from the nearest emergency medical services and consequently the importance of air ambulance transport in cases of critical injury or illness. He noted, “Our helicopter air ambulance dramatically reduces the time for critically ill or injured individuals to receive life-saving emergency medical care.”

The BOS voted unanimously to provide documentation to CalTrans of the Board’s approval of the air ambulance service at the Borrego Medical Clinic. This approval will be transmitted to CalTrans, which will then be able to issue a permit for permanent air ambulance service at the current site next to the Borrego Medical Clinic.

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Borrego Valley Endowment Fund and the Frugal Coyote Thrift Store Support the Borrego Springs Children’s Center

Borrego Springs, June 1, 2023 – The Borrego Valley Endowment Fund (BVEF) announced today it is donating $20,000 to the Children’s Center, which is operated under the non-profit umbrella of the Borrego Springs Youth and Seniors Center. The funds for this gift come from the operations of the Frugal Coyote Thrift Store, which was donated to the BVEF in January 2023 by long-time community benefactors, Anne and Jim Wermers. 

“There is a long history of the Frugal Coyote providing financial support to the Children’s Center. Thanks to the generosity and foresight of the Wermers, the BVEF is pleased to be able to continue that tradition of support for an organization that is critically important to so many families in our community,” said BVEF President, David Garmon.

Daniel Wright, Executive Director of the Borrego Springs Youth and Seniors Center said, “Our community owes a huge debt of gratitude to BVEF for their support of our working families by sustaining the Children’s Center, which is the only licensed day care in Borrego Springs.”

The BVEF has expanded its role beyond healthcare to that of a community foundation whose mission is to harness the power of philanthropy to support the health and broader well-being of the Borrego Valley and its residents. In this expanded capacity as community foundation, the BVEF supports local nonprofits that launch initiatives and implement programs that sustain and grow the community of Borrego Springs, serve our vulnerable seniors and youth, and protect our environment.

Garmon said, “We are excited about continuing the charitable mission of the Frugal Coyote and expanding its mission to meet the critical needs of our seniors, youth, and local residents. The current and future success of the Frugal Coyote is due in no small part by its dedicated, knowledgeable, and hard-working staff led by longtime manager Ann Jastrock and invaluable sales associates Laura Alcaraz and Jazmine Padilla”.

The Frugal Coyote welcomes your generous donations to their inventory so they can continue to offer shoppers an enticing array of boutique treasures and thrift items ranging from clothing, household goods, furniture, art, and more. Your donation makes a difference. Your support, as a donor or shopper, helps the BVEF fund the most critical needs of our Borrego Springs community. For more information on donating to the Frugal Coyote call 760-767-4608 or stop by the store located in The Center at 590 Palm Canyon Drive, Borrego Springs.  

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Borrego Valley Endowment Fund – Announces Spring 2023 Grant Awards

Borrego Springs, April 26, 2023–The Borrego Valley Endowment Fund (BVDF) announced today the recipients of its 2023 Community Foundation Grant Awards. The BVEF is proud to support the enduring, community-wide benefits created by each of these initiatives and to support the missions of the recipient organizations whose dedication and hard work make Borrego Springs such a great place to live, work, and play.

The 2023 BVEF Community Foundation Grants have been awarded to:

  • Anza-Borrego Foundation – $1,500 for translation of interpretive materials into Spanish.
  • BASIC (Basic Education for Students in Need) – $28,500 for Summer Learning Academy.
  • Borrego Art Institute – $10,000 for gardening skills and nutrition education for grades 1 through 5.
  • Borrego Springs High School Basketball Program – $6,593 – this grant “matches” the program’s Go Fund Me initiative, allowing the program to reach its goal of $10,000 to purchase basketball and athletic equipment for the girls’ and boys’ sports teams.
  • Borrego Village Association – $10,000 for Emergency First Aid/CPR and Wilderness First Responder training programs.

Congratulations recipients!

As the largest and oldest philanthropic institution in the region, the BVEF is uniquely positioned to support the strategic development of the Borrego Valley for decades to come. Focusing attention on the region’s greatest challenges and using its resources in a targeted, disciplined manner enables the BVEF to realize its vision of Borrego Springs as a vibrant, healthy, and sustainable desert community that serves as the gateway to California’s largest state park. While the BVEF remains dedicated to its original mission of supporting healthcare, it also supports the programs of organizations in the Borrego Valley that are dedicated to addressing the educational, cultural, economic, and social needs of our 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 support programs like these or establish a donor advised fund to support the programs and causes you care most about, please visit or contact us at

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Wermers donate Frugal Coyote to BVEF

            Long-time community benefactors, Anne and Jim Wermers, donated the Frugal Coyote Thrift Shop to the Borrego Valley Endowment Fund (BVEF) on January 1, 2023. Upon completion of an in-depth review, both the Wermers and the BVEF concluded this was the optimal way to ensure the Frugal Coyote would continue its charitable mission in Borrego Springs. 

The Frugal Coyote opened for business in Borrego Springs in the early 1990’s and has operated in numerous locations over the years—Palm Canyon Dr., Avenida Nordeste, Stirrup Rd.—and for the last 15 years at its current location in The Center. Initially an independent non-profit, the Frugal Coyote merged with the Children’s Center in the 1990’s. When the Children’s Center was acquired by Borrego Community Healthcare Foundation (BCHF) in the early 2000’s, the Frugal Coyote was a part of that acquisition and came under BCHF ownership. This was a stable ownership arrangement until 2021 when overwhelming legal and regulatory challenges forced BCHF to exit many of its Borrego operations including the Children’s Center and the Frugal Coyote.

            With BCHF’s withdrawal from ownership of the Children’s Center and the Frugal Coyote, both organizations were faced with the possibility of closing. Rather than losing the Children’s Center, the Borrego Springs Youth and Senior Center agreed to take it under its non-profit umbrella, leaving the Frugal Coyote in search of a home.

            Jim and Anne Wermers stepped up to provide that home. “When we re-opened the Frugal Coyote in October 2021, there was no way to know for sure whether it was a profitable business or not. According to the Borrego Health, it operated at a loss. So, we could not honestly find a new home for the Frugal Coyote until we could show its actual financial potential,” said Jim Wermers. “So, we took a chance. We set up an independent accounting system and kept rigorous records. We pledged all profits would be kept separate and given to local non-profits. In the last quarter of 2021, Frugal generated cash flow of $24,000, all of which was given to the Children’s Center. In 2022, we were pleased to see a full year of profitability, allowing us to donate more than $37,000 to local non-profits, including to the BVEF for Frugal’s operating capital and to redistribute to other community non-profits.”

Anne Wermers noted, “We chose to donate Frugal Coyote to the BVEF because of the BVEF’s mission and commitment to support a broad range of community needs. We totally trust the BVEF, and we feel it has the vision and management expertise to serve our community for generations to come.”

            BVEF President David Garmon said, “The ownership and operation of the Frugal Coyote represent a growth step for the BVEF. Such steps were envisioned when the BVEF amended its charter in 2015 to expand its mission beyond its historical roots in healthcare to become a community foundation with a focus on the full range of community interests and concerns.” Garmon added, “The BVEF is pleased to support the Frugal Coyote’s charitable mission in our community. It is a well-run organization and is a great fit with the BVEF mission. The Frugal Coyote is blessed with wonderful management and staff. We look forward to many years of the Frugal Coyote’s continued success.”

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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