PROMOTING SUSTAINABLE development that capitalizes on Borrego Valley's spectacular beauty. Borrego Springs' evolving paradigm for economic development capitalize son the community’s unique geographic location in the center of a world class wilderness area-the Anza-Borrego Desert State Park. Borrego Springs is the gateway community to over 1,000 square miles of pristine desert habitat. Dark skies, vast vistas, Borrego sheep, and-rarest of all-stillness and quiet are just a few of the assets this region is famous for. Despite many attributes and advantages, many of Borrego Springs’ full time residents-working class, youth and seniors-face many challenges that underscore the importance, relevance, and timeliness of the BVEF’s Community Foundation initiative.
According to U.S. Census data the median household income (MHI) in Borrego Springs is $34,046. This is almost 50% less than the san Diego County MHI of $66,529 and the State of California MIH of $63,783. The MIH qualifies Borrego Springs as a Severely Disadvantaged Community by the State of California as well as an Economically Distressed Area. An estimated 11.5% of residents live below the poverty line.
How to Apply The BVEF invests in those endeavors intended to create benefits on a community-wide or regional scale.
Our goal is to raise funding to create a thriving community foundation that supports local nonprofits, (in select instances can also be individuals or private business), that launch initiatives and implement programs that sustain and grow the community of Borrego Springs, serve our vulnerable seniors and youth, and sustain our environment. The BVEF aspires to focus funding on areas that are of critical importance to the Borrego region including, but not limited to:
Senior Citizens – Our population is aging rapidly – by the year 2030 1 in 5 Borrego residents will be 65 or older. This growth will put enormous strain on existing resources for vulnerable seniors. 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. Recent studies have estimated that more than one-third of our Seniors live below 185% of the FLP and are “food insecure.” Additionally, this population is often challenged to obtain affordable, appropriate healthcare. Therefore the BVEF seeks to invest in activities and initiatives that:
- Develop self-sustaining programs aimed at securing the basic needs of this population, such as food, shelter, and access to healthcare.
- Enable seniors to live their lives on their own terms with access to high-quality health and support services that preserve and protect dignity, quality of life, and independence.
Youth – Recent studies estimate that 87% of school-age children in our community live in poverty and experience food insecurity.
Societies have long been measured by how they respond to, and care for, their most vulnerable populations. The BVEF has determined children are a particularly vulnerable populations in our community. Recent studies estimate 87% of school age children in our community are live in households earning below the Federal Poverty Level (FPL) and are “food insecure.” Therefore the BVEF seeks to invest in activities and initiatives that:
- Develop self-sustaining programs aimed at securing the basic needs of children, such as food, shelter, education, and access to healthcare.
- Develop programs and organizations that maximize opportunities for Children in our community to lead happy productive lives.
Education – Rural schools often consolidate with neighboring districts to save money, but because we are geographically isolated, this has not been an option for Borrego Springs. A quality education in Borrego Springs costs more than in other California cities, and our local tax base is inadequate to fund it.
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.
Governance – Borrego Springs exists in something of a local governmental vacuum. It is too small to 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 BVEF 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.
- 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.
Other areas of critical need for our community include - Work Force Development & Skills Training, Food Security, Affordable Housing and Transportation