BORREGO SPRINGS is in the midst of evolving a new paradigm of economic development as a consequence of the 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, the uniqueness, and the 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.
How to Apply The BVEF invests in those endeavors intended to create benefits on a community-wide or regional scale.
PAST GRANT FUNDING
The Tubb Canyon Desert Conservancy (TCDC) - developed a three-phase program for finding a biocontrol solution to the infestation of Sahara mustard that is destroying desert habitat throughout the southwestern United States. Using a grant from the Borrego Valley Endowment Fund, TCDC shared the results of the first two phases of its program with national parks, state parks, and government agencies across the Southwest, resulting in more than 40 letters that prompted 12 members of the US House of Representatives to request the USDA make phase three of TCDC’s program—the discovery and testing of biocontrol agents for Sahara mustard—a priority in its 2020-2025 Work Plan - $7,000
Borrego Springs Civic Foundation – $1,875
Borrego Springs Educational Foundation – $20,000 for High School Interpretive Course
Borrego Springs Performing Arts Association – $7,297
Borrego Springs Unified School District – $10,000 for Middle School Science Camp and matching funds for the school bus
Borrego Valley Stewardship Council for Sustainability – $27,500
Boys & Girls Club – $10,000 for Healthy Lifestyle Program
Christmas Circle Community Park – $8,000 for operating expenses.
Community Concert Association – $16,000
Local Gov’t Commission Community Water Consultant – $38,000
San Diego Hunger Coalition – $28,000 to fight rural hunger in Borrego Springs
Soroptimist Dream It, Live Your Dream Programs – $5,620
St. Barnabus Emergency Food Assistance program – $3,600
UC Irvine Air Quality Study – $66,883 to improve understanding and inform mitigation efforts related to air quality issues in the Borrego region