Foothills Forever Announces Fundraising Milestone

By Nick Schou   |   May 6, 2021
Hiking along the West Mesa of the San Marcos Foothills

The campaign to purchase the West Mesa of the San Marcos Foothills is nearing the finish line but Foothills Forever, which has been raising cash for the conservation effort, is still looking for last-minute angel investors. This week, the group announced a partnership with Allemall Foundation, which recently helped the Redwood Coast Land Conservancy complete the purchase of the Mill Bend Conservation Project in Mendocino County.

“The moment that we learned of the community efforts to save this important grassland open space, we knew we wanted to help,” said Ed Scott, Executive Director of the Allemall Foundation. “We can’t do it alone, but we can help the Santa Barbara community with additional resources, to help meet your incredibly tight timeline.”

Supervisor Gregg Hart also praised the efforts of Allemall Foundation, stating “this gives us an increased opportunity to meet the challenge for local residents to save this precious land.”

“Saving the San Marcos Foothills continues our community’s legacy of permanently saving threatened open space lands for the community’s use. The Douglas Family Preserve, Carpinteria Bluffs, Sperling Preserve at Ellwood, and many of the open spaces important to our community, all faced these fundraising challenges,” said Marc Chytilo, an attorney for the campaign.

With that in mind, the group is hoping that the public can help contribute to the last stages of the fundraising campaign. 

“We now need angel donors to step up, as well as the wider community to continue to support the campaign,” explained Peter Schuyler, co-chair of the fundraising campaign. Over 3,500 individuals, businesses, and foundations have contributed more than $7.6 million in cash and pledges to date, plus a short-term loan from Montecito Bank & Trust, to meet the terms of the purchase agreement. “An additional $12.4 million is needed before the June 1 deadline, to secure the legacy,” he added.

“Our task as we navigate this last and largest fundraising goal to buy and protect the San Marcos Foothills West Mesa is to remember that every one of us can benefit from this land as public open space, and every donation large and small helps us achieve that goal,” said Marianne Parra, a member of the campaign leadership team.

Parra noted that during the week of Earth Day, “It is important that we protect the land in perpetuity for every one of us, toddler to elder, winged, two legs, four legs, eight legs, and those who slither. These 101 acres feel like 20,000, with wide expansive views and incredible beauty for all to enjoy.” 

Campaign volunteers are providing docent-led tours from 10-11:30 am every Saturday and Sunday through the Month of May. Tours may also be scheduled through To find out more about this once-in-a-lifetime effort, including information on how to donate through the Santa Barbara Foundation, sign up for tours of the property, or register for an informational Zoom meeting, go to


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