San Diego County Endowed Program Funds

Welcome to our San Diego County program page. We’ve tailored our local programs to benefit our core operation areas and to match our expertise. Hopefully, your visit to these pages indicates your interest in both conservation and philanthropy. Please take the time to read about each of our fund programs to find one that interests you and in which you see important benefits. 90% of your donation is deposited directly into a locally managed endowment fund of your choosing. When we find a project (property) that deserves support we are able to use a portion of the endowment to support, fully or in part, the purchase of a the property or the establishment of a conservation easement. Our hope is that our donors will support not only the essence of our programs but also the the enhancement of the lands and species they benefit. If you have suggestions of other projects and that would fit with our philosophy and goals, please let us know. We are also ready, willing, and able to work with you on tailoring your donation(s) to best suit your donor ideals.

At present we have two funds established for San Diego County. Here’s a brief description of each:

I. The Orphan Preserve Fund

Distributed throughout San Diego County is a system of open space and mitigation properties that are minimally managed or managed not at all. Many of these are the result of the unusual occasion of a filed land trust. However, “there’s no set process for transferring a trust’s easements, and it can get complicated if there are a lot of easements or if some have problems”, says Larry Kueter, a conservation attorney and board member of the Land Trust Alliance. However, conservation easements represent a major component of the development infrastructure process. Because of legal mandates and the obvious benefit citizens receive from the creation of open space areas, it’s important that easements aren’t orphaned.

Our Orphan Preserve Fund is designed to rectify this situation. Designed to support the already financially-strapped municipalities that harbor these preserves, the Orphan Preserve Fund will allow us to help fund stewardship on orphaned properties; to adopt orphaned properties where ownership or easement holding are in question, or to find an alternative solution (e.g. amalgamation with an adjacent preserve) to ensure that the land is both aesthetically and functionally preserved and managed.  

The Orphan Preserve Fund will also be used to explore the potential acquisition of abandoned industrial lands and fallow agricultural lands for possible conversion to open space or park lands.

Here’s a brief outline on the benefits that open space areas offer to local communities:

  • Experiencing nature and the outdoors helps to refresh the mind from the mental fatigue of work or academic studies and contributes to improved work and scholastic performance and satisfaction.
  • Urban nature, which we find in parks, greenways, and open space areas provides calming and inspiring environments that encourage learning, inquisitiveness, and an alert mind.
  • Green spaces – such as greenbelts and parks – provide opportunities for physical activity & exercise, which improve cognitive function, learning, and memory.
  • Contact with nature helps children to develop cognitive, emotional, and behavioral connections to a world so near (physically) yet so far (mentally) from everyday life.
  • Nature experiences for young AND old are important for encouraging imagination and creativity, cognitive and intellectual development, and social relationships.
  • Symptoms of Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) in children can be reduced through activity in green settings, thus “green time” can act as an effective supplement to traditional medicinal and behavioral treatments.
  • Outdoor activities can help alleviate symptoms of Alzheimer’s, dementia, stress, and depression.

If you live in a coastal San Diego county community or in the vicinity of one of these orphaned preserves, this is a great opportunity for you to support your community and perhaps even your neighborhood.

II. The Species of Special Concern Research Grant Fund

Each year, for every $100,000.00 accumulated in our Special Concern Research Grant Fund, we will award a $5,000 stipend to a student, non-profit organization, or Native American tribe in order to conduct field research into the basic natural history of a San Diego County resident species of special concern (e.g., western spadefoot, two-striped garter snake, coastal cactus wren, California mastiff bat, etc.). Candidates may not be employed by a for-profit organization or be taking a leave of absence for the purposes of applying for this grant. Awardees may not contract with a for-profit organization to conduct the proposed research.

Areas of inquiry may include but are not limited to the following:

  1. Climate-change based variations to natural history, including habitat and elevation shifting;
  2. Development of a climate-based phenological description of the chosen species;
  3. Distribution of poorly known species;
  4. Surveys of historic areas in which a species is known from historic records but for which nor recent records have been documented; and
  5. Basic natural history inquiry into a poorly studied species.   

Candidates must show scholastic proficiency in biological or related sciences as well as the field methods proposed for the study. Through the application process, applicants must describe the purpose of the study including how the study goals will help to promote survivorship of the species.

Although all appropriate state and federal permits (e.g., MOUs, scientific collecting permits, etc.) will be required to conduct the fieldwork, the permits need not be in hand at the time an application is submitted. If the necessary permits are not in hand, a statement supporting reasonable expectancy for receipt of such permits must be addressed in the candidate’s application, which may be supported by statements from appropriate state and federal permitting staff.

Awardees will be determined on a competitive basis. Each awardee will be required to submit a completed application accompanied by two letters of recommendation from industry professions, at least one of whom served as the candidate’s supervisor in his/her volunteer or work position(s). Additional criteria will include the following:

  1. A well thought-out and described study purpose, methods, and goals;
  2. Our assessment of the potential for the proposed study to be conducted as proposed; and
  3. The presentation of a rationale that explains how and why the study will benefit the survivorship of the chosen species;
  4. A simple budget of what the stipend will be used for; and
  5. Of specific importance to our determination process will be the documentation from peer-reviewed scientific articles, listing packages, etc. that such a study itself will be valuable to conservation and/or recovery of the chosen species.

The successful candidates will be chosen by a vote of The PCCA Board along with two local professionals working in the field of wildlife or conservation-oriented biology.

Recipients will be able to use their award to purchase supplies for their study, compensation for study and travel time, and other related expenses. The outline for reporting, including the format of the expected final report will be addressed in the application package. Awardees WILL be able to apply for additional grant monies in successive years but will need to compete with all other candidates in each subsequent application year.