Our community came together to do the impossible.
When Santa Barbara’s last open space native grassland habitat became in danger of being bulldozed for the development of eight multimillion-dollar luxury mansions, over 5,500 community members joined together to stop it.
A group of community members called Save San Marcos Foothills formed as an environmental coalition. They had volunteers at the Preserve every weekend since last fall getting the word out to hikers and families about the emerging effort to buy the land in order to prevent the housing development.
Since the inception of the movement, Oniracom has supported this mission; recognizing the importance of protecting the land, and the impact that it would have on our community and environment. The purchase of the land by Foothills Forever Fund would mean helping to Create 300 Acres of Contiguous Wildlife Habitat. It would enable future Chumash stewardship, ritual and ceremony on this property to honor Chumash heritage. It would also provide environmental education opportunities and allow children and adults to explore and learn in nature close to home.
In March, the developer and CEO of Chadmar Group, halted construction on the approved housing development to let the The Foothills Forever Fund attempt to raise funds to buyout the land. He agreed to a June 2021 deadline which, if met, would stop the development and protect the San Marcos Foothills forever. The Foothills Forever Fund had just three short months to reach its fundraising goal of $18.6 million.
The community of Santa Barbara stepped up in inspiring ways for this campaign, from the indigenous youth who were arrested protesting the bulldozers, the volunteers who spent thousands of hours getting the word out about the property, to the individual donors and businesses who raised money for the foothills.
We’re proud to have backed Save San Marcos Foothills with marketing support, and to have live-streamed their benefit concert from our production studio with musicians including Santa Barbara local, Zach Gill, lending their talent to the cause. A $5 million donation came in just days before the deadline, making he impossible appear more and more within reach.
While the concert happened on May 27th, it is still available for viewing free on YouTube at http://bit.ly/foothillsforever
On Wednesday, the date of the fundraiser’s June 9 deadline, the organization announced that it had reached its fundraising goal of $18.6 million. This funding was achieved by contributions of cash, pledges, and bridge loans from over 5,500 community members, and no single entity funded 3/4 of the money.
This is a tremendous win for our community, and falls in line with Santa Barbara’s progressive history of environmentalism and tradition of fighting to preserve important habitats in our locality.
Visit the group’s website to read more about the organization, the future use of the land, details on phase 2, and to learn and all who contributed to this major milestone.