The acquisition of Vendovi Island in December 2010 is arguably the most significant conservation effort undertaken in the history of the Preservation Trust. In the Fall of 2010, Vendovi was put up for sale at auction. At stake was a 217-acre, virtually untouched island with nearly three miles of shoreline, abundant wildflower fields and lush fern forests. The Preservation Trust acted swiftly and, with the financial backing of one visionary individual, we were successful in the auction and subsequent negotiations.
In December 2010, the Preservation Trust purchased Vendovi Island for $6.4 million — approximately half of its appraised value. This acquisition required the Trust to take a calculated risk. The generous support from our anonymous lead donor came in two forms: a $3 million outright gift and a $3.4 million bridge loan (the very first loan ever assumed by the organization). Subsequent gifts have reduced the outstanding loan balance by approximately $1.3 million to $2.1 million.
Our goal is to retain ownership, protect sensitive areas and provide the public with ongoing access to the wonders of this island. The more we learn about Vendovi, the more fascinating it becomes. For example, an archaeological survey indicates that it was likely used by native cultures as a seasonal fishing camp, as it is adjacent to a migratory route for Fraser River Sockeye salmon. Middens dating back to the 19th century indicate that Vendovi also provided natives with productive shellfish beds. The University of Washington Herbarium noted that the Vendovi wildflower displays rival any in Western Washington for their diversity. Local ornithologists have observed raptors (including Peregrine falcons and Long-eared owls) and a very healthy colony of nesting pigeon guillemots. Each of these discoveries has reconfirmed that the financial risk our trustees took last December was well worth our best efforts to protect this gem of an island.
Recognizing that if we are not able to pay off the bridge loan, we will have no choice but to re-sell the island, an anonymous donor made a generous $1 million challenge grant. Currently, we are 60% of the way towards achieving the terms of this challenge, having received contributions totaling $600,000 within the deadlines of the challenge grant. These gifts will be matched on a one to one basis.
Terms of the $1 million grant
–$ 250,000 before October 1, 2011 – achieved and matched with $250,000!
–$ 350,000 before October 1, 2012 — ACHIEVED… and matched with $350,000!
and now we’re working towards…
–$ 400,000 before October 1, 2013
Fundraising for the third and final phase of the challenge grant is well underway, towards a goal of raising $400,000 by October 2013 which, if attained, will also be matched. Success with this final goal will ensure that the Preservation Trust will be in a very strong position to retain and provide public access to this enchanted island.
If you have questions or would like to make a donation to the Campaign to Save Vendovi, please contact Barbara Courtney, Director of Philanthropy, at 360/376-2431 or email@example.com.