July 2012 Update — Campaign to Save Vendovi Island

In the past few months, there has been an explosion of activity with the Campaign to Save Vendovi Island. In short:

  • a spectacular spring wildflower display came and went;
  • over 500 visitors were charmed by the island;
  • we received several gifts, including a fantastic gift of $250,000, putting us past our October 2012 goal and enabling us to shift into gear for the third and final phase of our $1 million challenge grant.

First, the wildflowers!

The season began with blankets of white fawn lilies greeting visitors right off the dock. They were followed by prolific fields of paintbrush, spring gold, chocolate lilies, camas, death camas and broad-leafed stonecrop. Clearly they are irresistible to photographers.

Then, the visitors!

People wanted to see the wildflowers. Between April and June, the Preservation Trust hosted several trips out of Anacortes and Bellingham for SJPT members and prospective supporters of the Vendovi campaign. The Bellingham Rotary made Vendovi their summer outing destination. Additional groups came from San Juan and Orcas Islands as a result of winning bids at charity auctions, and campaign advocates brought visitors in their own private boats.

Thanks in particular to Steve Hopley (a direct descendent of the first homesteaders on Vendovi) and Ferdi Businger (SJPT land counselor) who brought neighbors from Samish and Sinclair Islands, respectively. Private boaters came. And kayakers came, both independently and in groups. (We welcome the Washington Kayak Club as Vendovi stewards.) We estimate that in just three months’ time, Vendovi has been visited by more than 500 people. We anticipate many more visitors as the summer progresses.

And, the fundraising…

Over the past six months, several gifts totaling approximately $100,000 were received for Vendovi Island. Then, recognizing that Vendovi Island is the “crown jewel” of the San Juans, a wonderful couple stepped forward with a gift of $250,000. Their generosity and that of several other individuals and organizations, has brought us to our 2012 target of $350,000. We have now earned the $350,000 match!

However, we are already working to raise the final $400,000 of the challenge. Within the $1 million challenge, we have two additional donors who have stepped up with their own challenges. One of these donors will match one gift of $50,000 or two gifts of $25,000. The Samish Island community is keen on collectively providing one of those gifts. Another couple will match every gift from members of the Sinclair Island community, up to $25,000. Community matching funds to match matches and matching to meet community challenges! All for a good cause…to permanently protect the “crown jewel” of the San Juan archipelago.

It appears to us that many, many people care about this effort to protect Vendovi for its natural assets and for human enjoyment! Stay tuned, and if you’ve not already done so, please join the effort!