For my friends in Loreto, BCS, Mexico
A Keep Loreto Magical message:
On behalf of the board, staff, advisors and other members of The Ocean Foundation community, I wish all who share our commitment to the beauty and, yes, magic of Loreto, a happy new year! As part of our year-end accounting, we realized that we had reached an important milestone. The Ocean Foundation’s support for coastal and marine conservation in Loreto has now passed the $2.5 million-dollar mark (US)! If we add the value of TOF staff time, our support of Loreto is even greater.
I have been visiting Loreto yearly for over 30 years and did my own modest forms of travelers’ philanthropy over the years. And, we really became engaged with formal philanthropy when we created the Fundación de Bahía de Loreto A.C. to receive 1% of gross sales (and re-sales) from the sustainable green resort development known as the Villages of Loreto Bay via a deed requirement. This legally remains to this day, although it has not been honored for some time. It was and is a requirement of the Fonatur master development agreement for the Nopoló project. I have asked Citibank, Homex, and Grupo CARSO to honor the clause. I am told that some sub-condo homeowners associations have removed the requirement from their condo regime agreements, and that home owners have taken that language out of their individual fideicomisos. We have no plans to make an issue out of this; giving back to the community needs to be from the heart.
Regardless, from 2004 through 2009, we received US $1.2 million through this 1% mechanism, which allowed us to make grants in and for Loreto. This included support for environmental conservation, arts and culture, health and emergency services, spaying and neutering street animals, support for schools and internados, and much more. Read the cumulative philanthropic support report here. And, the specifics for 2004 to 2008 can be found here.
As part of its continuing commitment to Loreto, The Ocean Foundation has sought grant money to support Keep Loreto Magical activities from the Conservation Alliance (outdoor clothing manufacturers), private foundations, and via two Noche Mágica events. This has amounted to about US $150K for Loreto. Inspired by the Noche Mágica giving, a long-time TOF donor recently gave us US $50K for the legal work necessary for the Nopoló Park Project. In addition, using donations from other sources, we conducted almost $100K in legal research on the threat of mining to Loreto. Read more here.
Other activities that have benefited the region financially include:
Hosting a NW Mexico Science Symposium in Loreto at a cost of about $200,000, which does not include what visitors spent on their own in the community;
Our partnership with Stanford Hopkins Marine Station to host a squid research lab focused on the Gulf of California (SURMAR) on which we have cumulatively spent about US$100,000;
Just under US$475,000 in grants and donations to local, regional and national NGOs that have directly benefited Loreto:
- Grupo Tortugero de las Californias (and the two International Sea Turtle Society meetings held in Loreto)
- Pro Esteros
- Noroeste Sustentable
- Pro Peninsula, with me serving on its board
- Proyecto Caguama
- Iemanya Oceanographica
- Eco-Alianza Loreto for primary school education programs, sponsorship of the annual calendar (with thanks to Richard Jackson’s talent and vision), contributions to its annual galas, and, who knows how much I have personally spent at its live and silent auctions over the years? I might add that for those gifts my family is particularly grateful.
- And, the TOF Board has agreed to permit me to contribute my time to Keep Loreto Magical activities and to serve as a member of Eco-Alianza Loreto’s Advisory Board.
Our Board shares my pride in our ability to support Loreto’s coastal and marine resources, as well as the people who depend on them, because we know just how special Loreto is. Even without the tourism designation as magical, Loreto would still be magical---and all of us who have the privilege of visiting or living in the municipality are blessed to do so.