LARC Ranch, one of the Santa Clarita Valley’s longest serving nonprofits received a “beautiful” gift of $500,000 from the Annenberg Foundation, which will help the nonprofit maintain its water supply.
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The ranch, which is mired in a Bouquet Canyon water shortage that’s been stymied by bureaucracy between the federal and county governments, expects to spend about $150,000 on water by the end of the year, said Kathy Sturkey, executive director of LARC Ranch.
“This is fabulous — the Annenberg Foundation is wonderful,” Sturkey said Wednesday from the facility’s 65-acre property, where more than 100 developmentally disabled adults live full time, receiving assistance and enjoying day programs.
The half-million dollars given by Wallis Annenberg, CEO of the foundation, will go a long way to allaying concerns — and also gives an early boost to the ranch’s capital campaign, which officials expect to launch full force in January.
“We’ve gotten some wonderful contributions already,” she said, “this is dedicated money.”
The ranch hopes to establish a connection with the Santa Clarita Water District to avoid a similar situation in the future, Sturkey said, adding that could cost up to $3 million.
The high cost of a water connection is what makes the capital campaign a necessity, and also makes the donation such a big help, Sturkey said.
The organization is also planning a fundraiser for Oct. 26.
So far this year, the organization has had to spend $66,000 to truck in 3 million gallons, Sturkey said.
What was also so remarkable to Sturkey is the speed with which the gift was given, she said. Normally, nonprofits have to go through a lengthy grant application process that can take months at best.
An official from the foundation, which has given millions to support nonprofits and the arts, visited the ranch and shortly afterward, foundation Executive Director Leonard Aube called and said the foundation’s CEO wanted to donate.
The whole struggle has given new perspective to the community that has most of its residents reliant upon wells.
“Sometimes, you feel that you’re just a little place out here in the desert — and suddenly, we’re being recognized for one of the greatest needs in the world,” Sturkey said. “This whole area is in deep, deep need for water, but these are people here who are dependent on us to take care of them.”
From a previous story:
Wells are going dry for Bouquet Canyon residents, who say government inaction is threatening their water supply.
Los Angeles County officials said their hands are tied by federal officials, who OK permits for county work in the area. Forest Service officials are mandating a slow-going NEPA process, county officials said, and it’s one that must be completed before they can clear the creek. The LADWP is responsible for the reduction in the area’s creek levels.
In the meantime, two things have been made clear to residents, according to Ron Rambin, who lives in Bouquet Canyon, and relies on a private well, like many of the area’s residents: Wells in the area are running dry, and there are multiple agencies responsible.
“I’ve lived up here for 45 years,” Rambin said. “My property abuts (Angeles National Forest) on Bouquet Canyon. The issues started in 2005, but it takes several years of having no water for the wells to go dry.”
If anyone would like to donate or volunteer to support LARC Ranch, contact 661-296-8636.
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Source: Santa Clarita News