RFFI’s Good News This Fall
An Important Request
by Mark Welther, President and CEO, RFFI Inc.
Mark Welther, RFFI President & CEO
None of us has ever experienced a time quite like this. In a recent visit to the Usal Forest, I was thrilled to see redwoods growing and a landscape looking healthier than ever, a forest thriving under 13 years of RFFI management. Yet, at the same time, RFFI is approaching six months under the cloud of the coronavirus, with our office closed, our staff working remotely, and all four of our in-person fundraising events cancelled this year.
Although RFFI’s good work continues full bore, we need your continued support now more than ever. During this COVID era, we count on you and other residents of the Redwood Region for the investments so essential to our nonprofit programs.
HOW RFFI IS THRIVING
In this newsletter, Karen Youngblood and Linwood Gill report about RFFI’s exciting and innovative riparian restoration projects and sustainable timber harvests, all of which provide local community jobs. And, in May, RFFI received federal Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans, providing short-term funding that enabled us to operate fully-staffed and without interruption into the summer. This is the two-month cushion we needed when our critical fundraising efforts were sidetracked.
FORESTRY – AN ESSENTIAL ACTIVITY
Because Mendocino County classifies forestry as an essential activity, RFFI staff have maintained all of our restoration, sustainable timber harvests, biological monitoring and biochar experiments at full capacity. If you saw RFFI’s June Virtual Annual Meeting, I’m sure you were inspired by Karen’s exciting video of our stream restoration projects and Linwood’s innovative forestry tour (recorded and available at: https://www.rffi.org/annual-meeting-2020/).
Usal Redwood Forest, a 50,000 acre working community forest. Credit Jeff Becker
RFFI is closing in on the acquisition of the Reist Ranch, but we need your help. This 95-acre gem is completely contained within the Usal Forest, and has been in the same family ownership for 100 years. It has an old growth redwood and Douglas fir grove, a beautiful meadow and an historic ranch house. We also have a willing seller and need your help to raise the funds to acquire and develop the ranch. Future development ideas include an academic research station, educational center, retreat facility or field station.
CLOUDS ON THE HORIZON
All RFFI news isn’t good. PPP short-term funds are running out soon and the economic downturn has hit charitable giving hard. Donations over the next six months will be critical for RFFI to continue the essential restoration, educational, recreational and future acquisition programs that are so important to you and our forest-based communities. We can’t rely on income from timber and carbon sales, all of which is restricted to debt payments and unavailable for programs.
That’s why I am asking for your support now. We need to raise $200,000 from individual donations before the end of the year.
Please donate to RFFI today – you can contribute online. Or, if you would prefer to give stock, other property or a legacy gift, you can also give me a call at 510 459-1131. And please also encourage your friends and family to join in!
Please stay safe. Then, once the shelter-in-place lifts, let’s get out into the woods again for Usal tours and events!
Reist Ranch forest. RFFI is raising funds to purchase this redwood and Douglas fir forest. More info.