Sedona AZ (April 3, 2013) – In recent weeks, the residents of Sedona have once again made it clear, through their responses to the community’s future visioning process, that they are intensely aware of the rare beauty but also the fragility and vulnerability of the Oak Creek-Sedona red rock environment. They feel the need to preserve and protect because the threats seem to come from so many directions: unauthorized trail-making, e-coli levels in the watershed, underfunding of state parks, heavy and multiple use of forest lands, even simple campfire carelessness. A community of a few thousand, some of the nation’s most stunning natural scenery, and annual visitation reaching into the millions are, to say the least, a challenging mixture.
For years, the Sedona Community Foundation has shared these concerns and has tried to meet the challenges by working through its granting process to support local nonprofit organizations, which are engaging frontally with the environmental dilemmas of our region. For example, over the past two years SCF support for a relatively new organization, the Verde Valley Cyclist Coalition, has been intended to aid in monitoring safe and responsible use of forest lands by mountain bikers, one of the fastest growing recreational groups in red rock country. Over many years, too, the Foundation has awarded grants to one of our most established nonprofits, Sedona Recycles, to fund expanded facilities – in Oak Creek Canyon, for instance – and to hire workers in coordination with Rainbow Acres.
The quality of the Oak Creek watershed – so heavily used by residents and visitors alike – is a perennial issue and the Foundation was pleased this year not only to continue funding support for the vital work of the Oak Creek Watershed Council in educating the public on proper stewardship of the watershed, but to recognize the Council as its Nonprofit Organization of the Year. At the same time, with the decline in state funding for the state park system over the past several years, the Foundation has helped the Benefactors of Red Rock State Park to continue their educational efforts with our schoolchildren through the School Connections program, so that the next generation will understand the vital importance – and complexity – of the environment that we call home.
Some of the organizations supported by the Sedona Community Foundation are concerned more directly with improving awareness and appreciation of specific aspects of our environment. The Hummingbird Society held its first annual symposium last year – an opportunity to learn more about these gems of the air and their local patterns of living and sojourning, often right in our own backyards. The SCF has been pleased to help this nascent organization develop. Our support of Gardens for Humanity will help that organization model ways of establishing healthy ways of eating and living in our community as well.
American history is filled with artists and writers celebrating the various regions of the national domain. Writers as diverse as Henry Thoreau, Annie Dillard, John Muir, Wallace Stegner, John McPhee and Edward Abbey stand in a long tradition to remind us that we are dependent upon – really inseparable from – the natural world surrounding us. Sedona is so awesomely beautiful that it is sometimes also worth reminding ourselves that it is not a postcard picture we are looking at, but a living, breathing, vulnerable world that supports us. And that it is a serious, ongoing obligation to care for it in return. The Sedona Community Foundation takes that obligation seriously and is proud of work done by those agencies and individuals who assume it as well.
Founded in 1993, the Sedona Community Foundation secures, manages and allocates donor gifts for charitable purposes in the Sedona area, working to improve the quality of life for all residents. Since its inception, the foundation has made more than $1.3 million in grants to local nonprofits.
The Sedona Community Foundation currently manages 24 funds built on gifts of cash, stock, annuities, personal property, business interests and real estate. The foundation is a regional affiliate of the Arizona Community Foundation, one of the largest philanthropic organizations in Arizona. Affiliates enjoy centralized financial management, marketing and administrative resources, allowing local staff and volunteers to focus on community needs. To make a tax-deductible contribution to the Sedona Community Foundation, call 282-2042, or mail your gift to The Sedona Community Foundation, P. O. Box 558, Sedona, AZ 86339.