A Letter from the Executive Director

March 25, 2020

Dear Family,

It is heartbreaking to be writing to you about how the COVID-19 pandemic is affecting our beloved Tohono Chul.

But because you are family, we must be open, honest and supportive of one another throughout this challenging time. We are bound together by a shared love of the Sonoran Desert and we are grieving the loss of all we had planned to celebrate the glorious Sonoran spring season with you.

As new life blossoms in our beloved desert home, a microscopic virus has halted life as we know it.  Our glorious Sonoran spring slammed shut.  Stopped in the midst of the most abundant and prosperous time for Tohono Chul.  And now, in the heart of the season for programs, visitors and revenues that would have carried us through the summer.

Canceling spring programs and closing the grounds was the right thing to do.  Now, with so much uncertainty, it is very difficult to plan for the future.  But the safety and health of the Tohono Chul family and the larger community will remain first and foremost.  

I will keep in close touch with you even though we cannot do so in person.  I will share where we are, what is happening and ways that your help can carry us through together. 

The Board of Directors understands that ours is no ordinary staff. They are the most dedicated, creative, productive and loyal anyone could hope for. With this in mind, and because staff exceeded expectations and provided a bit of a financial cushion for this month, the Board of Directors approved paying all staff with meaningful work to do through May.  They also recognize that If we must remain closed throughout the summer, we need time to prepare.

Even though we have only 30 staff members, salary is our single greatest budget line.  I invite you to go online to make a gift to help meet this vital family need. Simply go to tohonochul.org and select Vital Needs.

My thoughts remain with you and your families. You are the hope that we can get through this together and I don’t take that for granted.  Thank you for all that you do.  Please be well.

With gratitude, 

Christine Conte, PhD

Executive Director