Executive Update For You from Christine Conte

June 24, 2020

Dear Tohono Chul Family,

I hope that in these turbulent times you are well and finding comfort with those you love.

Since I last wrote, a short two weeks ago, we have experienced another frightening rise of the microscopic menace here in Arizona, plus massive wildfires on the mountain. I know that some of you may be living in circumstances that allow you to feel fairly safe and calm, while others are struggling to put one foot in front of the other.

My heart goes out to each and every one of you and I’m overwhelmed with gratitude for the absolutely incredible support you’ve shown Tohono Chul under these impossibly difficult circumstances.

You have inspired and given new hope. Your messages of support. Your personal memories and stories about how much Tohono Chul has meant to you over the years. And the gifts that have flowed from your generous hands; because you know as I do that we have more than a fighting chance to save this place we love so much.

You’ve done what any good family would do. With strong resolve and calm pursuit, you stood up with us when we could not stand alone. You made it possible for us to continue bringing you and the community at large safe and enjoyable experiences through TohonoChul@home and even the first-ever virtual Bloom Night! You’ve kept our gardeners hard at work protecting the many rare and unusual plants, trees and gardens that also provide critical habitat for wildlife.

Here’s what you have accomplished.

To date, Survive and Thrive has surpassed the original challenge gift of $150K and reached over $200K! I thank each of you personally for making what seemed impossible, a reality. What this means is that with our belts cinched tightly, and the support of the Paycheck Protection Plan (due to end soon), Tohono Chul can and will survive the long hot summer with the most reasonable expectations of revenues we can retain.

You made this happen. Volunteers, members, long time donors, first-time donors, local Tucsonans and people from far and wide. You who gave a dollar and you who gave many times that amount.

For now—even though others may be opening while the virus is peaking sharply and with fewer safeguards in place than we are planning—we must remain closed. At least until we can assure you, our staff, and volunteers the safe experience everyone deserves.

But right now, we are eagerly and actively at work preparing to welcome you home, we’re creating new nature, art and cultural experiences that can be adapted to the multiple scenarios that could unfold over the coming year.

We are keeping a very close eye on the data, the research, and the various safety measures available to lessen risk. I am grateful to hear from so many that you understand and applaud this commitment to the well-being of all.

To keep moving forward, we will continue to need your generous support. Our goal is to raise another $100K to ensure we will make it through October, which is just the beginning of our top revenue-generating season.

I know I am repeating myself, but I cannot thank you enough for your patience, encouragement, and generous support. As overwhelming as the pandemic has been, your devotion and kindness have created a calm assurance that all will be well.

Warm regards,

Christine Conte, PhD

Executive Director