Executive Update For You from Christine Conte

November 19, 2020

Dear Tohono Chul Family,

In case you haven’t guessed, Tohono Chul family, my Mission is to bring you Good News.

Not good news dressed in unrealistic optimism. Or good news graded on a curve. Real, honest-to-goodness Good News. And it’s here.

But first, the context. Because real good news shines against a murky background…

Here’s what’s going on, right now.

  • Fall Plant Sale. Despite the pandemic and the reduced number of helping hands, Tohono Chul staff found a safe and enjoyable solution for bringing you the annual Fall Plant Sale. The staff is exhausted, but happy to provide you with gardening therapy.

  • Classes and Workshops. Either socially distanced on the grounds or via Zoom, many experienced the fun of making artful creations—from Mosaic sugar skulls and Electrocuted Gourds, to learning the graceful art of pruning.

  • The Retail Greenhouse. Up and running at full speed. Although we have our work cut out for us in the propagation areas that support its success, the greenhouse is a shining example of challenges overcome.

  • In Bloom. Caesalpinia cacalaco is currently alight with bright yellow flowering spikes attracting Hummingbirds and bees to the Ethnobotany Garden.

  • New Plantings. In the Ethnobotany Garden, planting has finally begun to the benefit of your palate at the Garden Bistro: cilantro, parsley, dill, Cimarron lettuce and peas.

  • Holiday Spirit. COVID put the kibosh on our big Holiday Nights celebration. But there’s plenty of uniquely Sonoran Desert Holiday items waiting for you in the shops and Virtual Santa Visits

Good news, right here, right now. And every single bit, a brilliant point of light, thanks to you. We move forward.

In my last letter, I shared with you that even with our best efforts, until the end of the pandemic, normal revenue streams would not begin to return. Now, with COVID cases surging across the country, the return to some version of normal is still elusive and unpredictable.

Also in that letter, I asked you—our family of donors, board members, members, volunteers, and friends—to help sustain Tohono Chul into next year by stepping up, once again, this time to raise $200K before January.

So, here we are. Mid-November.

At this moment, your effort in response to this enormous $200K challenge has launched us just about to the halfway mark. We are close to raising 50% of the challenge, with commitments totaling nearly $100K since October 1.

Is this surprising? Did I think that with about 6 weeks to go in the year, we’d be within striking distance of the goal? Yes, it’s surprising. I’m stunned. But somehow I knew you’d find a way to get us on track to hit the target.

This is Good News. Big-picture Good News. And at this time of thanks and giving, I ask that you continue your support of our beautiful desert oasis. In the December letter, I fully expect to be writing, “You crushed it!” Really. You can do it.

Tohono Chul is open because of you and for you. There’s no other reason why. You top the list for my thanks at this Thanksgiving holiday. The raised glass is for all of you.

My best wishes to the entire Tohono Chul family for a happy and safe holiday. See you soon.

Warm regards,

Christine Conte, PhD

Executive Director