By Megan Medeiros, Executive Director
We received a huge boost last November with a generous gift from Richard and Beth DeAtley. The couple gave $500,000 dedicated to our legislative advocacy program.
Their dedication to the environment can be traced back to their childhoods. “I grew up in Idaho, a state of great beauty, with pine forests and mountains, working on my uncle’s family farm,” says Richard. Beth “grew up in the Virginia countryside, surrounded by trees and landscape. We took for granted that it would always be beautiful.”
Richard and Beth were both raised in households where conservation and the environment were a part of life. Around the time Committee for Green Foothills was founded, when large cities were paving over the countryside, Beth’s parents and their neighbors banded together to prevent subdividing of parcels of less than five acres.
Both Richard and Beth moved to the San Francisco Bay Area before they met with hopes of living where incredible scenic beauty surrounds bustling cities filled with visionary people open to new ideas. “I can’t think of anything worse than being surrounded by buildings and cement all the time,” says Richard, “I feel best when I’m surrounded by nature and greenery, and I want to do what I can to protect what we have left.”
Richard was the President of West Coast Aggregates (WCA), a quarrying firm, and will be the first to say that he’s always been an industrial-type guy. But, he says, “I was very mindful about declaring that our motto was ‘An environmentally concerned company.’ This byline meant something to me. We wanted to tell the world that we cared.”
In 2014 a long permitting process for WCA’s quarry expansion just a few miles east of Half Moon Bay came to an end unopposed by the California Coastal Commission because of the environmental initiatives Mr. DeAtley championed. Among the many mitigations offered by WCA was giving back two-thirds of the property with an easement funded in perpetuity.
About Committee for Green Foothills, Richard and Beth say, “It’s an organization that has our trust. Those who develop need to learn to coexist with the environment. We need to protect our local landscapes.”
The DeAtley’s extraordinary gift, one of the largest ever given to our organization, will help fund our advocacy efforts long into the future. And not only will our work be helped tremendously, but the entire area surrounding the WCA quarry also will benefit from the environmental commitment made by the DeAtleys.
The gift comes via a donor-advised fund from the Silicon Valley Community Foundation. It is earmarked for the legislative advocacy program and will have a maximum annual draw of $75,000. Combined with the annual giving from our members, the gift will protect our three advocate staff positions for many years to come. If you are interested in making a designated gift to support our legislative advocacy program, as the DeAtley’s did, I hope you will let us know.