Together, We Did It

Together, We Did It
Exploring Duncan Creek, one of the Preserve the Wonder campaign properties. (photographer: Debbie Asakawa)

Saturday, June 2, 2018

By Kevin Gorman
Executive Director

Last week, we crossed the finish line of a three-year journey as we passed the $5.5 million goal in our Preserve the Wonder land acquisition campaign, finishing with over $5.6 million raised. Together, we protected eight properties (seven purchased and one donated) and created funds for stewardship and our Gorge Towns to Trails work. Over 1,630 people gave gifts from five dollars to $1 million to make this happen.
We are humbled and deeply grateful for this outpouring of generosity. It demonstrates the love and commitment all of us share for the Columbia Gorge. This generosity translates into protection of endangered turtles, connections for future trails and preservation of land from development forever. And while the Preserve the Wonder campaign is now coming to an end, the resources you’ve given Friends will help us as we continue for years to come.

We will share more details about the final outcome of the campaign in the coming weeks and months. But in the meantime, I want to personally thank everyone who made this possible: donors, staff, board, campaign committee members, and volunteers. And I want to especially recognize three staff who played an essential role in this accomplishment and are no longer with the organization:
  • Kate McBride, our first land trust employee, who negotiated the land transactions of the seven purchased properties and jumped through numerous hurdles to make these purchases a reality. Kate retired at the end of 2017 but has continued to contract with us in 2018 to support our land trust accreditation work;
  • Kyle Broeckel, our former development assistant who was critical setting up our internal infrastructure so we could handle this massive fundraising effort; and
  • Sandy Wright, our development director for nine years who finished her tenure at Friends at the end of May and is moving on to new endeavors. During her tenure, the organization grew significantly and she was instrumental to the success of the $5.5 million Preserve the Wonder campaign. The organization thanks Sandy for her hard work and passion for the Columbia Gorge.
Thank you! We couldn’t have done it without you. Now that we own these properties, stay tuned for updates on how you can help steward them in the years to come. And consider joining us on July 15, 2018 for our Picnic in Paradise and give us a chance to personally thank you! It will be held on Thunder Island in Cascade Locks.

Above photo: Kevin Gorman (center) with campaign committee co-chairs Debbie Asakawa (left) and Gwen Farnham (right). (photographer: Brandon Davis)

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