FALLBROOK – The Fallbrook Land Conservancy has launched a new fundraising program that not only helps support its conservation efforts, but it also benefits local business owners.
It’s called Village Green, “a way for people to support the FLC as they go about their regular errands in town,” said Susan Liebes, vice chairman of the FLC’s board of directors, who unveiled the charitable giving program at a recent Chamber of Commerce “Sundowner,” held at the historic Palomares House and Park in Fallbrook.
When a business owner joins Village Green, Liebes explained, he or she agrees to add a one percent charge to each customer’s bill or invoice, which is then donated to the FLC. “Customers of businesses that have partnered with us will automatically be contributing one percent of their purchase, which amounts to a penny for every dollar.
And if customers don’t wish to participate? “They have the choice to opt out,” Liebes added.
The Village Green program is promoted with the tagline, “Small Donations, Big Impact” because while the amounts charged to any one person will be insignificant, “these small donations will add up to an important source of funding for the FLC,” she said.
Funds generated through the Village Green program will help maintain recreation areas maintained by the FLC, including Monserate Mountain, Los Jilgueros and Hellers Bend preserves, as well as support Fallbrook’s tree-lined downtown and environmental education programs in local elementary schools.
In turn, the FLC will promote business partners on its website and in social media, as well as through signage, and member communications, Liebes said. “We hope the Village Green program will be a benefit to the Fallbrook economy and will encourage residents and visitors to shop locally.”
It has been nearly a year since Liebes was first inspired to start Village Green while on vacation in Ojai, where she learned about the Ojai Valley Land Conservancy and its successful “Wild About Ojai” business partner program.
“Ojai is very similar to Fallbrook,” Liebes said. “It’s a small town, distinct from the sprawl of Southern California, with a thriving local economy and a community that, like Fallbrook, takes care of its own.”
Liebes developed Village Green with guidance from the OVLC, forming a committee of volunteers including Megan Gamble, a former member of the FLC’s board of directors and longtime supporter; and Jennifer Anderson and Lydia Rossi, who are current members of the board. Rossi designed the Village Green logo and other promotional materials.
Manor Cleaners, which is owned and managed by Paul Mungo, was the first business to partner in Village Green as a “beta test” before the program was officially launched in July, Liebes said.
“Like Paul, Fallbrook’s business owners have always supported the non-profits in our community by giving as much as they could to local organizations and events. A small business’ resources are limited, however, and they can only give so much. The great thing about Village Green is that it costs businesses nothing to participate and they receive significant marketing by doing so.”
“It is a way for business owners to show that they support the FLC and to ask their customers to do the same,” Liebes added.
In addition to Manor Cleaners, 10 local businesses have partnered with the FLC in the Village Green program. They include five realtors from HomeSmart’s Fallbrook office: Gary Blankenship, Jerry Kalman, Debbie Loge, Tom Metier, and Bob Miller, all of whom have agreed to donate one percent of their net commissions from each transaction to Village Green; Susannah Levicki of Capitis Real Estate, Bob Hillery of CR Properties, Mimi’s Boutique and The Spoiled Avocado.
Another four businesses have pledged to partner in the program: Costello’s Auto Repair; Fallbrook Rib Shack; Firehouse Que & Brew, and Sage Yoga Studios. Also, the Village News has signed on as a media partner.
“We feel it’s a great opportunity to help the FLC and I think our customers will want to be a part of it,” said Heather Howard of Mimi’s Boutique and The Spoiled Avocado, located in downtown Fallbrook. “It’s an easy way for them to give back to the community.”
Reina Beckley, owner of Sage Yoga Studios, is a Fallbrook native and new business owner who plans to partner in the program in an effort “to do everything possible to help our community and give back where I can,” she said. “I’m thrilled to be a part of it and excited about what the land conservancy is doing.”
For more information about the FLC or its Village Green program, visit fallbrooklandconservancy.org.