22 July 2012
Dear friends of Fort Ross,
The Fort Ross Conservancy’s board of directors is deeply dismayed to learn that California State Parks appears to have hidden over 50M in surplus funds while positioning California State Parks to be in dire financial straits. This budget crisis caused severe service reductions at Fort Ross, and it shifted all bicentennial‐related fundraising to FRC as well. However, while we expect complete transparency from our state government, we will also reserve judgment until all the facts are unearthed in the coming weeks.
For FRC, our organizational goal remains unchanged: Fort Ross Conservancy connects people to the history and beauty of Fort Ross and Salt Point State Parks. To that end, we will continue to work for and support our parks. We will continue to work closely with our local parks staff, whom we respect a great deal. And we will lobby hard to get Fort Ross open seven days a week for the remaining high season of its bicentennial.
It is also important to note that the Fort Ross Conservancy is a wholly independent not‐for profit 501(c)(3), in operation since 1976. We support ourselves solely through gift shop sales, grants, membership, and donations; all funds donated to FRC are tracked and spent appropriately. In May of this year, our treasurer Jan Phelps submitted our financials for outside review. We hired Susan E. Goranson, a CPA who specializes in non‐profits and cooperating associations, to complete our 990 for 2011 and review our practices with the goal of complete transparency. This review is under way and the results will be available at our August board meeting.
Again, we want to thank our friends and supporters for all they’ve done for Fort Ross & Salt Point, and we ask for your continued support as this story, and our bicentennial, unfold. Please don’t hesitate to call us with any questions or concerns.
Sarah Sweedler, for the Fort Ross Conservancy Board of Directors