GUALALA, CA, 2/16/23 — After a fast-moving overnight fire destroyed its two oldest buildings on Monday, the Gualala Community Center Board of Directors is beginning fundraising efforts to rebuild the local gathering place. In addition to collecting donations, the board plans to pursue state and federal assistance and explore grants available to nonprofits.
“The ‘Community Center ReBuilding Fund’ was launched with a very generous pledge of up to $100,000 from a local resident towards a matching fund campaign,” the board wrote. The fundraising efforts will rely initially on donations by mail, but the board is working to expand opportunities to donate, Board President Kevin Evans told The Mendocino Voice.
Losing the “important and essential center of so many activities and memories” left resident and artist Carol Williams “dumbstruck,” she wrote to The Voice.
“What shall we do without this great place that everyone loves?” she wondered. “I was in a play years ago, and I remember performing it on that sweet stage to our wonderful and appreciative audiences! We need this venue for so many in our little villages.”
Williams also appreciated the center’s Pay N Take Sale, a twice-monthly chance to browse new and donated goods at the center. The mother of a friend of hers was an original founder.
“I usually have [two to] three items in mind, but mostly just ask the universe to grant me the gifts that are there this month for me!” she wrote. “And always something appears that I would have never dreamed of!”
For those who’d like to be part of bringing the center back, contributions can be made payable to “Gualala Community Center” with a memo of “ReBuilding Fund” and mailed to the Gualala Community Center, P.O. Box 263, Gualala CA 95445.
The Board of Directors has also created a Committee of key stakeholders and volunteers that would like to help with the process of rebuilding the center. Anyone interested can contact any member of the Gualala Community Center Board of Directors or e-mail [email protected]
Read more about the tragedy here.
Note: Kate Fishman covers the environment & natural resources for The Mendocino Voice in partnership with a Report For America. Her position is funded by the Community Foundation of Mendocino, Report for America, & our readers. You can support Fishman’s work with a tax-deductible donation here or by emailing [email protected]. Contact her at KFishman@mendovoice.com or at (707) 234-7735. The Voice maintains editorial control and independence.