ENCINITAS — The nonprofit organization behind the Surfing Madonna mosaic recently made a large donation to the group in charge of transforming the old Pacific View Elementary school site into an arts center.
Surfing Madonna Oceans Project chairman and co-founder Bob Nichols said that the group donated $30,000 to the Encinitas Arts Culture and Ecology Alliance (EACEA) to go toward its restoration efforts.
The money comes from proceeds from the group’s signature fundraiser, the eponymous 5K/10K beach run.
“This donation marks the first of many donations, as we are fully committed to helping the Alliance fulfill its extraordinary mission to create a world class Pacific View Arts Academy,” said Nichols, who also serves on the Alliance board.
“The Surfing Madonna Oceans Project is very excited to be helping the EACEA in its restoration of this great historical landmark and will go great lengths in seeing it through to its completion,” said Dave Tanner of the Surfing Madonna Oceans Project.
The donation marks the largest private donation the Alliance — a conglomerate of local entrepreneurs, active residents and local luminaries — has received since its creation in 2015, when the city chose them over another bidder for the rights to restore the school site and transform it into a center for the arts.
The Alliance recently held its first private fundraiser, selling 4-inch-by-8-inch commemorative tiles for $250 each that will be installed at the school site as the first piece of a donor recognition wall.
It has also received $150,000 from the county toward maintenance efforts at the school site, which the city purchased in 2014 from the Encinitas Union School District for $10 million.
Nichols said that the Alliance is currently in fundraising mode to ensure it has the capital needed to achieve its goals.
“We have a long way to go, with a lot of cleanup and refurbishing, and it is going to cost a lot of money to transform this site into what we all know it can become,” Nichols said. “So, we have to be fiscally responsible, and that includes making sure we have the money to do it.
“We have a great team in place with a bunch of different skill sets,” Nichols said, referring to the Alliance. “Hopefully, each of us will stick around and see this through to its fruition.”
For the Oceans Project, the donation continues the group’s strong commitment to local philanthropy, which was solidified in 2016 when the group contractually agreed to donate at least $100,000 of its proceeds from the Surfing Madonna Beach Run to local organizations.
Nichols in October estimated that the group would donate $140,000 of the current year’s proceeds to groups in Encinitas and Solana Beach, as well as the California Department of State Parks.