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California Missions FoundationMarch 2013   



Following an extensive grant awarding process this past fall, members of the CMF Board of Directors and CMF staff have been busy statewide these past few months presenting the grants, visiting each site and liaising with each Mission regarding future projects and restoration efforts.  


The annual CMF grants are awarded each September following the application process, which begins each spring. More information on CMF grants and the application process is available on the organization's web page at  www.californiamissionsfoundation.org.



Dr. Edith Piness and Teri Brunner

(Above) CMF Secretary Dr. Edith L. Piness presents Mission San Rafael Curator Theresa Brunner a grant check from the California Missions Foundation for archaeological work at the site of the 20th mission founded in Alta California, and the last mission founded under Spanish rule. The grant to Mission San Rafael is one of several grants CMF awarded to various missions throughout Alta California this past fall for important work including restoration, archaeology, art conservation and security. 


Mission San Antonio


CMF will be presenting grant checks to Mission San Antonio de Padua (above) and Mission Soledad (below). The grant to Mission San Antonio de Padua is for retrofitting work at the mission, while the grant to Mission Soledad is for an archaeological interpretive program at the Mission. Both grants were made possible by a donation from the Linden Root Dickinson Foundation. Photos courtesy of Cultural Global Media.



Mission Soledad





California Missions Foundation continues to monitor grants provided to a few California Missions through the SAT grant program, Save America's Treasures. This program is expiring, and CMF was instrumental in helping Missions San Luis Rey, Santa Barbara, Carmel, and San Miguel, among others, obtain SAT funding - which is a matching grant with the Missions locally obligated to raise 50% of their repair costs and SAT funding covering the other half. But in some cases, like Mission Santa Barbara, the SAT grant only covers a portion of what ultimately will be needed for much-needed infrastructure repairs.

Currently, SAT funding is being used at Mission Santa Barbara to replace rotten support beams in the historic crypt below the altar rail and to identify the source of moisture intrusion. This crypt, dating to the early 1800's, is the only under-the-church crypt at any Alta California Mission. 


Crypt Entrance
Crypt Entrance


Crypt Passageway





























Via a ladder that is put in place after the Mission church floor is delicately removed, you are able to enter the crypt, which has an approximately 6+ foot high ceiling passage way which leads to an underground altar straddled by the in-wall crypts of leading Franciscans and prominent early Californians, including Gov. Figueroa and Don Jose de la Guerra y Noriega, the former Santa Barbara Presidio Comandante and Alta California Missions Sindicato or Treasurer.  


Crypt Burial List
Crypt Burial List
Moisture in Crypt
Moisture Damage in Crypt





























Other projects at Mission Santa Barbara are repairs to the historic and original lavanderia, as well as much-needed repairs to the Convento wing of the Mission where moisture intrusion is threatening the bottom floor that dates back to Mission times. Work and fundraising continue at Old Mission Santa Barbara, and California Missions Foundation will continue to work closely with the Mission administering the SAT grant.





CMSA Board Member Dr. Robert Hoover (above) enters the historic crypt at Mission Santa Barbara this past week during a rare opening of the crypt to prepare for important infrastructure work set to begin the day after Easter.


The work is made possible by a matching Save America's Treasure (SAT) Grant which is being administered by California Missions Foundation. (Below) CMF Executive Director David Bolton is shown alongside the crypt altar that sits below the mission church floor. (Bottom) Members of the team of professionals hired to handle the extensive work on the crypt discuss details of the project. Photos courtesy of Kathleen McGee.



David Bolton in Crypt








Following an extensive 9,600 hours of construction, 900 hours of personnel project management and 200 hours of consultants, Old Mission San Luis Rey has completed its seismic retrofit of the historic church. A combination of a SAT (Save America's Treasures) Grant and local fundraising made the $1.28 million project a success.


California Missions Foundation worked closely with the staff at Old Mission San Luis Rey and the National Parks Service to administer the grant, which included $640,000 of Federal funds and $640,000 of local matching donations.


CMF has provided a final report to NPS on behalf of Old Mission San Luis Rey Finance Director Gwyn Grimes, and a 50-year conservation easement of the site is being filed with the County of San Diego which will "assure preservation" of the historic site and buildings.


This year alone, 62,000 visitors are expected to visit the Old Mission San Luis Rey, located in north San Diego County just east of Oceanside.


San Luis Rey Front


Old Mission San Luis Rey (above) as seen today following the successful completion of its seismic retrofit project. Several other pictures (below) show the various stages of the extensive construction retrofit project at the 17th mission established in Alta California's chain of 21 missions.


San Luis Rey Roof Work
San Luis Rey Crane





























(Below) Old Mission San Luis Rey CEO Kathleen Flanagan stands with CMF Executive Director David Bolton below the scaffolding and in front of the historic church fašade during the final stages of the seismic retrofit project. Photos courtesy of Gwyn Grimes.



San Luis Rey David Bolton and Kathleen Flanagan






During the annual CMSA Conference in Santa Barbara, a special tribute to recently-retired California Missions Foundation Executive Director Dr. Knox Mellon was held at the historic Montecito Country Club. Colleagues and supporters of CMF and CMSA gathered to honor Dr. Mellon after his outstanding eight years at the helm of CMF.


Proceeds from the dinner were donated to CMF in honor of Dr. Mellon, who retired on December 31. More than 150 people attended the dinner. CMSA presented Dr. Mellon with its President's Award during the dinner.

Dr. Knox Mellon and David Bolton
Retired CMF Executive Director Dr. Knox Mellon receives the CMSA President's Award from CMSA President and new CMF Executive Director David Bolton during the Montecito Country Club dinner on February 16. Photo courtesy Tom Simondi.




The California Missions Foundation is pleased to offer a new way to show your support, by donating stock. When you donate stock to CMF you will not be responsible for paying taxes on said stock, however you will still receive full tax credit for the amount of the stock on the day you contribute. To donate please have your broker call UBS Financial Services at (201) 352-6300, with the following information:


Account Name: California Missions Foundation

DTCC Clearing Number: 0221

Account #: XN04920


As always please call Executive Director David Bolton at the CMF office with any questions at

(805) 963-1633.




You can help us to preserve California's historic missions and all their cultural treasures! 

Please call our office at (805) 963-1633 to donate by credit card, or click the button below to donate via PayPal!   


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About California Missions Foundation

Nothing defines California's heritage as significantly or emotionally as do the 21 missions that were founded along the coast from San Diego to Sonoma. Their beauty, stature, and character underlie the formation of California. All 21 missions are California Historical Landmarks; many have also been designated National Historic Landmarks. The missions are among the most popular tourist destinations in the state, attracting millions of visitors each year.

Founded in 1998, the California Missions Foundation was established with the objective of preserving and protecting the missions. The Foundation is the only statewide organization dedicated to the long-term preservation and restoration needs of all California missions and their associated historic and cultural resources for public benefit.

Visit us online at www.californiamissionsfoundation.org.
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