Rancho Santa Fe Garden Club seeks purpose for clubhouse

The Rancho Santa Fe Garden Club will hold a community workshop on Saturday, July 21, at 1 p.m. to discuss the future of the clubhouse, located at 17025 Avenida de Acacias, RSF.

The RSF Garden club released the following statement about the reasons for the workshop:

The historic Rancho Santa Fe Garden Club has owned and operated its clubhouse in the center of Rancho Santa Fe since 1972 but, with changing times, the board of directors is wondering if its purpose is still relevant to the club and the community. For many years the clubhouse has served as the center for club events, village activities and to this day still hosts events such as Cotillion, school graduations, Association meetings, Cal State Osher Continuing Education lectures, Scripps lectures, concerts, weddings, galas, memorials and more.

“The clubhouse has meant so much to so many for so long,” said Club President Helen DiZio. But presently, the clubhouse is unused about 70 percent of the time, community use is about 20 percent, and actual Garden Club usage is about 5 percent, with the remaining use being rental of the facility to outside customers.

At the Garden Club’s Annual Meeting, Executive Vice President Steve DiZio outlined and presented the State of the Club Address. The mission of the Garden Club, which is a 501-C(3), non-profit corporation, is as its name implies, related to gardening and beatification of the village. The clubhouse, if used as a revenue source for the club, can contribute to the club accomplishing its goals and, as such, is a valuable resource for the club.

A study of the “business” operation of the facility over the years, however, reveals a situation where maintenance of the clubhouse has been a severe burden on what is in essence a volunteer organization. Hiring of staff to generate revenue has rarely returned sufficient revenue to pay for the staff, let alone generate income, thus leading to repeated “management” crises for the organization. One clear solution would be to dispose of the clubhouse, or its operational responsibility, and use the proceeds to carry out the mission of the club with the available volunteer membership.

“The options being considered include partnership with a local nonprofit or business for use and operation of the facility, lease of the unused time to a commercial entity, or outright sale of the building to the highest bidder,” said DiZio. “We believe the property is a gem in our community but without major community involvement and support we’re not sure we should maintain it.”

With this problem in mind, the Garden Club is conducting a community workshop on Saturday, July 21, at 1 p.m., for the purpose of exploring the options and importance of the building to the community at large.

“We want to find out if this is important to Rancho Santa Fe,” said board member Laverne Schlosser. The hope is that interested community members will be present to assist in planning a direction for the use and/or disposition of the Rancho Santa Fe Garden Club clubhouse. All interested parties are encouraged to attend. Please register for the workshop at RSFGardenClub@gmail.com.

The Rancho Santa Fe Garden Club was founded in 1926 to further the advancement of gardening and landscaping in the community of Rancho Santa Fe. With more than 600 members, the club serves the community through service, social and educational programs. The club’s primary financial support comes from donations and bequeaths, rental of its facilities, sales in its thrift shop, and membership dues.

For more information, visit

rsfgardenclub.org

or call the Garden Club at 858-756-1554.

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