Catalina Island Conservancy partnered with CCS on the Imagine Catalina campaign, which raised $17M to build a stunning visitor’s center and expand the trails system for those who love and spend time on Catalina.

Hikers in front of the Catalina Island trailhead and visitors ccenter.

Based in: Long Beach, CA, Western U.S., United States

Sector: Environment & Animals

Key Elements

  • CCS was a trusted partner in many areas that guided the Conservancy to fundraising success.
  • The centrally-located, new visitor center has been a gamechanger for the Conservancy, dramatically increasing the Conservancy’s exposure to the nearly 1 million visitors.

Catalina Island Conservancy is one of the oldest private land trusts in Southern California and protects 88% of Catalina Island, including more than 62 miles of unspoiled beaches and secluded coves—the longest publicly accessible stretch of undeveloped coastline left in Southern California.  Through the Conservancy’s partnership with CCS, the Conservancy created new opportunities for people to responsibly enjoy Catalina Island while establishing a stronger presence with those who love and spend time on Catalina.

the challenge

Catalina Island Conservancy sought to build a new visitor’s center in the heart of Catalina Island’s main town, which sees 1 million visitors annually.  In order to fund the construction of the new facility, plus expand the trails system, the Conservancy needed to raise $17 million, over and above existing fundraising, in its first-ever campaign.

the solution

CCS partnered with the Conservancy to first conduct a planning study that tested the campaign’s feasibility and developed a road map to raise $17 million. We continued the engagement and worked closely with the Conservancy development team to execute the plan, by developing major gift strategies, creating messaging that articulated the importance of the campaign, and recruiting and co-managing a committed group of volunteers. Through active partnership with the organization’s leadership, we helped guide and manage the campaign to reach its $17 million campaign goal. Midway through the campaign, we also provided interim development, communications and marketing management services until a new Chief Development Officer was hired.

The Catalina Island Conservancy selected CCS for this project because of their extensive expertise in campaign development and management. It was the Conservancy’s first ever capital campaign and their guidance was instrumental in the campaign’s success. The onsite operational leadership they offered helped ensure implementation of a robust campaign plan and the ability to adapt strategies, activities, and goals as needed.

Tony Budrovich, CEO, Catalina Island Conservancy

the impact

Through the success of the IMAGINE CATALINA Campaign, the Conservancy was able to build a stunning visitor’s center in Avalon and expand the trails system.  The new visitor’s center has been a gamechanger for the Conservancy, increasing the organization’s presence and exposure to nearly 1 million visitors annually, and serving as a launching point for many activities on Catalina Island.  The Conservancy was able to expand its sustainable master trails system, creating 32 miles of new trails to make it a world-class destination for outdoor enthusiasts.  Residents and visitors can now experience more of what Catalina Island has to offer.

Featured CCS Team Member

The IMAGINE CATALINA Campaign not only raised $17 million to fund the construction of a new visitor center and trails system expansion, but it also elevated the Conservancy as a top philanthropic priority for people who love Catalina Island.  It was an honor to partner with the Conservancy in their important work for this Southern California jewel.

Blake Reiser, Vice President

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