Government Shutdown Hitting Close to Home

We recently received this letter from Sandy Bonilla, the Director of the Urban Conservation Corps for the Southern California Mountains Foundation. Sandy spoke to California ReLeaf Network members at our August 1 workshop. The audience was moved by the work that she and her colleagues have done in San Bernardino. Unfortunately, that work has come to a halt. Hopefully, Sandy and the rest of the UCC will be back to work soon.


Dear Friends & Partners:

As many of you know, our federal government has shutdown due to congress failing to pass legislation for funding government agencies and services. As a result, this shut down trickles down to other agencies that are dependent on the federal government such as the Southern California Mountains Foundation. While the entire agency isn’t funded solely by the federal government, a large portion of it is through the US Forest Service. Thus, the US Forest Service cannot process any funding that is owed to the overall agency. This has placed the agency unable to function fully.


So yesterday, the Board of Directors from the Southern California Mountains Foundation voted to shut down the entire agency, including the Urban Conservation Corps until the federal government re-opens. I was notified today [October 8] by my supervisor, Sarah Miggins of this action and I wanted to let our partners and friends know of this condition


So, as of tomorrow October 9th, the UCC closes its operations and youth services until the federal government is re-opened. This means that the entire UCC Staff is on furlough (lay off), as well as its corpsmembers. Unfortunately, we will not be operating, working or providing any contractual services, answering phones, conducting business or discussing any ongoing projects or other activities until the government re-opens.


I am truly sorry for this and especially those of you who are working closely with us on contractual services. This is very hard for all of us (as well as the Country) and I hope we are back to work soon. This has been especially hard for our young people. Today while I was announcing the closure of the UCC, I witnessed so many young people trying so hard to “hold back their tears” as I told them the news! In the corner of my eyes I saw two of our older youth hugging each other goodbye as they were crying and in disbelief. I counseled a few of our young fathers that told me how this is going impact their ability to feed their families. They were unsure as to what they were to do? We are all being hurt by the nonsense that has gripped Washington!


I am sure that many of you might have questions and concerns. As of tomorrow morning, I will be on furlough (lay off along with Bobby Vega), but will do my best to contact you directly to discuss how this impacts your contract, grant, procurement, and other activities that you were planning for us to do. You can also discuss this matter with the Executive Director of the Southern California Mountains Foundation, Sarah Miggins (909) 496-6953.


We hope that this matter gets resolved very soon!



Sandy Bonilla, DirectorUrban Conservation Corps

Southern California Mountains Foundation