Saturday, May 24, 2008

Interfaith center nears goal


The deadline is looming for La Casa de Maria, which has just a few more weeks to raise an additional $100,000 toward a $1 million challenge grant to be used to pay off the property’s mortgage.

The 26-acre nonprofit interfaith retreat and conference center in Montecito is in the midst of a $7.7 million capital campaign. In addition to paying off the mortgage, Director Stephanie Glatt said that funds raised by the “Campaign to Preserve and Renew La Casa de Maria” will be used to renew the conference center’s buildings in an environmentally sensitive manner and preserve their historical and architectural integrity.
La Casa de Maria offers a quiet destination for people of all faiths to escape the stress of everyday life and deepen their spirituality through individual and couples retreats.
“We have four goals,” Glatt explained. “One is to deepen spirituality, one is to promote the common good of our community, one is to nurture a culture of peace and social justice and the fourth is to work for the renewal of the earth. All of the programs that we offer and all of the groups that use our facilities fall into one of those four categories, which makes it a great place to be because that’s what everybody here is about,” she said.
“We’re very close to paying off the mortgage and we have only $100,000 to go on our matching that’s really exciting because as soon as we do that, then we can go full speed ahead into phase two of the capital campaign,” said Glatt.
Along with paying off the mortgage and preserving the buildings, the money will also be used to preserve the ecology of the site, including the creation of a sustainable agricultural site that protects native plants and development of an organic orchard/garden to provide the produce for the dining rooms, and for the improvement of the overall health of the citrus orchard and native Coast Live Oak grove. Capital campaign monies will also go toward providing programs and retreats that address the spiritual, cultural and ecological needs of society, as well as building a fund to make scholarships available for programs and retreats.
We’ve gotten wonderful support from Santa Barbara. To think that we’ve just started this campaign three years ago and we’ve raised $4 million … it’s pretty incredible,” said Glatt. “We’re looking forward to burning the mortgage.”
To find out more about La Casa de Maria, or to donate to the capital campaign, call Stephanie Glatt at 969-5031 ext. 204 or visit

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