The BVAS Nature Endowment

Nancy Heitel and Brian Malk

Nancy Heitel and Brian Malk

The BVAS Board is pleased to announce the establishment of the BVAS Nature Endowment Fund, the result of a two-for-one matching funds grant of up to $333,000 from Brian Malk and Nancy Heitel of San Diego and Napa Valley. Last November, Brian contacted BVAS to discuss his interest in possibly helping the organization meet some of its mission objectives. A meeting was quickly arranged, and, as luck would have it, about 50 students were touring the Nature Center when Brian arrived.

“It was wonderful to see Brian’s eyes light up as he watched the students interacting with the Nature Guides,” said BVAS president, Andy Mauro. “He is passionate about the need for children to be exposed to the beauty and wonder of nature, and about our need to preserve the environ-ment for future generations.”

A week after the visit, BVAS received Brian’s generous offer of support. Under the terms of the grant, Brian and Nancy will contribute two dollars for every dollar BVAS receives in donations for the new endowment, until the fund reaches its initial goal of $500,000. This permanent endowment will produce a dependable stream of distributed earnings each year to sup-port the Nature Center and BVAS nature programs, and to help it accom-plish other elements of its mission.

BVAS has raised a little over $30,000 in early contributions to the new en-dowment. Adding to that total, over $10,000 in fundraising proceeds for the new endowment was generated from the Birdhouse Auction in March. As a result, after applying the matching funds grant, close to $150,000 of the $500,000 goal for the new endowment will already have been achieved by the time the fundraising campaign officially kicks off in late April.

“This is a unique opportunity for people to have an immediate and dra-matic impact on the future of Buena Vista Audubon,” said Mauro. “Donors will be creating a lasting legacy of their love of nature as they see their con-tributions triple in value as a result of Brian’s and Nancy’s pledge.”

Brian was born and raised in South Africa, where early on he developed his passion about wildlife and the environment. He is the owner of the Malk Family Vineyards, a winery in the Stags Leap District of Napa Valley. Brian is also a founding partner of the Midtown National Group, a boutique real estate investment company located in San Diego’s Golden Triangle. Last month’s Lagoon Flyer told the story of how his bike ride down South Coast Blvd. in Oceanside last November ultimately led to his pledge to help.

In recent weeks, news of the pending grant and new endowment fund began to spread among BVAS volunteers. Now with the formal announcement, the buzz of excitement might be likened to the sound made by crowds of elegant terns taking flight from one of our North County lagoons. Everyone realizes just how important this new endowment will be to the stability and future growth of BVAS.

Anyone wishing more information about the new endowment, or interested in having a confidential discussion about a possible contribution, is invited to contact Andy Mauro: 760-753-1266;

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