Foundation Policies

The Elfin Forest Community Foundation was established by resolution of the Elfin Forest Town Council on January 31, 1995. A public foundation and a California Corporation established under Section 501 (c) (3) of the Internal Revenue Code, the Community Foundation’s mission is to enhance the quality of rural life in the greater Elfin Forest Community. One of its primary functions is to administer the Remediation Trust established by the San Marcos City Council for impacts to the community resulting from the near by landfill. Established as an autonomous and independent entity, the foundation is governed by a board of directors which are elected residents from within the community. The foundation is limited by its governing charter and bylaws to the funding of grants aimed at preserving, maintaining, or enhancing the overall quality of life within the Elfin Forest area.

It is the intent of the foundation to establish a structure in which worthy projects, initiated by individuals, ad hoc groups, or recognized organizations, could be brought forth to the community for grant funding. Only those activities which can be shown to benefit the public good are eligible for grant funding. Similarly, it is the intent of the foundation to provide a mechanism by which individuals, estates, or family trusts can donate tax deductible monies to the community of Elfin Forest.

The funds available to the foundation for allocation originate from two sources. The first is from direction donation and the second is from the trust established by resolution of the San Marcos City Council to partially offset impacts associated with the San Marcos Landfill. Interest generated from the investment of these monies forms the pool from which grant funds are drawn. The trust has been established with the expressed intent of preserving principle while allocating the accrued interest from these funds. In so doing, the trust will provide for the long term benefit of the entire community. Direct donations funds are subject to the inherent restrictions under which they were donated. To ensure the funding is directed at the greatest community need, the board of directors prepares and submits recommendations to a review process for approval. The board has approval control over small discretionary expenditures deemed to be in the greatest community good.

Foundation grants are generally focused at those activities which would serve the widest segment of the community. Intended projects may include such activities as planting trees near a public right of way, establishing and dedicating an open space easement, building and dedicating a horse/hiking trail, the purchase of a defibrillator for the fire department, or perhaps enhanced security type patrol. Activities are envisioned to be active in nature and not simple studies or such things as community or personal.

Native Plant Policy

The EFCF has adopted a policy to favor the funding of landscaping projects that use native plants and trees.


Our community, Elfin Forest, is named for the chaparral-covered hills and oak woodlands known as “elfin forest”, a term long used by biologists. Our community newsletter is aptly named “The Chaparral”. Our community’s logo includes a majestic coast live oak, our signature tree. Historically, the EFCF has funded planting of native oak trees and non-native pepper trees along the roads, trails, and at each intersection on Elfin Forest Rd. While the name California Pepper implies it is a native tree, you may be surprised to learn is actually native to South America, not California.

The EFCF has received numerous comments from local residents about the over-planting of pepper trees and there is concern that they may, by virtue of their numbers, become the signature tree of Elfin Forest. After much consideration, the foundation has decided to develop a native-only policy.

As planned communities have been built in North County and Orange County, developers have incorporated the same, non-native vegetation that contributes to a homogenous, monotonous, biologically and aesthetically invasive landscape. As a result, communities lost the sense of place, and unique native environment of Southern California. Thankfully, Elfin Forest is not a planned community. We therefore have the opportunity to create our own identity and presentation using the unique natural attributes of the area. We strive to create a community that retains its historical and natural identity, and blends into its environment, rather than one that yields to practices that produce indistinguishable urban sprawl. To give some perspective, when the community of Rancho Santa Fe was being developed, may highly valued, huge oaks were transplanted from Elfin Forest to Rancho Santa Fe (San Diego Union article).

Contrary to popular belief, oak trees and other native species can be moderately or even fast-growing when watered occasionally. Many oak trees in Elfin Forest that were planted in the last 5 to 15 years are now providing structure to the landscape and a shady place to linger on a hot day. Planting chaparral plants and native oak trees requires no water to maintain and provides habitat to local wildlife species. They are low maintenance and in times of drought, our landscaping will remain healthy.

The preservation of chaparral and oak woodlands (along with other natural plant communities in our area) and the unique feeling these natural habitats/plants bring are a priority of the EFCF. The foundation is in a unique position to focus on preserving our community character and spirit. Foundation board members will gladly assist applicants in choosing suitable native plants, such as Coast Live Oak and chaparral species for their projects.

Maintenance Policy

Since 1996, the Elfin Forest Community Foundation (EFCF) has provided funding for many community improvement projects such as construction of fencing and signs. Unfortunately, many of those early projects were funded without provision for future maintenance. As these improvements age without upkeep, it is evident that they detract from the beauty of the community.

EFCF does not have the resources to fund both new projects and maintain the old. Grant proposals requesting funds for structures that will require maintenance must also include information on how maintenance will be provided. Acceptance of EFCF money requires an agreement that you or your organization will accept responsibility for maintenance.

Conflict of Interest Policy

1. The Elfin Forest Community Foundation (Foundation) recognizes that Foundation
Board members (“Members”) are involved and play an active and vital role in the
community. From time to time, potential conflicts of interest may arise for one or
more Members. It is the Foundations policy to deal with each conflict of interest
in as open and appropriate a way as possible.

2. The Member has the primary responsibility to determine the existence of a
conflict of interest. If the Member determines that there is a conflict of interest, he
or she must disclose it. If the person is uncertain as to existence of an actual,
perceived or possible conflict of interest, that person discloses it, and requests
adjudication by the Foundation Board.

3. A conflict of interest is considered an activity or interest, which may cause bias
for or against a particular decision being considered by the Foundation. This
could include any position held presently or in the last 2 years, investment in any
business; or any other activity, which may result in a possible biased opinion.

4. At the beginning of each Member’s term and annually thereafter, the Member will
be requested to complete a Conflict of Interest Disclosure Statement identifying
any positions held by self or any immediate family member and affiliation with
any organization using the following guidelines:

a) Any position held by self, immediate family or household member with any
charitable, or community organization currently or within the past two
b) Any position held by self or immediate family member with any business
enterprise that has a formal or informal association with any charitable or
community organization currently or within the past two years.
c) Any consulting work or other affiliation with organizations that may be
perceived as an interest or bias with respect to the Foundation’s action.

5. Any possible conflicts shall be disclosed before discussion begins. The minutes
of the meeting shall reflect this disclosure. The conflicted Member can participate
in the discussion, but must abstain from the vote on any action affecting the
conflicted situation.