IVWF – Quarterly News-June

Working to make Imperial Valley a better place to live

Roque Barros photo

It’s been one year

July 1 marked one year since I was honored to join the Imperial Valley Wellness Foundation as its first executive director. It has been a joy to return to my hometown of Calipatria and be able to put into practice in Imperial Valley what I have learned during my career as a nonprofit and foundation leader, and to meet so many of the great people I knew growing up here. We are shaping IVWF as a convener, connector and changemaker, working to make Imperial Valley a better place to live. – Roque Barros, Executive Director, IVWF

Did you know this about Imperial Valley?

Welcome to Bombay Beach

Bombay Beach is an eclectic art community 

Isolated Bombay Beach is out of sight and out of mind for most people in the valley, but this quiet outpost is becoming an emerging hub for an eclectic arts community. Whether sculptures on the beach, improv performances or display art on the sides of houses, abandoned cars or other nontraditional canvasses, this is where it is happening. And when the show is over, everyone gathers at the Ski Inn for some great food. Check it out on your next spur-of-the-moment Sunday drive!

Our communities in action

NorthEnd Alliance team

Source: Calexico Chronicle 3/28/2022

NorthEnd Alliance making strides, gaining recognition

It has been pleasure working with the members of the NorthEnd Alliance 111. These wonderful women came to IVWF asking for help in how to have their needs recognized in the community. They felt isolated living in Calipatria, Niland, and Bombay Beach and wanted to bring more services and opportunities to their communities. Now, they have organized into a real organization, planning events, meeting with elected and appointed officials and finally beginning to feel they might have a chance to be heard and make changes in the communities where they live wand work. IVWF was proud to be a resource for them, to provide guidance and to watch them grow. The group was featured in this March 28, 2022, story in the Calexico Chronicle.

Roque Barros leading group discussion

Learning Exchange brings together 25 community representatives

The NorthEnd Alliance isn’t the only group feeling the need for greater visibility and resources. To begin creating an infrastructure to listen to each other and learn how to make Imperial Valley the region they want it to be, on April 7, IVWF convened a group of 25 community representatives from organizations striving to make the region a better place. Called the Learning Exchange, the three-hour convening and listening session, followed by lunch, was the first step in developing a year-long Learning Partnership that will feature guest speakers; more Learning Exchanges, and opportunities for these leaders to build the capacity and resources for their organizations. Thanks to the Imperial Valley Food Bank for hosting the meeting in their excellent facilities, and to all those who attended.

Jennifer Granholm and Roque Barros

U.S. Secretary of Energy visits Calipatria, April 2022

IVWF participates in Secretary of Energy’s Calipatria visit

On April 20, 2022, U.S. Secretary of Energy Jennifer Granholm visited Calipatria to learn more about Lithium Valley and the needs of the communities that will benefit and be affected by lithium production. IVWF was pleased to participate and be part of a roundtable discussion chaired by the Secretary which included non-traditional players, including nonprofits and members of the environmental justice community along with elected officials and others.

Vision dinners to gather new ideas

The first in a series of Vision Dinners was held on May 11 as a way to bring institutions, nonprofits, and community members together to talk about community priorities and needs and to generate ideas on what would make the Imperial Valley a better place to live. IVWF is hosting multiple opportunities for diverse voices to ultimately create a comprehensive and unified vision for Imperial County. If you are interested in participating, please contact IVWF.

Southern Border CERF Region banner

Update on CERF (CA Community Economic Resilience Fund)

Local voices needed to shape a proposal to bring $5M in planning dollars to the region

Your voice is wanted to help shape a proposal that should result in $5 million in planning dollars from the State of California to help shape a sustainable and equitable future for San Diego and Imperial counties which have been grouped into an area the state calls the Southern Border Region. IVWF’s Executive Director, Roque Barros, is co-convening the b-county group along with Katie Sawyer from the San Diego Regional Policy and Innovation Center. Called the Community Economic Resilience Fund program or CERF, the program requires San Diego and Imperial counties to work together to draft a proposal that will result in a bi-county collaborative to promote a sustainable and equitable recovery from the economic distress of COVID-19. It will do this by supporting new plans and strategies to diversify local economies and develop sustainable industries that create high-quality, broadly accessible jobs. There are four ways to get involved:

  • Go to the CERF Southern Border Region website and signup for the newsletter.
  • Take the CERF Southern Border Collaborative survey.
  • Attend the bi-weekly webinars and join discussions about shaping the proposal. You will be informed if you signup on the website.
  • Join the Proposal Leadership Group. All are welcome and all voices are considered equal. Contact to be added to the list.

For more information, contact Roque Barros,, 619-322-5299.

IVWF in the media

What inspires us

People do amazing things with few resources. In each issue of the newsletter, we plan to focus on those amazing stories that inspire us at IVWF to do more. Send story ideas to Roque Barros.

flyer for the Salton Sea Stroll

This issue’s inspirational story is the Salton Sea Stroll, the first event organized by the NorthEnd Alliance which is described earlier in the newsletter. The event was designed to give vision, voice and visibility to the communities on the north end of the valley that are close to the Salton Sea. Participants met in Bombay Beach on April 2, and more than 40 participants took the two-mile stroll. The event was also a fundraiser for the NorthEnd Alliance and had a $25 entry fee.

Support Community Building

You helped us before and made a difference. We need your help again. We need your support as we continue to work with communities that want to be seen and heard by those who make the decisions that are impacting lives!  Donate today




Share This