Schilling: ‘I don’t like how our effort has been mischaracterized and all the personal attacks we were subjected to’

As a resident of Scottsdale for over 20 years I have had a strong interest in seeing the Desert Discovery Center be built.

I have always seen the education center as a way to teach people how to best care for our environment and the desert in particular. We live right across the street from the Preserve and will vote “no” on Proposition 420.

I was excited to learn of a team of community leaders who had taken up the challenge of moving the already approved project forward. I was even more excited when I was asked to use my fund-raising skills to work for DDCS.

My feasibility study included interviewing over sixty local donor prospects and found there was a very strong appetite for the project. My study showed that the project could raise at least $10 million from the philanthropic community to build the Center in the preserve. During my time as director of development we raised over $500,000 for operating the organization. We made hundreds of friends who were eager to donate to a nature education center in the Preserve.

Through my experiences of raising funds to build the SMoCA, the Audubon Center, and Ballet Arizona’s rehearsal studios, I truly believe the Desert Discovery Center could raise the private sector money needed to augment the funds already available from the city, including Tourism Development and Preserve tax funds.

The DDC as planned is a terrific amenity for our community and environmental educational project that will help teach the next generation a culture of conservation.

I don’t like how our effort has been mischaracterized and all the personal attacks we were subjected to. We need to trust our elected officials and I hope you’ll join me — Vote “no” on Prop 420.

Editor’s note: Mr. Schilling is a resident of Scottsdale

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