The Rancho Santa Fe Fire District Foundation is holding a fundraiser May 18 at Cielo Village Square in Rancho Santa Fe. Courtesy photo
Community Rancho Santa Fe

Fire District Foundation to host debut fundraiser

The Rancho Santa Fe Fire District Foundation is readying for its inaugural fundraiser on May 18 at the Cielo Village Square in Rancho Santa Fe. The goal of the recently formed 501(c) (3) nonprofit organization is to provide the district with resources and equipment needed to protect its community members and firefighters.

Funds raised for the foundation help bridge the financial gap despite the taxation residents pay.    

According to the president of the foundation, Jim Depolo, one of the primary goals of the fundraiser is to let people know about the nonprofit and its mission. 

“Those who attend will learn that there is a foundation available in the community that supports our six fire stations within our 50 square mile district — it’s a lot bigger than people realize,” Depolo said. “We are working together for the good of our community and our fire department.”

Depolo said the general population is surprised to learn that the fire department needs additional funding and thinks it is all is covered through taxes.

“The ability to have these extra funds to do more is in everyone’s best interest,” he said.   

Bonita Baumgartner, who serves as secretary of the foundation, said she is looking forward to getting the word out that the foundation is up and running and supporting the brave men and women in the Rancho Santa Fe Fire Protection District.

Baumgartner said the district serves more than just Rancho Santa Fe. Its other areas include 4S Ranch, Santa Fe Valley, Bernardo Lake Estates, Bernardo Pt., The Summit of Rancho Bernardo, Fairbanks Ranch, Whispering Palms, Del Mar Country Club, Rancho Santa Fe Farms, Rancho Santa Fe Lakes, Santa Fe Sur, Rancho Farms Estates, Del Rayo Estates, Montecito Rancho Santa Fe, Sun Valley, The Bridges, The Crosby, Cielo, Harmony Grove Village, Elfin Forest and more.

Baumgartner said the foundation was created to raise funds for firefighters to be better prepared to protect the community during wildfires. 

“We have already granted monies for a drone to assess fire situations better and get personnel in and out of areas with a greater degree of safety, a detox sauna for firefighters after they have been exposed to toxic smoke inhalation, and a new septic system in Station 6,” she said. “We are hoping to raise funds for solar on station roofs so they can be more efficient, provide new, better equipment for firefighter protection and safety, fire engines where needed, individual station improvements, and increased educational tools.”

In addition to raising funds, Depolo said the fundraiser is a chance for residents to meet while learning more about the foundation and what it does.

“This event is to spread the world that we exist, and we are here to help,” he said. 

Sage Bleu Catering will provide the hors d’oeuvres for the event, and there will also be musical entertainment.

“This event is an opportunity to make a difference in your community while providing support for our brave men and women that support us in medical emergencies and fire suppression,” Baumgartner said. “We hope to see you there.”

The Rancho Santa Fe Fire District Foundation fundraiser will be held from 4 to 8 p.m. May 18 at the Cielo Village Square, 18029 Calle Ambiente in Rancho Santa Fe. To learn more about the event, or to RSVP, call (760) 703-3994 or visit

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