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Mission San Juan Capistrano Foundation

 26801 Ortega Hwy
 San Juan Capistrano, CA 92675
[P] (949) 2341300
[F] (949) 4819895
[email protected]
Barbara Beier
 Printable 1 Page Summary
 Printable Profile
Organization DBA --
Former Names --
Organization received a competitive grant from the community foundation in the past five years No
Employer Identification Number 33-0833283 00000



Mission StatementMORE »

As Orange County’s most historic site, Mission San Juan Capistrano strives to:

Serve as a resource to the community by providing a living and learning environment that promotes and nurtures an appreciation for early California history while providing a place of respite, renewal, and celebration resulting in lifelong memories for its visitors.

Mission Statement

As Orange County’s most historic site, Mission San Juan Capistrano strives to:

Serve as a resource to the community by providing a living and learning environment that promotes and nurtures an appreciation for early California history while providing a place of respite, renewal, and celebration resulting in lifelong memories for its visitors.

FinancialsMORE »

Fiscal Year 2018
Projected Expenses $2,211,187.00
Projected Revenue $2,213,466.00

ProgramsMORE »

  • Adopt-A-Class Scholarship Program

Revenue vs. Expense ($000s)

Expense Breakdown 2016 (%)

Expense Breakdown 2015 (%)

Expense Breakdown 2014 (%)

For more details regarding the organization's financial information, select the financial tab and review available comments.


Mission Statement

As Orange County’s most historic site, Mission San Juan Capistrano strives to:

Serve as a resource to the community by providing a living and learning environment that promotes and nurtures an appreciation for early California history while providing a place of respite, renewal, and celebration resulting in lifelong memories for its visitors.

Background Statement

Mission San Juan Capistrano, the seventh of nine missions founded by Father Junipero Serra and one of twenty one located throughout the state of California, was founded in 1776 and became known as the Jewel of the California missions,. The Mission is open 363 days a year, and is the home to the historic Serra Chapel, the only chapel still standing where Father Junipero Serra once celebrated mass.

While MSJC has a 240-year history, it remains an exciting place for learners of all ages where California’s early history, its indigenous people, art, and architecture come to life.

Impact Statement

Among our milestones fiscal year 2016-2017
Achievements in Art Conservation - Completion  of 10 nineteenth century paintings from the Mission's collection with gifts from private donors. 
Archive Scanning and Cataloguing -  Scanned and catalogued 1,340 historic photographs and 3,375 artifacts, books, documents and items. 
Opening the Spanish Colonial Museum ExhibitInterpreted the Spanish Colonial mission period (1776 - 1821) with recently conserved art from the 18th and 19th century and educational interpretive panels. 
New App for Visitors - Developed an official mobile device app as a personal guide to over 240 years of history!  
Improvements to the Guest Experience -  Updated restrooms & baby changing facilities and upgraded lighting in Serra Chapel and the historic North Wing. 
Goals - Rehabilitate the 1920's School/Covent building, arcade roof repair, repair historic fountains dating from the early 1900's, improve and repair walkways.

Needs Statement

Mission San Juan Capistrano receives no support from the city, county, state, or Church. It is instead 100% self-funded and is stewarded by the non-profit Mission Preservation Foundation who recognizes the significance of the Mission in local and California history and the importance of saving the Mission for generations to come.

CEO Statement

It is because of the human spirit and the desire to connect with generations gone by that Mission San Juan Capistrano has endured. Because of the community, visitors, donors, and friends, volunteers and more Mission San Juan Capistrano stands tall as an effective ambassador for the past, and in actuality, the entire chain of the California missions. While it is the town’s largest employer, spiritual anchor of a community, a window to the past, it only gets to be that because people come together to ensure it is so. Mission San Juan Capistrano was founded in faith but continues today as a testament to the past, a place of learning, inspiration, education, preservation and celebration. Its impact as a cultural, historic, and religious institution is measured in the many ways guests leave feeling empowered, entertained, educated and uplifted. As an outpost of history its preservation and interpretation remain key priorities for the coming year as it welcomes over 300,000 annual visitors and students. Specifically projects that are at the top of the to do list include completing the Sala Project to responding to Pope Francis’s gift of the canonization of  Blessed Father Junipero Serra (thereby making this significant California founder a saint in the Fall of 2015).  Mission San Juan Capistrano must respond to the public’s demands to learn, experience, and gain more from this world renown landmark. 

While technically, there is programming, events, preservation and financial sustainability to be concerned about and direct all staff efforts toward, the higher goals shared across this award winning organization focus on t service, generating a positive impact, and leaving a positive imprint on those that choose to visit.  Collectively the team will work to incorporate more information about history in our museum format, making sure that various chapters of California, local and regional, history are told clearly. The team will strive to ensure that the setting continues to be uniquely relevant while also being reverent. These values are among the shared ideals that shape how the priorities will be executed across the organization. 

Board Chair Statement


Other Ways to Donate/Volunteer

The Mission Preservation Foundation is supported annually through gifts of time, talent, and treasure. Over 331 volunteers support the Mission in their efforts to provide visitors and local residents with a positive visit. Gardening Angels maintain the Mission’s spectacular gardens; Docents give guided tours to fourth graders studying California History, adults touring Orange County, pilgrims seeing solace in our serene environment, and festival guests intrigued with not only the celebration but the Mission itself; Curiosity Cart volunteers offer hands-on opportunities to guests to touch animal skins and play Native American games and instruments; and Artifacts Council members support the Mission’s Museum Department.


In-kind gifts are accepted via Department managers for projects, the museum collection, and festivals and fundraising events such as the annual Romance of the Mission benefit gala, St. Joseph’s Day, Christmas at the Mission, and the summer Music Under the Stars concert series.


Financial gifts are solicited on an on-going basis and directed according to donor’s wishes for current conservation projects, long-term maintenance, art and artifacts, the Adopt-A-Class scholarship program for low-income students. Checks may be written to the Historic Mission San Juan Capistrano  Attn: Development Department  and mailed to 26801 Ortega Highway, San Juan Capistrano 92675. Donations may be made online at (all credit cards are accepted), or made through corporate matching gifts programs. No gifts are capitalized.   


Geographic Area Served

North Orange County
Central Orange County
West Orange County
South Orange County

More than 66,418 students and chaperones came from over 800 schools in Orange, Los Angeles, Riverside, San Bernardino, and San Diego Counties of which 9,438 attend Title I low income schools. In addition, and average of 300,000 local, regional, state, national and international guests experience a visit to the Mission each year.

Organization Categories

  1. Arts,Culture & Humanities - Historical Societies & Historic Preservation
  2. Arts,Culture & Humanities - Art Museums
  3. Arts,Culture & Humanities - History Museums



Adopt-A-Class Scholarship Program

Established in 2005, the Adopt-A-Class scholarship program funds low-income students’ hands-on learning at the Mission. Scholarships from the program fund student field trips and special programs, giving students the opportunity to enjoy the award winning audio tour; a docent led, interpretive, or self-guided and tour; Curiosity Carts, perfect for kinesthetic learners; and visit with and observe Native American basket weavers at work. Each student receives a Passport Explorer that features a walking map, historical facts and interactive learning games. Some scholarship stipends also provide transportation support. Title I schools automatically qualify for funding.
Budget  $105,000.00
Category  Education, General/Other Educational Programs
Population Served At-Risk Populations Children and Youth (0 - 19 years) Poor,Economically Disadvantaged,Indigent
Program Short-Term Success 

In school year 2013-2014 over 10,000 students took part in Adopt-A-Class scholarship education programming at the Mission, a 25% increase in the number of students who participated in the program during school year 2012-2013 thus demonstrating the ongoing need for scholarship funding. It is envisioned that funding could be granted to all eligible schools making their requests for scholarships during the 2014-2015 school and calendar year. At this time (February 2015) there is currently a waiting list of schools (the fewest in the history of the program) who have applied for funding.

Short term goals of the Foundation are to continue to solicit funding necessary to scholarship all applicants via online giving opportunities, an annual spring letter of invitation to support the program, and at the point of entry to the Mission.

Program Long-Term Success 

In 2005, the Mission established the Adopt-A-Class scholarship program to help fund low-income students’ hands-on learning at the Mission. That year 880 students were awarded funding and had the opportunity to visit the Mission, many who had never been outside of their neighborhoods, forever changing their lives. Since the program’s inception over 30,000 students have received Adopt-A-Class scholarship funds, an astounding increase over the past decade.  

The Mission Preservation Foundation is dedicated to providing quality education programming supporting the State curriculum for fourth grade students studying California and mission history. As an opportunity for exceptional learning, the field trip experience at the Mission offers students a unique environment in which to connect to the past. Reading thank you student letters and observing the students on their field trips is motivates the Foundation to continue to support efforts to provide funding to all to ensure equal educational opportunities for low income students so that our Booking Department does not have to say “no” to any school applying for field trip and transportation funding.

Program Success Monitored By 

The success of the Adopt-A-Class scholarship program cannot be monitored statistically, but by the learning experience it creates for students and educators response to their trip. Of the 400 schools that submitted field trip evaluations during the 2013-2014 school year 91% gave their Mission learning experience an “A” rating. Teacher feedback and surveys indicate that the field trip experience at the Mission deeply enriches their students’ understanding of the State’s heritage, builds bridges of understanding between cultures, and uniquely fosters an appreciation of history. As the teachers from one fourth grade team whose students received AAC grant funds wrote “…It is opportunities like this field trip that bring history to life and make what we teach tangible and meaningful. Your generosity has added a dimension to learning that we cannot compete with in the classroom. Thank you so much for making this trip possible. We cannot imagine a more impacting experience for our students.”

Examples of Program Success  Unedited letters from an Adopt-A-Class students best exemplify the success of the program:

Dear San Juan Capistrano mission,

Hi my name is Leticia Garcia. I am a fourth grader student at willow elementary. I’m writing this letter to thank you for giving us the opportunity. To go to San Juan Capistrano. My parents can’t afford it. If we go we can learn about history there. Then we can see things then to now. Then if we get a test of it we can pass. Then we can tell our parents all about and they can learn from us.

Sincerely, Leticia
Dear Sponsor
I had a wonderful time on our field trip to Mission San Juan Capistrano! I learned that the Indians finished the Stone Church in 9 years. The Stone Church fell during a mass earthquake and 40 people died. I will never forget my field trip to San Juan Capistrano and all of the interesting things I learned.
Sincerely, John Nguyen 


CEO/Executive Director Ms. Mechelle Lawrence Adams Executive Director
CEO Term Start Sept 2003
CEO Email [email protected]
CEO Experience

Mechelle Lawrence-Adams was appointed by the Mission Preservation Foundation as Executive Director of Mission San Juan Capistrano in 2003. As Executive Director for the Mission, she leads over 60 employees along with more than three hundred volunteers, implementing a Strategic Plan to ensure Orange County’s only mission, California Landmark #200, is preserved for future generations and is a resource to the community and world at large.   

Prior to becoming Executive Director, Mechelle worked for such cities as Seal Beach, Laguna Niguel, and San Juan Capistrano. She advanced to the position of Economic Development Manager for the City of San Juan Capistrano working directly for the City Manager and developing such programs as the City’s downtown lighting program, historic plaque program, San Juan Summer Nights Concert Series, and Historic Preservation Strategic Plan. Mechelle holds a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from California State/Fullerton and a Master of Arts in Management from the University of Redlands.

Former CEOs and Terms

Name Start End
Jerry Miller -- --

Senior Staff

Name Title Experience/Biography
Barbara Beier Director of Development Director of Development
  1.  Director of Development Mission San Juan Capistrano
  2. Director, JTPA Capistrano Unified, Saddleback Unified, and Laguna Beach School Districts
  3. Board Member, Boys & Girls Clubs of Capistrano Valley
  4. Board Member, Junior League of Las Vegas, Seattle, and Albuquerque New Mexico
Nancy Davis Director of Human Resourc --
  1. Human Resources Manager, City of San Juan Capistrano
  2. Human Resources Manager, Acterna/Applied Digital Access
Bonnie McBean Accounting Manager --
  1. Robert R. Redwitz and Company, Accounting Specialist
  2. Shapiro and Miles , Accounts Payable Clerk


Award Awarding Organization Year
Top Workplaces in Orange County Orange County Register 2014
Certificate of Excellence tripadvisor 2013
National Winner - Community Cookbook Awards McIlhenny Co 2007


Affiliation Year
Arts OC 2005

External Assessments and Accreditations

External Assessment or Accreditation Year
-- --


Travel and Tourism

Orange County Visitors Association – North American Travel Initiative

Anaheim Orange County Convention and Visitors Bureau

San Juan Capistrano Heritage Tourism Association  
Education Programs 

Journeys to the Past, presented by 2009 Educator of the Year Jacque Nunez, that takes students on a journey into the lifestyle of the California Indian leaving them with an appreciation of environmentalism and what it means to be “keepers of the earth”.

Making the Grade program in collaboration with the Discovery Science Center of Santa Ana. The classes provide an investigation into the building blocks of geology through experimenting with designs and materials that strengthen structures as large as Mission walls, or as small as a swallow’s nest.

The Mission also partners with the nearby highly acclaimed Ocean Institute, giving students the opportunity to visit both sites.

Orange County Philharmonic. 


Staff Information

Number of Full Time Staff 42
Number of Part Time Staff 21
Number of Volunteers 331
Number of Contract Staff 6
Staff Retention Rate % 76%
Staff Professional Development Yes

Staff Demographics

Ethnicity African American/Black: 0
Asian American/Pacific Islander: 4
Caucasian: 30
Hispanic/Latino: 20
Native American/American Indian: 1
Other: --
Other (if specified): --
Gender Female: 36
Male: 27
Not Specified --

Plans & Policies

Organization has Fundraising Plan? Yes
Organization has Strategic Plan? No
Years Strategic Plan Considers --
Management Succession Plan Under Development
Organization Policies And Procedures Yes
Business Continuity of Operations Plan Yes

Risk Management Provisions

Nondiscrimination Policy Yes
Whistle Blower Policy No
Document Destruction Policy Yes
Directors and Officers Insurance Policy No

Reporting and Evaluations

Management Reports to Board? Yes
CEO Formal Evaluation and Frequency Yes Annually
Senior Management Formal Evaluation and Frequency Yes Annually
Non Management Formal Evaluation and Frequency Yes Annually

Government Licenses


CEO Comments


Foundation Comments



Board Chair Mr. George O'Connell
Board Chair Company Affiliation O'Connell Family Foundation
Board Chair Term Oct 2009 -
Board Co-Chair --
Board Co-Chair Company Affiliation --
Board Co-Chair Term -

Board Members

Name Company Affiliations Status
Wylie A. Aitken Esq Aitken-Aitken-Cohn Voting
Bruce Brainerd General Manager, The Ritz-Carlton, Laguna Niguel Voting
Vicky Carabini Monex Precious Metals Voting
William Cvengros National Retirement Partners Voting
Don Dorkowski Managing General Partner, Dondee Company LLC Voting
Reverend Monsignor Arthur A. Holquin Retired Mission Basilica San Juan Capistrano Voting
Reverend Monsignor J. Michael McKiernan Pastor and Rector Mission Basilica San Juan Capistrano Voting
Paul Mikos President, Psomas FMG Voting
Anthony R. Moiso President/CEO Rancho Mission Viejo Voting
Connie Spenuzza Publisher, Libros Publishing Voting
Madeline Swinden Fouding Chair, Mission Benefit Gala and Art Guild Voting
EJ Tracy Tracy Industries Voting

Constituent Board Members

Name Company Affiliations Status
-- -- --

Youth Board Members

Name Company Affiliations Status
-- -- --

Additional Board Members and Affiliations

Name Company Affiliations Status
-- -- --

Board Demographics

Ethnicity African American/Black: 0
Asian American/Pacific Islander: 0
Caucasian: 11
Hispanic/Latino: 3
Native American/American Indian: 0
Other: 0
Other (if specified): 0
Gender Female: 5
Male: 9
Not Specified 0

Board Information

Board Term Lengths 4
Board Term Limits 3
Board Meeting Attendance % --
Written Board Selection Criteria Under Development
Written Conflict Of Interest Policy Yes
Percentage of Monetary Contributions 100%
Percentage of In-Kind Contributions 100%
Board Orientation Yes

CEO Comments


Foundation Comments


Standing Committees

  • Audit


Revenue vs. Expense ($000s)

Expense Breakdown 2016 (%)

Expense Breakdown 2015 (%)

Expense Breakdown 2014 (%)

Fiscal Year July 01, 2017 to June 30, 2018
Projected Revenue $2,213,466.00
Projected Expenses $2,211,187.00
Form 990s

2015 990

2014 Form 990

2013 990

Audit Documents

2014 Audited Financial Statement

2013 Audited Financial Statement

2012 Audited Financial Statement

IRS Letter of Exemption

IRS Letter of Determination

Prior Three Years Total Revenue and Expense Totals

Fiscal Year 2016 2015 2014
Total Revenue $1,070,374 $1,402,369 $1,351,685
Total Expenses $990,181 $1,192,406 $895,253

Prior Three Years Revenue Sources

Revenue By Revenue Source
Fiscal Year 2016 2015 2014
Foundation and
Corporation Contributions
$261,278 $424,501 $477,533
Government Contributions $0 $0 $0
    Federal -- -- --
    State -- -- --
    Local -- -- --
    Unspecified $0 $0 $0
Individual Contributions -- -- --
Indirect Public Support $0 $0 $0
Earned Revenue $0 $0 $0
Investment Income, Net of Losses $663 $1,093 $519
Membership Dues $0 $0 $0
Special Events $260,611 $377,207 $289,408
Revenue In-Kind $0 $0 $0
Other $703,227 $738,441 $726,549

Prior Three Years Expense Allocations

Expense By Type
Fiscal Year 2016 2015 2014
Program Expense $519,187 $716,346 $452,207
Administration Expense $404,237 $391,398 $372,916
Fundraising Expense $66,757 $84,662 $70,130
Payments to Affiliates $184,924 $489,865 $141,294
Total Revenue/Total Expenses 1.08 1.18 1.51
Program Expense/Total Expenses 52% 60% 51%
Fundraising Expense/Contributed Revenue 13% 11% 9%

Prior Three Years Assets and Liabilities

Assets and Liabilities
Fiscal Year 2016 2015 2014
Total Assets $1,129,932 $1,068,778 $867,776
Current Assets $882,225 $838,926 $645,944
Long-Term Liabilities $27 $0 $18,903
Current Liabilities $24,369 $43,433 $33,491
Total Net Assets $1,105,536 $1,025,345 $815,382

Short Term Solvency

Fiscal Year 2016 2015 2014
Current Ratio: Current Assets/Current Liabilities 36.20 19.32 19.29

Long Term Solvency

Fiscal Year 2016 2015 2014
Long-term Liabilities/Total Assets 0% 0% 2%
Endowment Value --
Spending Policy Income Only
Percentage(If selected) --
Are you currently in a Capital Campaign? No
Capital Campaign Purpose --
Campaign Goal --
Capital Campaign Dates -
Capital Campaign Raised-to-Date Amount --
Capital Campaign Anticipated in Next 5 Years? --

CEO Comments

At the Mission Preservation Foundation Board meeting held on November 5, 2014, the audit committee reported the after meeting with representatives of Robert Redwitz and Associates following the Historic Mission's annual audit, they were pleased to report that the auditors were able to report no mistakes found within the audit as well as no marginal concerns overall, without concern for how Mission staff handles the accounts and cash. This is the fifth consecutive year that there have been no issues found in the audit.

Foundation Comments

Summary financial data is per the Form 990s and consultation with the organization. Foundation/corporate and individual contributions are combined under Foundation and Corporation Contributions.


Other Documents

Certificate of Insurance (2016)

Annual Report (2015)

No Other Documents currently available.