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By Haley Chi-Sing

As an early Christmas present, Casa Romantica Cultural Center and Gardens last week received a considerable gift contribution toward its Year-End Fundraiser from San Clemente-based Rainbow Sandals.

The company’s $50,000 donation bolstered the local nonprofit organization’s fundraiser, pushing it over its end goal.

“I decided it was Rainbow Sandals’ responsibility to help these wonderful organizations like Casa Romantica and others in our community the best we can,” said Rainbow Sandals Founder and President Jay Longley in a press release.

Rainbow Sandals has been a long-established San Clemente staple, since its founding in 1974. The company is best known for its sandals worn by surfers and men and women of all ages around the world. With its own nonprofit established in 2014, Rainbow Sandals has made it a goal to bolster those in the local community and beyond.

Longley stated that he felt it was Rainbow Sandals’ role as a local business to help local nonprofits in the COVID-19 environment.

Casa Romantica’s Year-End Fundraiser will use the profits in 2021, offering “art, music, history, horticulture, and literature” to all visitors and guests.” The organization will put on exhibitions, virtual tours, and educational programs both in-person and virtual throughout the 2021 season.

“We are overwhelmed with gratitude for Rainbow Sandals’ generosity,” Amy Behrens, executive director of Casa Romantica, said in the release. “Despite a very challenging year for our nonprofit, their support has opened up new opportunities for Casa Romantica’s mission to expand beyond place. We’ve remained strong, finding new ways to make arts and education even more accessible to people of all ages and backgrounds wherever they are.”

Casa Romantica hosts year-round programs and educational experiences for visitors of all ages. The nonprofit prides itself in arranging free children’s art and education programs, including a two-week music intensive program for children who play cello, viola, violin, and piano.

Casa Romantica will also be employing this year’s fundraising profits to maintain the Ole Hanson estate and its public gardens. More information about Casa Romantica and the nonprofit programs can be found at

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