The California Missions Foundation is "dedicated to the preservation, protection and maintenance of California's 21 historic missions." The Foundation gives out mini-grants to help preserve and maintain the structures, which are often in a state of delayed decomposition due to their age, the original materials used, and sometimes disuse and elemental damage. What? You didn't realize there were 21 of these (mostly quite) beautiful buildings scattered up and down the state? It's true. A trip to one or more of California's missions is a great idea for a road trip for anyone interested in architecture. Many have small museums and interesting gardens and grounds, and a number of them are nestled in architecturally interesting areas and small towns. By visiting the missions and giving to each site's own restoration fund, or giving to the Foundation through their web page, you help mantain one of California's most important architectural traditions.
Photograph of Mission San Juan Capistrano in Orange County courtesy of ocbook.com.