The Gabrielino-Tongva Springs Foundation is a 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation established to preserve and protect the Kuruvungna Village Springs site located at University High School in Los Angeles. The Foundation is a community organization dedicated to preserving the heritage site and educating the public about the history as well as preserving the natural and cultural resources of the area.
The Foundation conducts outreach programs in which teachers educate high school and college age students as well as the public about the environment and California Indian history with special attention given to the indigenous Gabrielino-Tongva Indians which once made the site at University High School their home.
The Foundation has created a cultural center at the site which now serves as a repository of artifacts, historical documents, photo collections and other historical resources directly associated with the history of the Tongva people as well as the High School.
In 1992 the 2-acre site had been abandoned and neglected. Descendants of the Gabrielino-Tongva, alumni of University High School and local volunteers began a campaign to preserve and protect the springs and began the cleanup and restoration of the site. Alliances created with State Senator Tom Hayden and other community activists led to the formation of the Gabrielino-Tongva Springs Foundation (GTSF), a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization dedicated to protecting, preserving and restoring the Sacred Springs and surrounding area. The foundation now maintains the site under a lease agreement with University High School and LAUSD.
In 1998, the efforts of the foundation resulted in Senate Bill 1956, sponsored by Senator Tom Hayden and signed by Governor Pete Wilson, which provided $250,000 for the preservation of the Springs.
A Task Force of professional consultants, including Hydrologists, Planners, Architects as well as Native Americans and LAUSD staff was formed to create a framework for restoring and preserving the sanctity of the historic Gabrielino-Tongva village site. The Task Force recommendations included the removal of invasive plants and replacement with native plants, use of spring water for irrigation, the creation of a Tongva village and gardens for education and cultural preservation, and the establishment of a museum and visitor center.
In 2021, a restoration phase was implemented with volunteer and in-kind contributions from community members and local businesses. Abandoned structures, debris, dead trees and brush, invasive plants have been removed and hundreds of local native species are being planted throughout the site. The ponds were cleaned and restored; invasive crawfish were eradicated allowing for the introduction of threatened native creatures. Gardens, orchards and landscapes have been established using a solar powered system for irrigation with spring water. The village of Kuruvungna is being revitalized with the communal construction of a traditional thatched kiiy. The foundation is maintaining the existing cultural center in a re-purposed former classroom to exhibit artifacts, maps, photographs, and displays of the remarkable history of the site.