Local ocean-protection group Heal the Bay welcomed a record number of attendees to its annual “toes-in-the-sand” gala at the Jonathan Club in Santa Monica on May 15.
On an appropriately balmy evening, the “Bring Back the Beach” soiree attracted more than 1,200 guests and included several leaders from Southern California’s environmental, political, business and entertainment communities. The sold-out event exceeded its fundraising goals, and will provide nearly a fourth of Heal the Bay’s annual operating budget. Donations made Thursday night will support dozens of advocacy, education and community outreach programs throughout the region.
This year’s honorees included Mike Sullivan, Heal the Bay board member and president of LAcarGuy, the world’s largest hybrid dealer; L.A. Sanitation, the city’s public works unit leading the charge to create a more sustainable Los Angeles; and multi-Platinum rock band Incubus, whose Make Yourself Foundation has underwritten numerous Heal the Bay programs aimed at protecting our local shorelines.
“We are so proud to recognize these longtime friends of Heal the Bay for their years of protecting our local beaches and ocean,” said Danielle Portnoy, Heal the Bay’s Advancement Director. “It was a fun night, but the festivities underwrite some serious work that addresses the many issues facing our Bay.”
Among the campaigns Heal the Bay will be spearheading this year: stopping a proposed oil drilling operation underneath the Hermosa Beach seafloor; helping combat drought by securing public funding for stormwater
capture projects throughout L.A. County; and assisting local coastal communities prepare response plans for the impacts of climate change, such as erosion and flooding.
In addition to musical performances by The Mowgli’s, guests enjoyed a brisk silent and live auction. Among the notables mingling at the dinner: Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, Incubus lead singer Brandon Boyd, Heal the Bay board member and actress Sharon Lawrence, actress Maggie Grace, Olympic diving star Greg Louganis, and fashion designer Sue Wong.
Heal the Bay, celebrating its 29th year, is dedicated to making Santa Monica Bay and Southern California coastal waters safe and healthy again for people and marine life. The non-profit boasts more than 15,000 members.