Lights Out Gala: Endless Summer Raises $134,000 for Marine Conservation Programs

The Fifth Annual Lights Out Gala was held on February 25 and raised $134,000 for Loggerhead Marinelife Center. More than 250 guests attended the Endless Summer-themed affair, which was held on Loggerhead Marinelife Center’s 12,000 square foot campus adjacent to the Atlantic Ocean in Juno Beach. The evening included cocktails, dinner, and dancing in the event’s “Club Kahuna,” in a setting filled with era-specific surfing décor on-lend from the Palm Beach County Surfing History Project. The event raised funding critical for Loggerhead Marinelife Center’s education, research and rehabilitation programs.

Chaired by Susan Johnson and Elizabeth Neuhoff, the annual fundraiser kicked-off the March 1st start of sea turtle nesting season on Florida’s east coast. Guests celebrated the threatened and endangered seafaring animals with Tito’s Handmade Vodka “Turtletinis” in the center’s outdoor FPL Turtle Yard where 13 sea turtle patients are currently being rehabilitated for various illnesses and injuries. Green, leatherback and loggerhead sea turtles laid 9,856 nests on 9.8 miles of shore in Juno Beach, Jupiter and Tequesta last year, representing 12% of the State of Florida’s total sea turtle nests.

The Gardens Mall teamed with participating retailers to host the event’s first-ever “Buried Treasure Super Surf Appeal,” putting a twist on auctions. Guests could purchase one of 50 Lands’ End beach bags filled with a beach towel, a Tory Burch key chain, and other products for a $250 donation. To add an element of surprise, one in every seven bags was filled with exclusive extras including a $1,000 Hamilton Jewelers gift card, a $1,000 gift card to The Gardens Mall, dinner for 10 at Brio Tuscan Grille, two separate $500 vineyard vines® gift cards, a $950 bracelet from David Yurman at The Gardens Mall, golf for four at The Bear’s Club valued at $1,500, and golf for four at The Medalist Golf Club valued at $1,185. Guests also participated in a drawing to win a grand prize five night “Discover With You” stay at The Ritz-Carlton, Grand Cayman; a Naish paddleboard valued at $2,000; a Roberto Coin Tiny Treasures Diamond Palm Tree Necklace valued at $1,200; and an $800 dining package.

Sponsors of the 2012 Lights Out Gala included Susan & F. Ross Johnson, Beth & Geoff Neuhoff, The Gardens Mall, Patricia & Gordon Gray, The Ritz-Carlton Golf Club & Spa – Jupiter, Braman BMW Jupiter, Fite Shavell & Associates, Florida Power & Light Company, Gina & Bob Goldhammer, Tarry & Ray Graziotto, Lara & John Killgore, Naish, Saks Fifth Avenue – Palm Beach Gardens, Alice & Brian Waxman, and Palm Beach Illustrated.

Honorary Chairs of the 2012 Lights Out Gala were Patricia and Gordon Gray. Members serving on the 2012 Lights Out Committee alongside co-chairs Johnson and Neuhoff were: Stacy Atwater, Sandy Becker, Rebecca Brewer, Tracy Christian, Marcia Cohn, Jeanne Coudert, Mindy Curtis-Horvitz, Jeri Engelbrecht, Nadine Fite, Beth Garcia, Diane Gray, Tarry Graziotto, Dawn Hoffman, Michele Jacobs, Lauren Jennings, Lara Killgore, Ann Miller, Betsy Munson, Sara Peckham, Corina Sangermano, Catherine Tolton, Marigil Walsh, Alice Waxman, and Lynne Wells. Additional guests included Rena and John Blades, Elizabeth and Richard Currie, Hilary and Bryant Gumbel, Suzanne and Joseph Hickey, Dawn and Al Hoffman, Michele and Bob Jacobs, Arlene Musburger, and Pam and Ted Rauch.

Proceeds benefited Loggerhead Marinelife Center’s mission to promote conservation of Florida’s coastal ecosystems with a special focus on threatened and endangered sea turtles. To learn more, visit or call 561.627.8280.