Loggerhead Marinelife Center’s (LMC) premier fundraiser, the Sixth Annual Lights Out Gala, was held on March 1, the start of sea turtle nesting season on Florida’s east coast. The event raised $240,000 for the non-profit which will fund its important work in education, research and rehabilitation. Named for the worldwide Lights Out campaign which urges people to adopt a lights out policy near the beach during nesting season, the evening served as an important reminder to our coastal communities. This year’s gala was chaired by Dawn Hoffman and Alice Waxman. The gala’s honorary chairs were Beth Neuhoff and Susan Johnson.
The gala, themed Knotty Nights, A Nautical Evening, charmed over 300 of the center’s supporters. Guests enjoyed cocktails alongside the center’s FPL Turtle Yard as well as informative talks with LMC biologists and on-site Gordon & Patricia Gray Veterinary Hospital tours with the center’s rehabilitation staff. After cocktails, guests moved to a tent decorated with nautical décor, while dinner prepared by Sandy James Catering was served. LMC Board of Director Chairman, Brian Waxman, emphasized the center’s mission to promote conservation of Florida’s coastal ecosystems with a special focus on threatened and endangered sea turtles.The evening took an artistic turn as renowned artist, Michael Israel, took center stage. He performed live paintings of iconic figures, as well as the guests’ favorite – sea turtles. These paintings were then auctioned off, with a percentage going back to the center.
Partygoers had additional ways to support the center by participating in the gala’s raffle. A few lucky attendees went home with a seven night stay at The Ritz-Carlton Residences in San Francisco, Vail, or St. Thomas; a Gretchen Scott Designs shopping spree and package valued at $650, and a $1000 dining around package provided by Palm Beach Illustrated. Guests were also able to donate to the center in The Gardens Mall “Buried Treasure” Knotty Appeal raffle. Each beach bag donated by Saks Fifth Avenue was valued at over $100 with one in six bags filled with prizes valued up to $1,200. This raffle was made possible thanks to The Gardens Mall and Saks Fifth Avenue.
The inaugural presenting sponsor of the Lights Out Gala this year was PNC Bank. Additional sponsors included: ETC, Incorporated, Gordon & Patricia Gray, Ambassador Al & Dawn Hoffman, F. Ross & Susan Johnson, Loggerhead Marina, The Gardens Mall, Palm Beach Illustrated, Ritz-Carlton Club & Residences, Jupiter, Saks Fifth Avenue, Palm Beach Gardens, Brian & Alice Waxman, Braman BMW Jupiter, Fite Shavell & Associates, Florida Power & Light Company, Ray & Tarry Graziotto, Gretchen Scott Designs, Tequesta Insurance Advisors, The Back Porch and The Decorators Unlimited.