Photo courtesy Heal the Bay




This year Heal the Bay will be raising their glasses, and funds, on the Santa Monica Pier.

Heal the Bay hosted their first Bring Back the Beach Gala in 1992 at Opus Restaurant on Ocean Avenue. From 300 people in attendance in 1992 to now an estimated 1,000-guests, this year the annual gala will take place on May 18, at the iconic Santa Monica Pier.

Heal the Bay is a non-profit that has continuously dedicated time and energy to make the coastal waters and watersheds of the Los Angeles region healthy and clean.

“The Gala helps the foundation as it raises nearly a fourth of their annual operating budget,” said Marketing and Communications Director, Matthew King. “It serves as a ‘gathering of the tribe’ – bringing together all the people who love the ocean and love the work that we do. It’s a fun celebration that fuels some very serious work that goes on year round.”

Last year the event was held at the Jonathan Club and the fundraiser nearly raised $1 million to fund their education and advocacy programs.

The money raised from the event goes to education programs, community actions like beach cleanups and wetlands restoration. Lastly to science and policy, weekly water quality monitoring at more than 400 beaches statewide, monitoring of Marine Protected Areas and advocating for strict pollution limits.

“In general, we are very frugal with donor dollars. We are very proud that nearly 80% of all dollars donated to programs, as opposed to administrative overhead and fundraising expenses – well above the nonprofit national average,” said King.

Raising money for education and advocacy is not the only thing they are proud of.

Every year the gala awards an honoree.

“The gala honors some of our most dedicated supporters – this year board member and long time broadcast partner KTLA5,” said King.

KTLA5 has continuously provided news coverage for multiple events and information segments about Heal the Bay. Sharon Lawrence, another honoree this year has served on Heal the Bay’s board, and continuously strives to educate her peers, fans, and community to become environmental stewards.

With all the excitement and commotion, there is still one main event. Heal the Bay’s new president and CEO, Dr. Shelley Luce will be making her debut at the event.

Luce received her Doctorate of Environmental Science and Engineering from UCLA and a B.S. in Biology from McGill University and she has officially joined Heal the Bay on May 8.

“I want everyone to come and celebrate but also grow their own awareness of what we need to do differently to make sure we are taking care of the storm waters and thinking about climate change,” said Luce.

However, if you can not attend there is still an opportunity to support the organization. This year Heal the Bay introduced a mobile bidding platform BidPal, so anyone can be part of the action. Items include weekend getaways, sport suites to multiple Los Angeles teams and an opportunity to drive a Tesla for the weekend.

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