A 30th Gala to Remember: What You Missed

June 5, 2015It was a party three decades in the making.

Last night Heal the Bay celebrated its 30th anniversary in beach-chic style, with more than 1,000 ocean-lovers joining us on the sand at the Jonathan Club in Santa Monica for an evening of relaxed fun and environmental fundraising.

With its laid-back vibe and pitch-perfect production, our gala has become a must-stop on the L.A. social and philanthropic calendar. There’s something for everyone at the event – whether it’s vamping the blue carpet, power table-hopping, bidding on a Goodyear blimp ride or just hanging out with friends and family on the sand.

(If you want to check out images from the event, please visit our Flickr page.)

The night is Heal the Bay’s biggest gathering of the tribe – surfers, artists, soccer moms, environmental engineers, eco-entrepreneurs, policy geeks, you name it. It’s inspiring for staff and volunteers to see a diverse cross-section of greater Los Angeles come out to support clean beaches and healthy watersheds. Yes, the money raised is great. (Last night’s proceeds will fund nearly a third of our annual operating budget). But it’s the show of faith and appreciation by so many guests that keep us going throughout the year. The alarming rash of oil blobs washing up all over Southern California beaches this past week was a big topic of conversation, adding an extra sense of urgency to the night’s proceedings.

At last, the weather gods shone on us last night. After we had to reschedule our planned May 14 gala because of inclement weather (hailstorms in the Palisades!), the June gloom parted last night and provided us with a sultry sunset. The libations were rad (cobalt-blue Margaritas on the rocks and Heal the Bay IPA from Golden Road) and the entertainment eclectic (magic acts, stilt walking and flapper dancing from the L.A. Follies).

And you know it’s a good party when the band has to shut down because of late-night noise restrictions. Quirky cover band Postmodern Jukebox had guests cramming multiple catwalk stages like go-go dancers before they had to call it quits.

This year’s honorees included the Los Angeles Kings, whose players all live in the South Bay and have been tireless beach ambassadors and community partners; Meg Gill, our youngest board member and co-founder of the hip, eco-conscious Golden Road Brewing craft beer company; and Gabriela Cowperthwaite, the creative force behind the documentary “Blackfish,” which spawned a national dialogue about the ethics of keeping orcas captive at amusement parks.

Among the celebs joining us: actress and Heal the Bay board member Amy Smart along with hunky hubby/TV host Carter Oosterhouse; world surfing champ Lisa Andersen palling around with “Roxy Girl” Bruna Schmitz; former L.A. Kings forward and current hockey broadcaster Jim Fox; actor and “True Blood” stalwart Gregg Daniel; former MTV veejay and current Sirius deejay “Downtown” Julie Brown; KTLA newscasters Mark Mester, Lu Parker and Chris Schauble (impressively staying up late before his 5 a.m. hosting duties!)

In a night that honored Heal the Bay’s 30 years of environmental victories, it was also gratifying to see so many alumni and past board members of the organization come out to celebrate. 

We’re taking a breather today, but we’ll soon start planning for next year’s bash. But there will be plenty more special event opportunities throughout the year. If you are interested in sponsorship opportunities, please contact Afarin Davari.

As always, we deeply appreciate the support of our family of ocean advocates and stewards.

Here’s to the next 30 years!

Get excited for next year’s Gala – check out our Flickr album of party pics!

Heal the Bay Advancement Director Danielle Portnoy (2nd from left) and board member Luann Laval Williams (far right)Heal the Bay board member Kari Boiler and the Save The Drop mascot!Amy Smart and Carter Oosterhouse