And just like that another Heal the Bay Gala has come and gone.
Yesterday, Heal the Bay welcomed over 1,000 guests to the ultimate beach party. Our annual Bring Back the Beach Gala recognizes the fearless leaders who have helped make real progress toward a healthier natural environment in L.A, and celebrates the victories Heal the Bay has achieved. This year, we honored the eco-accomplishments of Los Angeles County Supervisor Sheila Kuehl, and the lasting legacy and support of KROQ.
The event started with guests arriving in their white beach-chic attire and walking the signature blue carpet. A mobile tank from Heal the Bay Aquarium offered a deeper look at some local marine animals and wildlife. After a sweet cocktail party, thrilling live auction, and scrumptious dinner and dessert (the donuts!), we danced the night away to the incredible James Gang band, right on the sand and beneath the stars.
Photo by Nicola Buck
K-Swiss, our event sponsor, even announced their sneaker collaboration with us! It was a wonderful night of making waves, celebrating the great work being done, and creating a sustainable water future in L.A. County.
A final thank you to our dynamic team of Heal the Bay volunteers, staff, Board, our incredible photographers, Dan Do-Linh and Nicola Buck, our brilliant event producer Natalie McAdams of NAMEVENTS, and all of the gracious staff at the Jonathan Club.
Thanks to ALL of our Bring Back the Beach Gala 2019 Sponsors & Partners
Thank you to our official airline partner, American Airlines
Los Angeles leaders Sheila Kuehl and KROQ to be feted on the sand in Santa Monica
We’re excited to announce our honorees for the Bring Back the Beach Annual Awards Gala 2019 on the evening of Thursday, May 23 at the Jonathan Beach Club in Santa Monica, California. Now in its second decade, Heal the Bay’s Gala has grown into L.A.’s ultimate beach party. Reflecting the eclectic nature of Southern California’s devoted ocean lovers, Heal the Bay will salute the eco-accomplishments of Los Angeles County Supervisor Sheila Kuehl and “The World Famous KROQ”.
Los Angeles County Supervisor Sheila Kuehl has a long history of collaboration with Heal the Bay, starting with her days as a California State Senator. Under her fearless leadership in public office, she has made the L.A. region more environmentally healthy and sustainable. She protected the long-term health of the local coastline by co-authoring legislation that created the Santa Monica Bay Restoration Commission in 2002. Last year, she championed Measure W, a ballot measure that will generate $330 million annually to fund projects that capture stormwater, treat runoff and replenish our local water supply. Measure W passed with a huge 69% majority. This crucial progress toward sustainable water would not have been possible without the leadership and vision of Supervisor Kuehl.
KROQ has given a steady stream of support to Heal the Bay over nearly three decades. As the region’s leading alternative rock music purveyor, KROQ has connected millions of music listeners and concert-goers to the shoreline, to their watershed and to each other. Driven by an unrivaled dedication to the Los Angeles community and culture, KROQ has contributed $1,000,000 to Heal the Bay’s local science-based programs since 1992. Proceeds generated from KROQ Weenie Roast and benefit concerts fund Heal the Bay’s work surrounding plastic pollution, climate change, contaminated seafood and beach safety.
The Gala will welcome 1,000 guests to celebrate on the sand, and under the stars, in support of thriving oceans and healthy watersheds. The event consistently sells out and brings together a lively group of artists, entertainment figures, local government officials and business leaders. At last year’s Gala, Bring Back the Beach partygoers celebrated Mayor Eric Garcetti, Gabriela Teissier, Zooey Deschanel and Jacob Pechenik.
This year’s attendees include American Airlines – the official airline of Heal the Bay. The organization is leading the way in their commitment to environmental sustainability.
The fates shone on Heal the Bay last night at our annual “Bring Back the Beach” Annual Awards Gala.
After a week of May Gray, the sun gloriously took over at the Jonathan Club in Santa Monica. Under a gentle breeze and the gaze of a beaming lighthouse, more than 700 guests schmoozed on the sand and saluted our honorees: Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, Univision TV anchor Gabriela Teissier and Hollywood couple and sustainability champions Zooey Deschanel and husband Jacob Pechenik of The Farm Project.
L.A.’s biggest beach party always draws an eclectic crowd — from Venice artists to Silver Lake activists, DTLA policy wonks to South Bay surfers. Buoyed by tasty cocktails (blood orange margaritas!) and good vibes, our guests came out in beach-chic style to support our biggest fundraiser of the year.
(Photo by Dan Do-Linh)
Thanks to their generosity we met our goals, raising more than one-fifth of our annual operating budget in a single night. Proceeds of the night underwrite a number of programs, from water-quality monitoring to subsidized field trips for underserved youth to visit our Aquarium.
Mayor Garcetti was the undeniable star of the evening. His sincere and humble comments about what Heal the Bay has meant to our city – and to him personally – had the crowd rapt. With his quick wit and clear command of policy, it’s easy to see why he’s a rumored candidate for the 2020 presidency. The Mayor bookended his speech with poems by Nobel Prize winner Pablo Neruda. Here is the beginning of “The Sea”:
I need the sea because it teaches me. I don’t know if I learn music or awareness, if it’s a single wave or its vast existence, or only its harsh voice or its shining suggestion of fishes and ships. The fact is that until I fall asleep, in some magnetic way I move in the university of the waves.
In addition to Univision brass, Teissier brought her entire family to salute her longtime commitment to broadcasting stories about ocean and river protection to L.A.’s Spanish-speaking community. Fundraising galas can be long events, so it was endearing to see her sons patiently playing on a jungle gym while waiting for Mom to get her big award. Speaking passionately in both English and Spanish, Teissier recounted stories of her own upbringing and reaffirmed that Latino women have historically stood at the forefront of the environmental movement in Southern California.
Board member and fellow actress Amy Smart welcomed Deschanel and Pechenik to the Heal the Bay family. The couple, who run The Farm Project to better connect consumers directly to the producers of the food, spoke passionately about the growing scourge of plastic pollution in our food chain and greater environment. To cheers, Zooey talked about making smarter choices as consumer: “You weigh the options — single-use plastic vs. a healthy planet … get rid of that single-use plastic! It’s not worth it. It’s convenient filler. It doesn’t do ANYTHING for you. It doesn’t make you laugh or cry!” Well said.
Other supporters making waves: Meg Gill, an HTB board member and founder of Golden Road Brewing, sampling the newly revised version of Heal the Bay IPA with other beer lovers. (Gill is an avid swimmer, who still holds the female record for the fastest 50-meter swim ever recorded in the Ivy League!); Black Surfers Collective leaders Jeff Williams and Greg Rachal charming “Jumanji” co-star Ser’Darius Blain into participating in our upcoming Nick Gabaldon Day; a determined and persistent online bidder from New Jersey who triumphed at our Live Auction to secure a private Goodyear Blimp tour of the Santa Monica Bay.
Major props to the musical talent for the evening – the James Gang. The multi-player party band had supporters boogieing to the very end with their diverse chops, from spirited covers of Dr. Dre to soulful send-ups of Van the Man. They sent many a guest shimmying to their awaiting Lyft rides.
And a deep thank you to our dinner co-chairs: Malibu architect David Hertz and South Bay champion Kim Conant-Blum. Their boundless energy proved to be the ideal one-two punch for a successful evening under the stars.
Party People, we’ve got some good news to share about our huge gala next month.
We’ve got an eclectic list of honorees for our annual “Bring Back the Beach” bash, drawing from the worlds of politics, entertainment and media.
We’re super stoked to salute the good work of three leaders who embody the spirit of protecting what you love: Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, Univision news anchor Gabriela Teissier and sustainability advocates Zooey Deschanel and Jacob Pechenik.
All guests of honor will mingle on the sand with us May 17 at the Jonathan Club in Santa Monica. A lively mix of artists, surfers, policy wonks, engineers, business owners and everyday ocean lovers always turns out for the year’s biggest beach party.
Mayor Eric Garcetti has a long history of collaboration with Heal the Bay, starting with his days as an L.A. City Council member. (He’s pictured above on the L.A River). His administration has made significant progress in making our region more environmentally healthy and economically prosperous under his ambitious 20-year Sustainability pLAn. He is the first L.A. Mayor to design and implement a master sustainability blueprint for the city. Under his leadership, the city has partnered with Heal the Bay and other nonprofits to meet a goal of producing 50% of our water locally by 2035.
Gabriela Teissier is a longtime supporter of our work. Led by her vision and editorial direction, Univision has provided thoughtful coverage of such issues as plastic pollution, climate change, contaminated seafood, and beach safety. By covering these issues, the region’s leading Spanish-language broadcaster has connected Latino audiences to the shoreline, to their watershed and to each other. Her husband, famed surfer and chef Raphael Lunetta, is also a longtime fixture on Venice and Santa Monica beaches.
Zooey Deschanel, a native Angeleno, may be best known for her work in film and music. But the actress and singer spends considerable creative energy on The Farm Project, an initiative to connect people directly to their food. Together with entrepreneur husband Jacob Pechenik, they help reduce carbon emissions – and warming seas – by empowering city residents to easily grow their own food at their home or business through their new service Lettuce Grow. The couple also has been creating awareness around the dangers of plastic pollution in our ocean and food chain through short-form videos.
We hope you can join us May 17 to celebrate good people doing good work. The event is loose and fun, but it’s seriously our biggest fundraiser of the year. We rely on the support of the community on this one night to sustain us year-round
More than 700 walked the planks at our annual awards gala … and lived to tell the tale, reports Communications Director Matthew King.
“And remember: Mermaids smoke seaweed!”
With that offbeat reminder, actress and honoree Sharon Lawrence brought Heal the Bay’s 26th annual “Bring Back the Beach” gala last night to a funny, fitting close.
Single-use plastic items were incorporated throughout the gala decor (Photo by Nicola Buck)
Over 700 guests joined us on the wonderfully funky deck of the historic Santa Monica Pier for a night of celebration and renewed commitment to the ongoing fight for clean oceans and inland watersheds.
Entertainers and artists featured plastic pollution that ends up in our ocean (Photo by Nicola Buck)
While a carnival atmosphere prevailed (stilt walkers, jugglers, popcorn, spinning Ferris wheel), the true spirit of the evening was one of resolve. Dr. Shelley Luce, our new president and CEO, earned rousing applause for vowing to thwart the new federal administration’s plan to downsize the EPA and weaken the Clean Water Act.
Shelley Luce (Photo by David Young-Wolff)
Sharon Lawrence, a longtime board member and public ambassador for our work, received the Dorothy Green Award, named after Heal the Bay’s late, founding president. Gracious as ever, Lawrence recognized by name the long lineage of female water warriors – including mermaids! – involved in our work. Her mother and father, who had driven across the country to see Lawrence receive the award, beamed with pride. A very sweet scene.
Sharon Lawrence and Ed Begley Jr. (Photo by David Young-Wolff)
Local broadcast station KTLA 5 earned the night’s “Walk the Talk” award for its decades-long connection to Heal the Bay. Led by surfer and media honcho Don Corsini, KTLA has made space on its airwaves to promote our events and highlight ocean-related environmental issues. Anchor Courtney Friel accepted the award on the station’s behalf.
Courtney Friel and Stephanie Medina (Photo by David Young-Wolff)
In between speeches and presentations, a lively mix of surfers, politicos, water policy wonks, engineers, business owners and everyday ocean lovers mingled and schmoozed as the sun set over a calm sea. Event planners earned well-deserved praise for an innovative menu (roasted beet salad and Aussie handpies) and ocean-themed cocktails (blue margaritas and Golden Road’s kelp forest canned Heal the Bay IPA!).
Mike Sullivan, LAcarGUY owner and longtime boardmember, won the best-dressed award in a vibrant Wonka-like suit-jacket and matching Technicolor shorts. But even he was upstaged by a bevy of guest models sashaying down the catwalk in astonishing and truly beautiful dresses fashioned out of plastic trash commonly found on our shorelines. Kudos to designer Marina DeBris for raising awareness in such a creative way! View our Facebook Live video of the “Beach Couture: Haute Mess” fashion show.
This guest model is wearing "Washed Up Saleman." Men's briefs, board shorts, hats and clothing tags are a frequent find on any beach. Not to mention the single-use plastic bottles on the inside of the jacket. (Photo by David Young-Wolff)
The gala is designed as a gathering of the tribe, but it also serves as a critical fundraiser for us. Attendees dug deep this year, breaking our all-time records for our live and silent auctions.
Sarah Sikich, Meredith McCarthy and Matthew King (Photo by Nicola Buck)
Santa Monica Mayor Ted Winterer won a stand-up paddleboard and then realized he had no way to get it home. (He didn’t take our suggestion to paddle by sea back to his Ocean Park home.)
Funds raised from the evening directly support a number of our education and advocacy programs, from sponsored field trips to our Santa Monica Pier Aquarium to cleanups and water quality monitoring at local beaches and streams.
Amy Smart, Carter Oosterhouse, Sharon Lawrence, Sasha Alexander (Photo by David Young-Wolff)
Among the other guests bidding and bubbling: actress, board member and new mom Amy Smart, getting a rare, free night-out with husband Carter Oosterhouse; Smart’s BFF and Heal the Bay ambassador Ali Larter; Oscar-nominated actress and new-to-us Marianne Jean-Baptiste; “Roxy Girl” and Heal the Bay activist Bruna Schmitz with husband and pro surfer Dane Zaun; KROQ brass dancing away to SoulCirque (Heal the Bay is longtime beneficiary of the station’s annual “Weenie Roast” benefit concerts); legislative environmental leaders Assemblymember Richard Bloom and former Senator Fran Pavley; skateboard legend Natas Kaupis; and kid celeb Heal the Bay ambassadors Chloe Noelle and Jax Malcolm, along with actors Carolyn Hennesy, Sasha Alexander, Gregory Harrison and Ed Begley Jr.
Also, thanks to our sponsors The Energy Coalition, The John and Nancy Edwards Family Foundation, LAcarGUY, KROQ, and KTLA 5 as well as our brilliant volunteer photographers Nicola Buck and David Young-Wolff for making it a very memorable evening.
Advocates form the backbone of our work at Heal the Bay. Where would we be without passionate people and organizations rising up, speaking out and taking action?
At this year’s Bring Beach the Beach: Annual Awards Gala on Thursday, May 18 at the iconic Santa Monica Pier, we are excited to honor two of our most authentic and vocal supporters: KTLA 5 and Sharon Lawrence.
Our Gala honorees continue to generously open up their trusted platforms to evangelize Heal the Bay’s mission, going above and beyond the call of duty to protect our local ocean, rivers, and watersheds. These incredible advocates don’t wait for change to take place — they’ve taken the lead to spark change right here in L.A. County.
Please join us in recognizing this year’s Gala honorees:
As the trusted news source for millions of Southern Californians since 1947, KTLA 5 has also been a generous media supporter of Heal the Bay.
The dynamic team at KTLA 5 continues to elevate and celebrate our efforts to protect the environment. Their deep involvement spans across the media organization from Don Corsini, KTLA’s President and General Manager, to the news team and staff. They can always be counted on to help us spread the word about the complex environmental issues we face here in L.A.
From special broadcasts about our ocean and watersheds to year-round coverage of Heal the Bay’s milestones to covering events on KTLA’s award-winning newscasts, the KTLA 5 team has created a more informed and aware public, fostering deep connections between our community and the environment.
For more than six years, Sharon Lawrence has served on Heal the Bay’s board, championing the vision of clean and thriving oceans both locally and nationally.
Whether it’s on the red carpet, a podcast, on social media or at a Heal the Bay Board meeting, Sharon speaks about our mission from her heart. She’s catalyzed peers, colleagues and fans in the entertainment community to become environmental stewards. Her thoughtful messages about caring for the environment and living a green lifestyle instill a real urgency to take action.
We thank Sharon for her strong advocacy and support of Heal the Bay for nearly a decade.
Sharon Lawrence is an Emmy Award nominated actress and an illustrious, longtime member of the entertainment community. You may know her from leading roles in NYPD Blue, One Tree Hill, Rizzoli & Isles, and Shameless. Follow Sharon Lawrence at Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
Don’t miss out! Reserve your seat for our annual awards Gala at the Santa Monica Pier. This exclusive seaside experience happens just once-a-year and goes a long way towards our mission of making Greater L.A.’s coastal waters and watersheds safe, healthy and clean.
Thanks to our generous supporters, Heal the Bay set an all-time attendance record for annual “Bring Back the Beach” gala Thursday night. More than 1,200 ocean lovers joined us on the sand at the Jonathan Club in Santa Monica for an evening of relaxed fun and environmental fundraising.
We met all our goals – the evening’s proceeds will underwrite almost a quarter of our annual operating budget. But as important, the night really is a great gathering of the tribe – surfers, policy wonks, soccer moms, environmental engineers, rock stars, progressive business owners, you name it. It’s very inspiring for staff and volunteers to see such a cross-section of greater Los Angeles come out to support clean beaches and healthy watersheds. It’s not just the dollars, it’s the faith invested in our work.
There’s something for everyone at the event — whether it’s vamping the blue carpet, power networking, laid-back table hopping, bidding on a priceless trip to Belize 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.
This year’s honorees included Mike Sullivan, Heal the Bay board member and president of LAcarGuy, the world’s largest hybrid dealer; LA 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. (It was nice to see Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti and Incubus frontman Brandon Boyd being generous with their time, posing for photos and chatting with supporters and fans backstage.)
We’re taking a breather today, but we’ll soon start planning for next year’s bash, which is set for May 14, 2015. We’ll be be back at the Jonathan Club, and it’s our 30th anniversary. So expect something big!
Heal the Bay CEO Ruskin Hartley gets a slice of life — and pie — spending a day in Malibu with some inspiring kids.
If you have spent any time on a surfboard you are probably familiar with Duke Paoa Kahanamoku, Hawaii’s legendary Olympic swimmer and surf evangelist. In 1912, he won the 100 meters freestyle in the Stockholm Olympics. And starting in the 1920s, he starred in a dozen feature films. But between Olympic competition and filming, he travelled the world inspiring a love of the ocean through his passion for swimming and his introduction of surfing to an unsuspecting world.
In its own way, Heal the Bay is continuing Kahanamoku’s legacy with an innovative partnership we call “Lunch and Learn.” For the past three years we have partnered with a restaurant that bears his name, Duke’s in Malibu, to introduce kids to the ocean and teach them simple things they can do to care for it every day.
The program combines an outdoor field-trip for elementary schoolchildren with a hosted sit-down lunch overlooking the Pacific Ocean. Many of these kids, all of whom come from Title I schools, have never been to the ocean despite it being in their backyard. The icing on the cake is the lunch served to them on white linen as they sit and watch for whales and dolphins (actually, the icing is fudge sauce and macadamia nuts….). I recall having that only once on a field-trip growing up, but that’s another story.
I was fortunate to help out with this morning’s field-trip. From the moment the fourth grade classes arrived on the big red bus from the Crescent Heights Language Arts/Social Justice Magnet school in Los Angeles, to the last slice of famous Hula Pie, there were smiles all around. But this wasn’t just about buses and pie, important as both are. The heart of the program teaches kids about the relationship between what they do in their everyday life and the impact it has on the ocean. The link being the stormdrain that washes the debris from their playground, street and home through to the deep blue of the Pacific Ocean.
It was inspiring to watch the kids work in groups to test hypotheses about how water will interact with various surfaces, or sieve sand in search of elusive sandcrabs. After lunch, everyone became animated during the quiz as they shouted out answers like “entanglement,” “impermeable,” and “stop littering” as they competed for prizes.
They understand that they can do simple things to help out. I found it very touching to watch them share dessert and talk about their desire to become scientists and engineers when they grew up. All that through a day at the beach, and a slice of tasty hula pie. Thank you Duke’s and the Ella Fitzgerald Foundation!
Ana Luisa Ahern, Heal the Bay’s Communications Manager, shares her experience flying in a Cessna 210 on an aerial tour of L.A.’s marine protected areas.
A few weeks ago I had the incredible opportunity to fly in a four-passenger, single engine airplane over L.A.’s beautiful coast. The flight was provided by LightHawk, a nonprofit whose mission is to champion environmental protection through the unique perspective of flight. Mike Sutton, president of the California Fish and Game Commission, served as pilot on this eye-opening journey.
Mike and I were taking Los Angeles Times environmental reporter Tony Barboza and photographer Luis Cinco on an aerial tour of L.A.’s new marine protected areas, or MPAs. Our new MPAs are best viewed at either extreme — below the surface of the ocean or thousands of feet above it. Flying over the ocean on a sunny day provided an incredible view of the thriving kelp forests off the Palos Verdes Peninsula. The view highlighted the beauty and important placement of our new underwater parks in a statewide network of protected places.
Staring down at the expanse of different hues of blue, accentuated by deep brown kelp beds off the Malibu coast near Point Dume, I recalled my recent scuba dives there, both within and just outside of the marine reserve. The contrast was startling. Diving outside of and then in the reserve was akin to stepping out of the desert and into a grove of giant sequoias, surrounded by life. After seeing only a few straggling fish on the first dive, I was awed by the dazzling display of color and variety of species I encountered inside the reserve. Brilliant orange garibaldi darted across my path, a startled swell shark shot off into the deep. Tiny Spanish Shawl nudibranch, those flamboyantly costumed stars of the ocean, swayed in the surge as rockfish stopped to side-eye me in the vast underwater kelp forest. It was like night and day, and the importance of protecting this special place, allowing it to rest and recover in order to thrive, was so beautifully illustrated for me in that moment.
I shared my love for these spots with Tony and Luis on that flight. Mike and I recounted our personal stories about MPAs and the process that brought them to Southern California. We also highlighted the findings of Heal the Bay’s citizen-scientist monitoring program, MPA Watch. The report shows that things haven’t changed all that much for the lives of the fishing community. Life below the surface is on the road to recovery, given a special opportunity to thrive.
Sipping on an artisanal cocktail, winning a life-changing vacation and jamming to the music of Ziggy Marley during a Santa Monica beach sunset — does life get any better? Yes, it does when it goes to benefit clean oceans!
Bring Back the Beach on May 16, 2013, at the Jonathan Beach Club in Santa Monica, was truly the ultimate beach party. Hollywood A-listers and guests joined us for an evening under the stars to honor Heal the Bay’s former president Mark Gold, D. Env., Oscar-winning actor and environmental champion Jeremy Irons, and founder of the Inclusive Health movement and philanthropist Dr. Howard Murad.
Our supporters were treated to a special acoustic performance by five-time Grammy Award winner Ziggy Marley, who received the true VIP treatment, with Heal the Bay’s Marine & Coastal Scientist Dana Roeber Murray and her husband Brian chauffeuring him home after the show!
Guests had the chance to bid on a completely decorated cabana set, courtesy of Coastal Living magazine, and a new 2013 Scion FR-S, contributed by LAcarGUY.
Thanks to our dedicated guests, we exceeded our goal, and raised more than $1 million for programs that work toward clean beaches and oceans. Rest assured: Our teachers, water quality scientists, policy advocates, beach cleanup organizers, and aquarists, to name a few, plan to put those dollars to good work.