With record attendance and selling out weeks in advance, the Ninth Annual ForEverglades Benefit celebrated the 20th Anniversary of the Everglades Foundation shattering its goal of raising more than $2 million dollars for the restoration and protection of America’s Everglades.
The evening began with cocktails for the blue jeans and boots clad guests followed by dinner in the Ponce de Leon ballroom decorated with a tropical setting befitting of America’s Everglades. Guests enjoyed a Southern feast inspired by Zac Brown Band’s own Southern Ground recipes. Legendary journalist and television host Katie Couric emceed the event, which featured a special video celebrating the Everglades Foundation’s 20th Anniversary.
Couric, who frequently tweeted about the event to her more than 1 million Twitter followers (@katiecouric)
After dinner, author and Everglades champion Carl Hiaasen took the stage to present an engraved Tibor Everglades Reel as the Everglades Advocacy Award to actor and advocate Michael Keaton for his exemplary work in furthering conservation, protection and restoration of America’s waterways. Keaton spoke eloquently of the importance of restoring America’s Everglades to ensure the long-term health of Florida’s residents, ecosystems and economy.
Everglades Foundation Chairman Paul Tudor Jones II, thanked guests for their continuing support of the Foundation and America’s Everglades. “Its environment has been threatened with collapse and we need your help to protect and restore it,” said Jones.
Jones noted that because of the Foundation’s efforts restoration of America’s Everglades is winning renewed support in Tallahassee and Washington from both Republicans and Democrats. “We’re seeing progress but we still have a great deal of work to do,” said Jones.
The ForEverglades Benefit featured a special silent auction with bids entered via email for exciting adventure trips to Africa, Argentina, Costa Rica, Islamorada and even a swamp buggy ride into the heart of the Everglades.
Guests rushed forward when Grammy winning Zac Brown Band – Zac Brown, Jimmy De Martini, John Driskell Hopkins, Coy Bowles, Chris Fryar, Clay Cook, Matt Mangano and Daniel de los Reyes took the stage. Then midway through the band’s set, Zac Brown Band surprised the crowd by bringing Jimmy Buffett onstage.
It was a rare opportunity to hear two of the best musical performers today play together. The result was sensational. Guests sung and danced to tunes such as Where the Boat Leaves From,
Volcano, A Pirate Looks at 40, Toes, Free/Into the Mystic and Margaritaville.
Notables in attendance included, U.S. Rep. Patrick Murphy (D-Fl.), U.S. Rep. Tom Rooney (R-Fl.), State Sen. Joe Negron (R-Stuart), State Sen. Wilton Simpson, (R-New Port Richey), House Minority Leader Mark Pafford (D-West Palm Beach), State Rep. Amanda Murphy (D-New Port Richey), and State Rep. Jamie Grant (R-Tampa).
The ForEverglades Benefit raises money to support the science, communications, advocacy, education and legal programs of the Everglades Foundation — all geared to protecting and restoring America’s Everglades. The board of directors supports all of the Foundation’s administrative and fundraising expenses, allowing 100% of the money raised at the benefit to directly support these programs.
Benefit chairmen: Mary Barley, Eva and Glenn Dubin, Fenia and Carl Hiaasen, Sonia and Paul Tudor Jones II, Elaine and Ken Langone, Kathy and Paul Leone, Michele Henry and Garrison duP. Lickle, Alice and Lorne Michaels, Mary Morse, Barbara and Jack Nicklaus, Ashley and Mike Ramos, Lia Reed, and Toni and Andrew Wilshire.
Co-Chairs: Georgina Bloomberg, Mark Dalton, Jennifer and Joseph Duke, Mark Fisher, Tucker Frederickson, Regina and Mario Gabelli, Mercedes and Steve Gotwald, Judy and John Kellner, Judy and Jarrett Kling, Danielle and Kelly Moore, Thalia and Tommy Mottola, and Heather and Beau Wrigley.
Event Committee Members: Ramona and Thomas Bean, Brooks Bishop, Michele and Daniel Borislow, Connie and Dan Burkhardt, Katherine Carpenter, Anthony F. Cummings, Bill Davenport and Bruce Wiltsie, Susan and John Dougherty, Mia Celano and Skip Dunn, Cheri and Tom Flood, Kirk Fordham and Michael Cevarr, Susanne and Ramsey Frank, Emily and Harry Grand, Carrie and Paul Hanna, Kerry and Sean Healey, Debbie and Nick Iarossi, Robert P. Leidy, Jr., Sandra and Steve Lessing, Sasha Lickle, Lance Mahaney, Tina and Steve McPherson, Lyn and Robert L. Parks, Sara Groff and Piper Quinn, Nancy and Bill Rollnick, Patrick Rooney, Jr., Maura and Brandon Ross, Jeanne and Michael Sole, Linda and Jared Soper, Susan and Stanley Trotman, Peter Vasconcelos, and Erik T. Waldin.
About Florida’s Relationship with America’s Everglades
More than seven million people and millions of visitors depend on America’s Everglades for its daily drinking water supply. America’s Everglades is a World Heritage site and one of the most unique natural ecosystems. Florida’s agricultural, boating, tourism, real estate, recreational and commercial fishing industries all depend on a healthy Everglades ecosystem, supporting tens of thousands of jobs and contributing billions to our economy.
About the Everglades Foundation
The Everglades Foundation, Inc. is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit, science based organization that uses scientific research, education, legal, advocacy and communications teams to advance the cause of restoring and protecting America’s Everglades.
For more information please visit www.evergladesfoundation.org