Everglades Foundation Raises Over $2.7 Million For Everglades Restoration

Everglades Foundation Hosts 11th Annual Foreverglades Benefit Featuring the George Barley Water Prize, The Largest Science Prize Competition For Clean Water in History
By: The Everglades Foundation
Alan Jackson Performing at the 2016 ForEverglades Benefit
Alan Jackson Performing at the 2016 ForEverglades Benefit
PALM BEACH, Fla. - Feb. 24, 2016 - PRLog -- “It’s Five O’clock Somewhere”… That was the theme for the 11th Annual ForEverglades Benefit, which took place on Saturday, February 13 at The Breakers Palm Beach. The sold out event featured award-winning television journalist, author and Special Correspondent for NBC News, honoree Tom Brokaw; Grammy-nominated actor/comedian Jim Gaffigan; and country superstar Alan Jackson, along with his band, performing mega hits to a crowd of over 800 Everglades Foundation supporters.

The evening commenced with cocktails for guests who were encouraged to wear clothing fitting of the Five O’clock Somewhere theme, which inspired everything from blue jeans and cowboy boots to, shorts and flip flops. Following the cocktail hour, guests moved into the Ponce de Leon Ballroom where long tables were set with décor featuring flora reminiscent of America’s Everglades placed in beakers, test tubes and bunsen burners which will be sent to schools across Florida as part of the Everglades Literacy Program. Upon seating, guests were greeted by Everglades Foundation CEO Eric Eikenberg who emphasized the importance of passing Legacy Florida legislation.  The bill, currently working its way though the state legislature, would dedicate $200 million of Amendment 1 funds annually toward critical restoration projects.

Board Chair, Marshall Field then took to the stage and invited the crowd to view a videotaped tribute to Tom Brokaw from several of his close friends, colleagues, and fly fishing partners including:  Harrison Ford, Jimmy Buffett, Katie Couric, Eli Manning Warren Buffett, Pat Riley and Michael Keaton who praised him in a fun-filled tribute for his advocacy towards conservation and the environment.

After dinner, actor, writer and comedian Jim Gaffigan entertained the crowd with his commentaries surrounding food, fatherhood and Florida living. He had the crowd in stitches with his commentary and the fact that this was the only crowd he had ever witnessed eating fruit out of a boot as The Breakers created gold dusted chocolate boots alongside warm apple cobbler for dessert.

The room took a more serious tone when Paul Tudor Jones announced the Everglades Foundation’s commitment to tackling the global phosphorus pollution problem through its $10 million George Barley Water Prize. Named after Foundation co-founder and close friend of Jones, the George Barley Water Prize is the largest science prize competition for clean water in history.  The audience was captivated while learning about this initiative and a call-to-action was announced with the help of Quinn Hiaasen leading the charge on how to bid on an iPhone.  Over $350,000 was raised in just minutes.

American novelist, conservationist and fisherman Tom McGuane greeted guests and spoke about the 100 year old history of the American Park System which includes Everglades National Park, the largest subtropical wilderness in the United States and how Tom Brokaw has kept a watchful eye and has helped navigate conservation efforts during sometimes turbulent times. McGuane said, “We owe the Everglades’ life to its defenders and hope for its health and a strong future.”  He then introduced Brokaw to the stage where McGuane and Tudor Jones presented him with two bamboo fishing rods, one a Payne Flyrod from 1966 and another 21st Century Payne Flyrod. Said Tudor Jones, “We wanted to present you with two rods from two different centuries in which you straddle. Thank you for all you do, you are the greatest of all time.”  While the crowd stood in applause, Brokaw thanked his friends and emotions were high.

Rounding out the night, ForEverglades Chair Mike Ramos announced musical headliner Alan Jackson and his eight piece band who took the stage singing a full concert list of songs featuring countless top hits including: "Gone Country," "Chattahoochee", “Livin On Love”, “Remember”, “Mercury” and the evening's theme, "It's Five O' Clock Somewhere”.

Notables in attendance included: U.S. Rep. Patrick Murphy, Fenia, Quinn, and Carl Hiaasen, Sonia and Paul Tudor Jones, Eva and Glenn Dubin; Laurie and Peter Grauer, Paul and Kathy Leone, Barbara and Jack Nicklaus, Jamee and Marshall Field V; Ashley and Mike Ramos, Lia Reed, Michelle Henry and Garrison duP. Lickle; Diane Barrett and Bob Vila, Danielle Moore; Mary Barley, Tucker Frederickson; State Rep. Patrick Rooney, Mercedes and Steve Gotwald, and Joe Negron.

The ForEverglades Benefit raises over $2 million annually to support scientifically sound, achievable solutions to restore and protect the fragile Everglades ecosystem that provides fresh water for nearly 8 million Floridians and millions of visitors. The Everglades Foundation board of directors supports all of the Foundation’s administrative and fundraising expenses, allowing 100 percent of the funds raised at the benefit to directly support these programs.

Chairs for the 11th Annual ForEverglades Benefit include Mary Barley, Claudia and Carlos de la Cruz, Jr., Fiona and Stanley Druckenmiller, Eva and Glenn Dubin, Jamee and Marshall Field V, Beryl Lacoste Hamilton and Rex Hamilton, Fenia and Carl Hiaasen, Sonia and Paul Tudor Jones II, Eaddo and Peter Kiernan, Elaine and Ken Langone, Kathy and Paul Leone, Michele Henry and Garrison duP. Lickle, Mary Morse, Thalia and Tommy Mottola, Barbara and Jack Nicklaus, Ashley and Mike Ramos, Lia Reed, Alita and Nathaniel Reed, Diana Barrett and Robert Vila, Toni and Andrew Wilshire, and Beau Wrigley.

About Florida’s Relationship with the Everglades:

America’s Everglades provides the water supply for 1 in 3 Floridians and millions of annual visitors. Additionally, Florida’s agricultural, boating, tourism, real estate and recreational and commercial fishing industries all rely on a healthy Everglades ecosystem that supports tens of thousands of jobs and contributes billions to the economy. America’s Everglades includes, among other attractions, Everglades National Park, Biscayne National Park, the Big Cypress National Preserve and the Ten Thousand Islands. Together, these parks draw several million visitors each year contributing hundreds of millions of dollars to Florida’s tourism economy.

About the Everglades Foundation:

The Everglades Foundation is a nonprofit 501 (c)(3), science based organization dedicated to the restoration and protection of America’s Everglades. Founded in 1994 by Paul Tudor Jones II and the late George Barley, the Everglades Foundation science, education, communication and advocacy teams work diligently each day to accomplish this goal. www.evergladesfoundation.org

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