Oceana to celebrate SeaChange Summer Party

It often takes oceans of people for a real seachange to happen. No one knows that better than Oceana, the world’s largest conservation and philanthropic organization devoted to protecting the world’s oceans. And with what has now become an annual event, Oceana will be putting even more of their good efforts into motion: The Seachange Summer Party, will be held September 10 at the spectacular Villa di Sogni in Laguna Beach overlooking the Pacific Ocean. What more fitting locale to bring attention to the very valuable work of this great organization, where some of the biggest names in the world have already helped immensely in a very worthy cause.

This year marks the third year in a row for the Seachange event, started by co-chairs Valarie Whiting and Julie Hill. As a new organization to the area, it was difficult to gauge the response to Oceana’s fundraiser off the bat (the organization’s main offices are located in Washington, DC).

“We initially wondered how much support we would receive from the community, since we are not a local organization but a global one,” said Nancy Christiano, Oceana’s Development Manager on the West Coast. As it turns out, their first year, 2008, was over the top.

“It was incredible,” Christiano said. “We were so lucky to have the celebrity support that we did, and had an incredible event as a result. Harrison Ford was our honoree. We sold out and raised $700,000.”

Last year saw an even greater outpouring of support, almost $900,000, with Glenn Close and Morgan Freeman as the evening’s special guests. There in great support were such stars as Jeff Goldblum, Kate Walsh, and Lauren Hutton.

This year’s co-chairs will be Valarie Whiting and Eve Kornyei, along with an executive committee and a small army of volunteers who are under the watchful eye of Director Mimi Hempel. The special guests are Keely and Pierce Brosnan, and Jeff Bridges. Another sensational event sounds like it’s in the making: As of earlier this month, Oceana reported that only 10 official tickets were left for purchase. Southcoast Plaza had already pledged a $25,000 “Shopping Resort” donation and Mikkimoto has donated a $24,000 necklace.

To show their respect and thanks to the community, Oceana donated a percentage of the funds raised last year to the Surf Industry Manufacturing Association, a local conservation group who cares for our waters.

“I am so happy that people are spreading the message even more after last year,” Christiano said. “They had created an environmental fund, which we just had to support.”

The mission of the Seachange Summer Party is to reach the masses though-not just the well-known among us. The SeaChange Summer Party promises donors the opportunity to help bring back the sea’s bounty, reminding them “a healthy ocean is every child's rightful inheritance.”

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