On March 25th, we hosted an unforgettable fundraising gala at the exclusive Ocean Reef Club. Raise the Reef 2023 was proudly plastic-free with an environmentally responsible menu, a new digital bidding platform, and record attendance. The gala raised critical funds for coral restoration, just as Coral Restoration Foundation™ surpasses 35,000 square meters of reef restored in the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary, progress that contributes to the ambitious goals of the Mission: Iconic Reefs plan.
In accordance with UN recommendations to reduce meat consumption to combat climate change, Raise the Reef 2023 featured a vegetarian menu. The evening’s appetizers included Mind Blown plant-based crab cakes provided by The Plant Based Seafood Company, demonstrating that sustainability and culinary delight can coexist.
Dr. R Scott Winters, Coral Restoration Foundation™ CEO, gave a groundbreaking keynote speech that revealed the numerous and unexpectedly immediate ways in which coral restoration efforts benefit the local economy. The undeniable link between environmental health and economic prosperity motivated the guests to dig deep in support of this vital work. The live auction was a runaway success, including a surprise visit from Captain Coral, the organization’s edutainment mascot. But the evening's climax was the sale of the last available Carysfort Reef Gold Limited Edition timepiece from Oris – one of three timepieces produced by the famous Swiss watchmakers in support of the Coral Restoration Foundation™ mission.
“CRF™ is responsible for completing a significant portion of the coral restoration work as outlined by the Mission: Iconic Reefs plan, and so we are scaling our impact year on year,” says Martha Roesler, CRF™ Chief Development Officer, “Restoring ecological functionality to Florida’s Coral Reef is a tremendous undertaking and so every dollar counts. We are thrilled with the success of Raise the Reef 2023 and touched by the overwhelming support. This community continues to provide hope, fueling the mission to ensure a thriving future for generations to come.”
CRF™ expresses heartfelt gratitude to all attendees, sponsors, and partners who contributed to Raise the Reef 2023's unprecedented success including Ocean Reef Club, Ocean Reef Conservation Association, Ovie Logistics Express, The Dive Shop at Ocean Reef, American Spirits Exchange, and Tom Thumb Food Stores. Funds raised will contribute to the restoration of the marine ecosystems that underpin our way of life in the Florida Keys and around the world.