At its 25th Anniversary Gala on Thursday night, the Santa Monica Bay Restoration Foundation announced its new, shortened name, THE BAY FOUNDATION (TBF) and new logo. The big reveal was made as Foundation President Laurie Newman invited the over 200 guests to open their individual sealed envelopes handed to them at check-in, exposing a sticker of the new logo, and eliciting “oohs” and “aahs” from the gathered crowd which included elected officials, academia, public utilities, businesses, non-profits and additional guests who came to honor the newly-named THE BAY FOUNDATION (www.santamonicabay.org) and the evening’s honorees.
“What a great night! This was a wonderful celebration of The Bay Foundation, its honorees and its many accomplishments,” states TBF President Laurie Newman. “The Bay Foundation’s new exciting name and logo have come at exactly the right time. As we increase our public outreach, this snappier name perfectly reflects our collaborative yet focused approach to protecting and enhancing the Santa Monica Bay.”
Former U.S. Rep. Mel Levine was honored by The Bay Foundation for attaining recognition of the Santa Monica Bay in 1987—then one of the country’s most polluted—as a National Estuary Program and eligible for annual federal funds, thereby founding the TBF’s unique, collaborative program. The former high school body surfer talked about the recent Washington gridlock, and the fights long ago to create protected areas across the state. He also shared, “[The Santa Monica Bay] is a magnet for almost everything good in Southern California”. His award was presented by Fran Diamond, a member of the L.A. Regional Water Quality Control Board and TBF Board of Directors.
Sheila Kuehl emceed the evening’s program, engaging in banter with many longtime friends and colleagues. The event was a reunion of sorts for many who were involved in helping create THE BAY FOUNDATION. Ms. Kuehl authored the legislation that created the Santa Monica Bay Restoration Commission (SMBRC) in 2002. TBF is the non-profit partner of the Commission.
In addition to Mr. Levine, Senator Fran Pavley and David Nahai were honored. Senator Pavley is a longtime member of TBF, serves as Chair of the Senate Natural Resources and Water Committee, and has made the environment one of her key issues. She grew up being taken by her parents to Santa Monica when it was hot. She noted, “I have a lot of fond memories and a lot of good friends I’ve met because of the Santa Monica Bay.” CA Assemblyman Richard Bloom presented Senator Pavley with her award.
David Nahai was introduced by City of L.A. Councilman Paul Koretz. The former chair of the Los Angeles Regional Water Control Board and former head of the LADWP, Mr. Nahai has also been a supporter of TBF for many years. He describes a personal call to action when he took his young son long ago to the ocean and a sign said the water was too polluted to go in. Says Nahai, “I realized…that if we are truly going to be citizens of Los Angeles, if we…want to enjoy all of the riches that living here offers, we have to start with the ocean” and do more to take care of it.
Suzanne Goode, Sr. Environmental Scientist for CA Department of Parks and Recreation, was presented with the first-ever Urban Coast Environmental Hero Award. Presenting the award, TBF’s Executive Director Shelley Luce noted Goode’s years of dedication to protecting and restoring the wetlands and other habitats of the Santa Monica Bay watershed, adding, “Suzanne has used her ecology and wildlife expertise to manage very complex issues of wildlands on the urban fringe.”
The theme of the evening was stories of the Bay, as told by many different people. A large screen displayed 25 videoed stories of the Bay from a range of people, and guests captured their own stories on film during the event. The stories will be shared through TBF social media, as will tribute videos about the three honorees.
”It was wonderful to have so many who have worked so hard for coastal water quality gathered to celebrate The Bay Foundation. The event perfectly reflected our long history of collaboration and our bright future of leadership in stewarding the precious natural resources of our urban coastal waters,” said Luce. “I am so honored and excited to be part of The Bay Foundation team.”
The evening’s guests included Assemblymember Steven Bradford; Assemblymember Anthony Rendon; Micheál O' Leary, Councilmember, City of Culver City and Chair, SMBRC; Jeff Duclos, Councilmember, City of Hermosa Beach; Mark Gold, UCLA Institute of the Environment and Sustainability; Matt Petersen, Chief Sustainability Officer, City of Los Angeles; Jonathan Parfrey, Climate Resolve; and David Hertz, David Hertz Architects, Inc.
Also attending were TBF Board members Dean Kubani, Marvin Sachse, Sarah Sikich, Catherine Tyrrell, and Liz Crosson.
The menu included signature dishes created for the 25th Anniversary Celebration featuring sustainable, locally caught seafood. Organic wine compliments of Frey Vineyards and sustainable craft beer donated by Ninkasi Brewery were served.
Sponsors for the 25th Anniversary gala included Chevron and Southern California Gas Company at Donor Level; and CenterCal Properties, LA Department of Water and Power, Metropolitan Water District, RMC Water & Environment, and Southern California Edison at the Supporter Level.
Special thanks to DJ Trent, Brandon Wise Photography, Lindsey Byron Photography, and EnviroTote.