To the Editor:
This year, Mote Marine Laboratory celebrated the success of its first-ever comprehensive fundraising campaign, Oceans of Opportunity, and the extraordinary generosity of its supporters at the Lab’s annual fundraising event, Oceanic Evening on Saturday, Oct. 29, 2016 at The Ritz-Carlton, Sarasota.
Oceanic Evening drew about 400 ocean supporters for an elegant event that applauded the historic achievement of Mote’s comprehensive campaign and shared the Lab’s exciting vision for the future. Dr. Michael P. Crosby announced that thanks to Mote’s champion supporters, the campaign surpassed its goal of $50 million in donor commitments – attaining $51,736,582 – before concluding at Oceanic Evening.
Oceans of Opportunity is meant to secure the funding support that Mote needs to achieve the goals in its 2020 Vision & Strategic Plan, which focuses on the following three areas: • Support and expand Mote’s annual research and education operations; • Spur long-term growth in the endowment to provide security and sustainability for Mote’s future; • Finance construction of a new, state-of-the-art research facility at Mote’s property on Summerland Key, Florida.
“Tonight would have been the 100th birthday of William R. Mote, who always said that ‘for generations we’ve been taking from the sea, and now is the time to start giving back,’ and that is what this campaign is all about, giving back,” said Crosby.
“I want to sincerely thank everyone who is helping us achieve our goals outlined in our 2020 Vision & Strategic Plan to enhance our positive impact by 2020. The campaign is specifically designed to help us achieve our goals outlined in this plan and to grow our impact, and it would not be possible without all of you.”
Crosby introduced the Mote Leadership Circle, a special group of community members who understand the urgent threats facing the oceans and are providing critical financial support of $1 million or more to the Oceans of Opportunity campaign to help address these problems.
Mote offered a special ‘thank you’ to the members of the Mote Leadership Circle, all of whom received a special, custom-made gold shark pin made by Diamond Vault. Mote’s Leadership Circle includes five donors who wish to remain anonymous and: • Carol and Barney Barnett • James D. and Pati Ericson • Elizabeth Moore • Robert and Anne Essner • Maurice and Carolyn Cunniffe. Bob Essner, chair of the Oceans of Opportunity campaign and Leadership Circle member, took the stage to give his thanks and then introduced Crosby back up to the stage.
Other attendees included Mark Pritchett, president and CEO of the Gulf Coast Community Foundation; Roxie Jerde, president and CEO of the Community Foundation of Sarasota County; Teri A. Hansen, president and CEO of the Charles and Margery Barancik Foundation; and Congressman Vern Buchanan.
Mote thanks the Oceanic Evening Aquamarine Sponsors Mr. and Mrs. Richard Donegan; Ms. Judy Graham; Mote Scientific Foundation; Charles and Margery Barancik Foundation; Diamond Vault; Mr. and Mrs. Robert Essner; Mr. and Mrs. Bayne Stevenson and Mr. and Mrs. Howard Cobin/Air Force Association; its Blue Topaz sponsors Sabal Trust Company; Steven Wagner- UBS Private Wealth Management; Ms. Jean Martin and Mr. and Mrs. Maurice Cunniffe; Gulf Coast Community Foundation; Mr. and Mrs. Arthur Armitage and Mr. and Mrs. James Ericson; Paradise Advertising; Caldwell Trust Company; PNC Wealth Management; Dr. and Mrs. Michael P. Crosby; and Willis Smith Construction.
Mote would also like to thank its Table Sponsors The New Amsterdam Charitable Foundation; Mr. and Mrs. Robert Carter; Mike Murray and Sandi Stuart; Mr. and Mrs. David Dickson; Mr. and Mrs. Mickey Callanen; Mr. and Mrs. Trudo Letschert; John Lilly Strategic Insights; Mr. and Mrs. Nigel Mould; and Sarasota Ford; its Entertainment Sponsor Lynches Pub & Grub; its exclusive Media Sponsor Sarasota Magazine; its Menu Sponsor Wilde Insurance Services; and its Program Sponsor Florida Blue Foundation.
Kaitlyn Fusco Public Relations Manager
Mote Marine Laboratory & Aquarium Sarasota