Dolphins Plus Marine Mammal Responder is the only whale and dolphin rescue organization in the Florida Keys and our area of coverage spans 10,000 square miles of marine habitat. We have a mission of conserving and protecting marine mammals through our research, education and outreach programs. We happily pursue this mission alongside and with the support of the local Keys community and we celebrated this collaboration at our inaugural Connect to Protect Gala on May 4th, 2019!
Our inaugural gala was held at the Baker’s Cay Resort, where over 155 members of the community attended and enjoyed the festivities. They participated in a live auction, a silent auction, and raffles for artwork, jewelry, and other prizes and really demonstrated their generosity and support for our mission.
Before the night ended, Dr. Shelby Loos, our staff veterinarian, spoke about a bottlenose dolphin that she recently rescued and, unfortunately, had to be euthanized because there was nowhere for the dolphin to go to receive the proper rehabilitation it needed. After Dr. Loos told the story, an “open ask” was initiated and the community members were asked to raise their bidding paddles if they would like to donate $200 for an engraved brick to help initiate the funds for a new rehabilitation center and become part of the Founder Alliance. The Founder Alliance is a group of supporters that will always be known as our initial supporters. There was an outstanding response to the request and, a sea of paddles went up throughout the room.
At the end of the night, over $35,000 was raised and we are more than grateful. Our president, Nancy Cooper, said, “We were so blown away with the outpouring of support from our Florida Keys community. Although the food was delicious and the social aspects were so much fun, the best part of the evening was looking around during the “open ask” to see so many bidder paddles raised in the air in support of advancing our mission.”
The money that was raised at the gala will be used for capacity building efforts. Capacity building is defined as “whatever is needed to bring a nonprofit to the next level of operational, programmatic, financial, or organizational maturity, so it may more effectively and efficiently advance its mission into the future.” We will develop important infrastructure and complete foundation work at our facilities. We are highly committed to maintaining our facilities in the best conditions so the marine mammals can receive the best care.
We are excited to advance our mission with the recent generous support from our community and our new fundraising and development program that was introduced at the gala.
Event coordinator and Assistant Director of Development, Hunter Kinney said, “This event was just a starting point for DPMMR and signifies the potential for growth that is possible within this community. We have some exciting plans in the works that we can’t wait to share with our supporters.”
DPMMR promotes a greater understanding of marine ecosystem science, marine mammal conservation, and environmental stewardship via powerful daily interactions with the general public.
If you’re interested in donating but were not able to attend the Gala, please visit our donations page.