Nancy Marshall, president of the Arthur R. Marshall Foundation for the Everglades, has announced that the nonprofit organization raised approximately $100,000 at the seventh annual River of Grass Gala. The festive “green tie” event was held Dec. 8 at the Colony Hotel in Palm Beach.
More than 200 people attended the gala, with Kathryn Fox of Palm Beach serving as honorary chair and Palm Beach County School Board Member Jenny Prior Brown as chair. Matthew and Thais Piotrowski were the official co-chairs of the annual fundraising event, which included the presentation of the Marshall Foundation’s fifth annual Champion of the Everglades Awards to individuals and organizations that have made an outstanding contribution toward Everglades restoration over many years.
The 2012 Champions of the Everglades are U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar; Broward County–based business leader, Everglades enthusiast and member of the Florida Wildlife Commission Ron Bergeron; and the Florida Wildlife Federation, which is currently celebrating its 75th anniversary.
One special highlight of the gala was the surprise performance by former Broadway and motion picture star Avery Sommers, who brought down the house with her musical tribute to Marvin Hamlisch, Whitney Houston and Donna Summer.
“As always, I am humbled by the number of people who tirelessly volunteer, sponsor and support our annual River of Grass Gala that funds 100 percent of our grassroots environmental projects throughout the year,” Marshall said. “In fact, 100 percent of all funds raised at the gala goes directly toward educating the next generation about the critical importance of the Everglades, our national treasure, on the entire state of Florida.”
Based in Palm Beach County, the Marshall Foundation champions the restoration and preservation of the greater Everglades ecosystem through science-based education and outreach programs. Annually, more than 25,000 elementary and high school students in Palm Beach County actively participate in the Marshall Foundation’s various education programs.
Founded in 1998, the nonprofit organization has in recent years awarded more than $450,000 in scholarships and internships, planted nearly 100,000 native Florida trees in wetland areas, and involved more than 5,000 volunteers in hands-on restoration projects.
For more information about the Marshall Foundation, call (561) 233-9004 or visit www.artmarshall.org.
ABOVE: Jenny Prior Brown, Kathryn Fox, Thais and Matthew Piotrowski.