Magic Under the Mangroves Raises $1.3-Million

Southwest Florida’s largest fundraiser supporting the region’s water, land and wildlife initiatives, the Conservancy of Southwest Florida’s annual Magic Under the Mangroves™ gala dinner and auction fundraiser raised $1.3 million to benefit the organization.

More than 420 guests attended the March 5 event held on the grounds of the Conservancy Nature Center. Presented by Northern Trust, the Magic Under the Mangroves fundraiser is a key source of revenue for Conservancy of Southwest Florida. Since 2005, the event has raised nearly $7 million with all proceeds supporting the Conservancy mission to “protect our water, land, wildlife and future” in the region.

“When you bring together the region’s most committed and passionate supporters of our environment, it’s amazing what we can accomplish,” said Rob Moher, president and CEO of the Conservancy of Southwest Florida. “On behalf of the Conservancy, we extend our greatest appreciation to our Magic committee and all our supporters who helped us achieve our goals. The dollars raised help fund key initiatives such as sea turtle tracking and protection, wildlife rehabilitation, education programs for children, water quality monitoring - as well as protecting the most vulnerable wildlife – our threatened and endangered species.”

Recognition of the Conservancy of Southwest Florida’s 2015 Eagle Award recipients, the highest award presented annually to an individual, couple or group who advance the mission of the Conservancy, was met with a standing ovation for this year’s winners, Dolph and Sharon von Arx. The couple’s deep commitment to the Conservancy, and their emphasis on the rescue, rehabilitation and release of native wildlife, anchored their selection as this year’s honorees.

Lifelong Conservancy supporter and current board member, Lynne Shotwell, served as the chair of the 2015 Magic Under the Mangroves event.

“The Magic Committee and Board members worked tirelessly to create an event that truly celebrates and reinforces the Conservancy’s very important mission,” said Shotwell. “It is a joy to work with this team to help advance the quality of life for future generations.”

It was an emotional end to the evening with the auctioning of the first Steven Leonard Diamond. The nearly two-carat diamond was donated by William Boyajian of Port Royal Jewelers in the name of Steven Leonard, a fellow Magic Under the Mangroves committee member. The 32-year-old’s life was cut short in a tragic fire last month in Naples. In order to continue Steven’s legacy of philanthropy, Boyajian established the Steven Leonard Diamond Award, through which a diamond will be given annually to local charities.

The exceptional radiant-cut diamond reflects the hope, love and community values of Steven Leonard’s heart. His generosity and sparkle will live on forever.

In addition to Northern Trust as the presenting sponsor of Magic Under the Mangroves, supporting sponsors include Gulfshore Life, Florida Weekly, Naples Daily News, NBC2 News, Port Royal Jewelers and Hurley Travel Experts.

The Naples Daily News named Magic Under the Mangroves 2014 the best gala/fundraiser of the year.

The 2016 Magic Under the Mangroves is set for Thursday, March 3, 2016 at the Conservancy’s Nature Center.

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