by Robin Gould, Conservancy of Southwest Florida
While serving as a champion of Southwest Florida’s water, land and wildlife, the Conservancy of Southwest Florida has also grown one of the area’s unique and successful fundraising events, Magic Under the Mangroves.
The 18th Annual Magic Under the Mangroves gala held March 3 raised a record $2.1 million net for programs to protect the water, land, wildlife and future of Southwest Florida.
More than 400 guests moseyed their way to the newly renovated Conservancy of Southwest Florida Nature Center for the American Southwest themed event, “A River Runs Through It.” The Conservancy’s largest annual fundraiser, Magic Under the Mangroves, returned to an in-person gala this year featuring an outdoor reception followed by a silent auction, dinner and live auction held inside a multiple-tented structure.
Highlights of the event included a compelling video featuring the testimonies of four local citizens who stand with the Conservancy by voicing their support for the wildlife and natural habitats that need protection in the face of intensive development. Following the video, auctioneer Scott Robertson championed a live fund-a-need auction that started with a $250,000 bid and ultimately raised $1.56 million to support the programs and people that empower the mission of the Conservancy.
During a surprise finale to the fund-a-need, another $98,000 was raised for the opportunity to win a $10,000 shopping spree at Ralph Lauren offered by Waterside shops. Live auction items included a dinner on the Ocean Club yacht; a stay in Charleston, South Carolina; a gourmet wine pairing dinner at the renowned Dixon Man Cave; a two-week European cruise aboard The World; and trips to New England and Nantucket.
“Our supporters stepped up in a big way during the 2022 Magic Under the Mangroves during an especially vital time as the Conservancy of Southwest Florida stands steadfast in our mission to protect our land, water, wildlife and future,” said Rob Moher, Conservancy president and CEO. “On behalf of our staff, volunteers and board, I’m grateful for the outpouring of support during Magic and throughout the year. When I look around and see the voices of support who stand by our mission, I am more hopeful than ever that we will find that sensible balance between development and preservation of our natural treasures.”
Terry and Bob Edwards chaired the event, which has raised more than $17 million since its inception. The gala included cocktails, hors d’oeuvres, a seated dinner by Windows Catering, an award-winning “green” caterer, and live and silent auctions featuring one-of-a-kind items and experiences.
“This event signifies how important the protection of our environment is to the citizens of Southwest Florida,” said Terry Edwards, co-chair of the 2022 Magic Under the Mangroves. “There’s no place to donate, volunteer or support in Southwest Florida that will have more of an impact on our quality of life than the Conservancy. We must all play a role in extending this river of history and dedication to our natural resources in our beautiful Southwest Florida.”
For more information on the Conservancy of Southwest Florida, visit Conservancy.org.