Our Mission is Your Mission…
by Aaron Cuison
A golden sunset amongst light gray skies provided a beautiful backdrop to the WaterFront Center’s Annual Benefit on Friday, June 23rd. For 16 years, we have strived to connect people with the water to increase their well-being and foster their appreciation of our beautiful estuary. The Annual Benefit is not only a celebration of the 20,000+ students, families, veterans, and those with disabilities we have served, but also an invitation to our communities’ leaders & supporters to join us in our efforts.
Over 275 friends and colleagues enjoyed the venues scenic views and delectable four cuisine buffet, courtesy of Seawanahaka Corinthian Yacht Club. A prime selection of wine and beer, provided by our beverage sponsors Proud Pour and the Oyster Bay Brewing Co, complimented the jovial atmosphere throughout the night’s festivities. A vast spread of silent auction items ranging from hand selected garments to elegantly painted one-of-a-kind paintings were also provided by our generous donors
• Chrisson & Belina • Christina’s Epicure • Engeman Theater Hermes • Lily Pulitzer • Madd Potter • Oakcliff • Wild Honey •
• Osteria Leana • Oyster Bay Fish & Tackle • Oyster Bay Yoga • Proud Pour • Red Restaurant • Spinnakers • Vineyard Vines •
With the generosity of our title sponsors, The PHFFoundation, Inc; Fuschettto Home Improvements, LLC; The Frederic R. Coudert Foundation; and Inverness Counsel; together we were able to raise over $50,000 dollars. These proceeds will go towards maintaining our equipment, upgrading our facilities, growing our audience, & most importantly, bringing people closer to the water.
A testament to the WaterFront Center’s mission, Richie Kertatos, took to the stage to recount his introduction to sailing through our partnership with the Grenville Baker Boys and Girls Club of Locust Valley. Soon after, it was through the generosity provided by a Frinny Storrs Scholarship that he was able to pursue his passion for sailing. Nearly a decade later, after working as a dock hand & sailing instructor on programs like our Veterans On Water (V.O.W.) program, Richie had this say to the crowd:
“Without the WaterFront Center, some kids- like me- may not have been given the opportunity to participate in such a special activity or learn about the environment and marine life. It transformed my life, and I am sure it transforms others as well.”
To finish out the night, Mike DelGuidice and Big Shot played hit after hit celebrating not only the songs of Billy Joel, but they also pulled out amazing performances of Led Zeppelin & even Journey classics! Elton John’s “Tiny Dancer” was one of the show stoppers that had the whole crowd singing. However, it was the finale performance of “Piano Man” that stole the show!
Though the night’s festivities will pass into memory, it is the culmination of our community’s generosity that will have lasting effects on the public we influence, the environment we protect, & the lives we change. If you were not present at the Annual Benefit, fret not, you can still show your support for the WaterFront Center by visiting www.theWaterFrontCenter.org/donate. Our mission is your mission, & together we can ensure that the bay is an available resource for generations to come.