20th annual Magic Under the Mangroves gala raises record-breaking $2.3 million net

March 12, 2024

The Conservancy of Southwest Florida’s 20th Annual Magic Under the Mangroves gala held Thursday, March 7 raised a record-breaking amount of more than $2.3 million net for programs to protect the water, land, wildlife, and future of Southwest Florida.  

This year’s 60th anniversary theme of “Preserving Our Paradise” celebrated all of the natural beauty that we treasure in the Southwest Florida region.

This year was monumental as it was the organization’s 20th gala and 60th anniversary of environmental conservation work. The night was full of history, highlights of the Conservancy’s work over 60 years, and a look into the environmental issues of today. 

Rob Moher, CEO and President of the Conservancy of Southwest Florida states, “We would not have arrived at this milestone year were it not for the vision, determination, and hard work of all of our past chairs. Thank you to our founding chair, Mrs. Sue Dalton. She started it all, but was able to hand it off to a succession of equally talented and committed event chairs.”

This line of success raised more than $19 million in 19 years for the Conservancy of Southwest Florida and this year was no different. Magic Under the Mangroves 2024, under the leadership of Toni & Charlie Mueller and Carol & John Walter, a great Magic Under the Mangroves Committee, and the major support of the Board of Directors, broke all the records and pushed the total raised over 20 years to more than $21 million.

“Magic Under the Mangroves has always had three major goals since its inception,” said Moher.  “The first is to raise the visibility of the organization and its work. The second is to make more people aware of the Conservancy and its mission. The third is to raise funds for the Conservancy’s programs. This year we not only achieved these goals, we exceeded them.  It was a very special evening and a wonderful way to celebrate the 20th Anniversary of Magic Under the Mangroves and the 60th Anniversary of the Conservancy.”  

The Conservancy’s largest annual fundraiser featured an outdoor and indoor reception with a Most Magical silent auction and a silent Fund-A-Need, followed by a live auction, live Fund-A-Need, and dinner inside a multiple-tented structure on the Conservancy’s 21-acre campus.

WINK News Anchor Lindsey Sablan was the Master of Ceremonies. The main event began with a live performance by a Miami-based interpretative dance group, Aura Entertainment. Feature films that highlighted the Conservancy’s important work in protecting Southwest Florida’s water, land, wildlife and future spotlighted the four core departments: Environmental Education, Environmental Science, Environmental Policy and Advocacy, and Wildlife Rehabilitation. 

World-renowned auctioneer and author, Lydia Fenet, was welcomed back for a second year to lead the live auction which consisted of seven lots. All were donated by friends of the Conservancy. After getting the crowd warmed up and watching some lively bidding, Fenet then took the 470 guests into the live Fund-A-Need that started with a $250,000 commitment, immediately followed by a $200,000 and then a $100,000 commitment. By the time the live Fund-A-Need was completed more than 300 people had raised their paddles and committed more than $1,600,000. After the thrilling auction and fund-a-need, guests enjoyed a sumptuous dinner provided by The Ritz-Carlton.

Magic Under the Mangroves allows the Conservancy to continue to fund its mission of preserving our paradise, working to protect our water, land, wildlife and future. Sponsors for this record-breaking evening included founding partner Northern Trust as the Presenting Sponsor and William Raveis as the Supporting Sponsor. Community Sponsors included Waterside Shops, Gulfshore Life magazine, Naples Daily News, and WINK News.

Magic Intro Video
Magic Fund-A-Need Video