June 7, 2023

IRCF Celebrates ORCA on World Oceans Day

June 8th is World Oceans Day, an international day dedicated to supporting worldwide public interest in the protection of the ocean and the sustainable management of its resources. One prominent local organization working to achieve these goals is the Ocean Research & Conservation Association (ORCA), whose mission is to protect and restore aquatic ecosystems and the species they sustain through the development of innovative technologies, science-based conservation action, and community education and outreach. Since 2005, ORCA has worked to protect and restore our local ecosystems through citizen science and education programs, deep sea research, and restorative efforts that work to protect our local marine ecosystems. 

In Spring of 2022, the lease on ORCA’s Fort Pierce headquarters was unexpectedly terminated, forcing the organization to run all their applied science and citizen science programs out of their Center for Citizen Science next to the Vero Beach Airport. This made for crowded laboratory and office space and forced many of their employees to work remotely out of their homes. Even without headquarters for nearly two years, ORCA has been able to sustain their level of consistent community engagement and protection of our plentiful and diverse marine ecosystems in Indian River County. 

In October of 2022, IRCF awarded ORCA a discretionary grant of $50,000 toward their capital campaign to purchase and renovate a building that would provide permanent laboratory and office space for the organization. After garnering massive philanthropic support and raising over 1.1 million dollars toward the effort, ORCA recently announced that construction for the D.J. Rainone Research and Science Center is underway.  

The project still requires additional funds, with an approximate $300,000 required to reach their goal. This World Oceans Day, we encourage everyone to give back to the organizations supporting the preservation of our diverse local marine ecosystems.

Click here if you would like to support ORCA's campaign. Donations can also be made through your donor-advised fund by logging into MyFund or by contacting a member of our team at donorservices@ircommunityfoundation.org or 772.492.1407. 

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