Giving Back to the Community

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One of the founding cornerstones of the Emerald Coast Blue Marlin Classic at Sandestin was that the tournament would become a good partner in the community, not just in the Destin area but in the larger world of sportfishing in general. Once again this year, a number of significant local, regional and international charities benefitted from the success of the ECBC. Here’s a short recap of the most significant beneficiaries.

Harvest House

Since the early years of the ECBC, the Harvest House has been a charitable partner with the ECBC, receiving the proceeds generated from the sale of the gamefish landed during the event. Their mission statement is to provide food, clothing and shelter to those who are less fortunate and at a point of need in their lives. Harvest House founder and president Jerry Ogle has been instrumental in his involvement with the ECBC, helping the tournament support the Destin community. www.harvesthousedestin.com

The Billfish Foundation

Without healthy billfish stocks tournaments would simply fall by the wayside so it became apparent very early in the history of the ECBC that it was imperative to support marine conservation. Due to the highly migratory nature of all billfish, it’s important that conservation measures reach across the boundaries of oceans and nations, incorporating a true worldwide vision for these species. The The Billfish Foundation has been a conservation partner for many years, attending the event and receiving financial support from the tournament to continue its missions of conservation, advocacy and education around the world. www.billfish.org

Reel Life International

Reel Life International strives to combine the adventures of sportfishing with assisting the less fortunate in Central and South America and the Caribbean, as well as in the United States. Their initiatives are centered around a variety of projects including clean water initiatives, the improvement of opportunities for education and medical assistance, orphan care and many more. RLI is also a 501c3 charitable organization and encourages anglers and others to become involved in their projects around the world. www.reel-life.org

Florida Department of Environmental Protection’s Clean Marina Program

The FLDEP’s Clean Marina Program is a voluntary initiative that encourages a proactive approach to environmental stewardship and protection. Participating marinas, including Baytowne Marina at Sandestin, receive assistance in implementing sound management practices through on-site technical help and more. To become designated as a Clean Marina, facilities must implement a set of environmental measures designed to protect Florida’s waterways. These measures address critical environmental issues such as sensitive habitat, waste management, stormwater control, spill prevention and emergency preparedness. Designated facilities also receive ongoing technical support from the Florida Clean Marina Program and the Clean Boating Partnership. www.dep.state.fl.us/cleanmarina

Sandestin Foundation for Kids

The Sandestin Foundation for Kids was founded in 2011 by the Becnel family, the owners of Sandestin Golf and Beach Resort, as a way to help children in need. Many supporters have special ties to the resort, and because it’s a volunteer-based organization, 100 percent of all donations and contributions to directly to the kids who need help. Because of this structure, they feel that they can impact families more rapidly than other groups when they need it the most. www.sandestinfoundationforkids.org

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Sam White

About the Author:

Sam White is Senior Editor of Marlin magazine and an avid tournament angler.