The Coastal Star

Pay it Forward: Sea Coast Toast goes virtual

Brandon Canute, development manager for Friends of Gumbo Limbo, had the idea to raise money without planning a big event. Canute works with Emily Mirowski, a sea turtle rehabilitation technician at Gumbo Limbo. Photo provided

By Mary Thurwachter

This year, Friends of Gumbo Limbo are trying something different with their annual fundraiser the Sea Coast Toast. They’ve gone virtual.

The invitations make it clear: “Don’t dress up. Don’t hire a babysitter. Don’t show up on May 8. Enjoy the evening however you choose.”

The idea lets people support the un-event from anywhere.

“We still need money but we’re very lean on staff and don’t have time to pull together an event,” says Brandon Canute, development manager for Friends of Gumbo Limbo. It was Canute’s idea to go virtual with the fundraiser. In fact, Canute and his team are calling it the Un-Sea Coast Toast.

“You can help us from your couch or the beach or even while cheering at your child’s soccer game,” he says.

How? Buy virtual tickets (they’re tax deductible and help Gumbo Limbo care for sea turtles, feed fish and support its programs, research and exhibits). Another way to help is to bid on auction items through May 8 ( Some items are a regional wine tasting for 20 at Total Wine & More, cultural art and food experiences and staycations at local resorts.

You could also post a photo to Facebook or Instagram on how you spent the night instead of being at a gala (tag @gumbolimbonaturecenter and use #unseacoasttoast #gumbolimbo and #supportathome).

“So far, response has been pretty good, largely positive,” Canute says. “People are thanking us for not having to go to another gala.”
The fundraising goal for the un-event is $10,000.   

How to help

What: Un-Sea Coast Toast 2019

When: Through May 8 Where: Wherever you are

Tickets: Start at $50

Details: 544-8608 or

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