Donors Making Waves of Impact


Waves of Impact

Donors make a difference!  Thanks to your generosity, the Ocean Institute is able to host thousands of students on once-in-a-lifetime field trip experiences.

2019 Foundation Wave of Impact:

Fluor Foundation

DeeDee Rosenthal leads the generous donation of $10,000 for the Adopt-A-Class Engineers Wanted Program.

This funding enables approximately 80 underserved students from California Title 1 schools to participate in “Engineers Wanted,” the Institute’s STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) Program. 

The Adopt-A-Class program provides students the opportunity to take their learning beyond the classroom, a life-changing experience as many have never seen the ocean or been on a boat before.

During the two-day program, participants rotate through stations in science labs and aboard Ocean Institute’s Research Vessel, Sea Explorer. The experience teaches students STEM concepts with a focus on engineering and environmental stewardship.

As an engineering and construction company, Fluor is very sensitive to its impact on the environment and the need to sustain it for generations to come. The company invests in programs that preserve and/or enhance natural resources and habitats. 

“We are grateful for the incredible impact the Fluor Foundation has made on the lives of underserved students,” said Ocean Institute CEO Dan Pingaro.

According to DeeDee Rosenthal, Fluor Foundation Community Relations Manager, “We are committed to responsible stewardship of the environment and supporting organizations – like the Ocean Institute – that offer programs to teach students about our oceans and natural resources through marine science.”

Fluor makes an impact wherever it has operations or projects, not only though client projects, but also through community engagement, employee volunteerism and philanthropy. A corporate citizen committed to social responsibility, Fluor and its employees work to create resilient, sustainable communities. The company aligns its resources and expertise to make a significant difference in education, particularly in the disciplines of STEM subjects, social services, community and economic development, and the environment. 

Thank you DeeDee! We are grateful for the incredible impact these grants have made on the lives of disadvantaged students. 

Sahm Family Foundation

Ocean Institute granted $1 million by the Sahm Family Foundation to establish a shark education center.

Read more.

2019 Corporate Wave of Impact:


Ocean Institute are proud to have local Dana Point jewelry designer MantraBand in our family of donors. Through the 1% For The Planet program MantraBand have donated 1% of their sales to Ocean Institute in support of ocean education, research, and conservation. The MantraBand team aims to protect, preserve, and restore the natural environment through their charitable contributions.  

MantraBands promote a lifestyle of optimism, positivity, and mindfulness. MantraBand bracelets are made to inspire and are reminders to choose happiness, to live what you love and to be present in every moment

Through their donations to Ocean Institute, MantraBand are ensuring that the ocean and environment will be healthy for future generations to enjoy, and creating the next-generation of stewards of our ocean.

Thank you MantraBand for your incredible support of the Ocean Institute!

2019 Family Wave of Impact:

Jim and Sue Swenson

Tribute to Jim Swenson

It is with great sadness but warm and rich memories that the Ocean Institute honors the passing of Jim Swenson, a wonderful and caring friend and an enduring example of leadership at its best.

There is little that the Ocean Institute accomplished over the 29 years of Jim’s remarkable tenure on the Board of Directors that does not bear his and his wife Sue’s imprint.  Over 100,000 people a year, young and old, find inspiration in the waterfront campus and modern marine science learning centers nurtured by Jim and Sue. 

Their vision and generosity brought the Pilgrim to Dana Point in the 1980s to create an unparalleled floating maritime classroom and, not long after, the Spirit of Dana Point, which with the Pilgrim, forms the nucleus of the campus we know today.

But the Swensons knew that a beautiful educational facility full of dedicated people was of little value unless children had the means to use it, and yet again Jim and Sue became the driving force behind the growth of the Adopt-A-Class program.  Countless children were introduced to marine life such as hermit crabs, and many of them to their ocean for the first time.

And like a warm southerly breeze over Dana Point Harbor, Jim would delight us with his surprise visits from time to time bringing sweet grapefruit from his garden or his best-in-show peanut brittle.  The holiday season will never be the same without that peanut brittle!

In the words of Mel Chambers, a fellow board member and good friend, “Those of us who knew Jim, along with the children he helped us serve, will never be the same again, not because Jim has left us, but because Jim’s caring presence was such a constant in the life and success of the Ocean Institute.”

Photo gallery
Identifying shark jaws

Adopt-A-Class Thank You Letters


Thanks to our Tall Ships Festival Supporters!

A special thanks to our sponsors for the 2017 Tall Ships Festival! It was wonderful to see so many people gather at our site in Dana Point Harbor over the weekend in celebration of maritime history, the adventures of sailing and the wonders of the ocean!

Blog post

Thank you, The Nicholas Endowment

The Ocean Institute would like to thank The Nicholas Endowment for their continued support throughout the past 10 years. Since 2006, The Nicholas Endowment has given more than $1 million to the Ocean Institute in support of our educational programs and facilities, helping us provide ocean education to students, teachers, and most recently the general public at-large.