Former Delray Beach resident and one-time Democratic Party presidential nominee Michael Dukakis returns to South Florida in early May to headline a major fundraiser benefitting the Florida Fishing Academy, a nonprofit afterschool provider that builds character, self-confidence, environmental awareness and a passion for learning in at-risk kids. Mr. Dukakis will be joined by his wife, Kitty, and will give a keynote address at the May 3 cocktail reception at City Fish Market restaurant in Boca Raton.

The bipartisan list of Host Committee members backing the May 3 event speaks to the academy’s ability to draw a diversity of supporters, including U.S. Reps. Ted Deutch and Patrick Murphy, Guy Harvey Inc. President Steve Stock, BizPAC Review President Jack Furnari, BizPAC Chairman John R. Smith, Boca Raton Mayor Susan Whelchel, Boca Raton Deputy Mayor Susan Haynie, Delray Beach City Commissioners Adam Frankel and Angeleta Gray, and West Palm Beach City Commissioner Kimberly Mitchell. Tickets are $150 (free to the press), and silent auction items will include a private lunch for two with the Dukakises, two airline tickets to anywhere Jet Blue flies, weekend getaways, signed fine-art prints by renowned marine conservationist Guy Harvey, spa packages, fishing charters and much more.

Because of the generous donations of our title sponsors, City Fish Market restaurant and Chops Lobster Bar, 100% of ticket sales will go directly to FFA programming. Other top event sponsors include the Guy Harvey Ocean Foundation, the Marine Industries Association of Palm Beach County and The Chester Foundation, and our biggest annual contributors and grant partners include the United Way of Palm Beach County, the Community Foundation for Palm Beach and Martin Counties and Fish Florida Tag. Each year, this spring fundraiser proves to be the academy’s biggest revenue generator outside public and private grants. The proceeds from last year’s event were used to sponsor more than a dozen needy children to attend the FFA’s summer camps and to expand its program into more public schools, helping the academy reach a record 2,300 children in 2012.

Begun in 2006, the Florida Fishing Academy uses fishing in a hands-on, youth oriented after-school sports curriculum to build in disadvantaged youth a passion for ethical angling, marine conservation and a potential career in the marine industries. To date, the academy has reached more than 6,000 at-risk students in Palm Beach County schools, in city-run Youth Empowerment Centers and through the Riviera Beach Community Boating Program, launched this year in partnership with the Riviera Beach Community Redevelopment Agency.

Image courtesy Florida Fishing Academy

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