Spooner Spotlight: National Marine Sanctuary Foundation

Posted on June 26, 2024

Spooner Spotlight: National Marine Sanctuary Foundation
To celebrate our partnership with the National Marine Sanctuary Foundation and the launch of our Monterey Bay print, we caught up with Ginaia Kelly, Monterey Bay Chapter Director at the National Marine Sanctuary Foundation, to learn more about the sanctuary.
How long have you been working with the Monterey Bay chapter?

I have had the honor and privilege of serving as the National Marine Sanctuary Foundation’s first full-time Chapter Director for the past five and a half years. Building the chapter from the ground up has been incredibly rewarding — establishing events like our annual “Sea Stars Gala,” forging relationships and partnerships, and guiding our strategic directions. 

What drew you to get involved with the foundation?
My entire professional career has led me to this position. As a longtime and former competitive surfer, attorney, and then nonprofit executive, it feels like the perfect fit for me. I’ve been able to utilize my leadership skills, draw from my professional networks in the community, and apply my experience running multiple nonprofits.

"Most importantly, my deep connection to the ocean has been a driving force in my commitment to this role."

What does the foundation do in Monterey Bay?
The Monterey Bay chapter raises funds to support critical wildlife protection programs, K-12 education programs for inland schools, and various outreach and education initiatives. Our goal is to connect the community to the sanctuary and help them understand the unique importance of this stretch of ocean. 

What do you think makes Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary so special?

What makes the sanctuary so special is the Monterey Canyon, which is more than 2 miles deep, deeper than the Grand Canyon. Many in our community are unaware that we have our very own Yosemite or Grand Canyon in our front yard, hidden underwater.

This deep canyon supports an incredible amount of biodiversity, earning the nickname “Serengeti of the Sea.” We often take for granted the sight of wildlife, such as seals on docks, otters floating on their backs, dolphins swimming among surfers, and whales feeding off the coast. Keeping this area healthy and thriving is critical to ensure a more stable global environment.

How can people support the mission of the Monterey Bay chapter of the National Marine Sanctuary Foundation?
People can support the Monterey Bay Chapter in various ways:
  • Donating: Contribute funds through our website at www.montereybayfoundation.org.
  • Volunteering: Offer your time and skills by volunteering with us.
  • Serving on a Committee or Board of Trustees: Join our dedicated teams to help guide our mission.
  • Hosting an Event: Organize fundraising events to benefit the foundation.
  • Estate Planning: Remember us in your estate plans.
  • Sanctuary Stewardship: Be a proactive steward of the sanctuary by promoting and practicing conservation efforts.
This sanctuary belongs to all of us. We invite everyone with a stake in the health of the planet to join us in protecting it.

Purchases of the Monterey Bay collection help us support the National Marine Sanctuary Foundation.