AltaSea: Beacon Special Edition – November 29, 2017


Launch of UrgentSEA 2017-2018

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2017 at AltaSea: Achievements Secured and Challenges Overcome

By Jenny Krusoe, Executive Director of AltaSea at the Port of Los Angeles

In 2017, AltaSea at the Port of Los Angeles moved forward on a wide range of fronts: securing major financial support, important partnerships, approvals for our construction plans, new tenants and tenant initiatives, and so much else.

We have been honored with widespread support and powerful partners that are committed as we are to the Blue Economy, creating new research, education and job opportunities for the communities surrounding the Port of Los Angeles. We have many achievements to be proud of this year, including:

Construction Moving Forward. The Gensler-created design to transform AltaSea’s 35-acre campus into an ocean-focused center for science research, STEM education and sustainable business incubation took major steps into reality this year. We secured a new agreement with the Port and City of Los Angeles that significantly reduces our construction costs and we have been cleared to pull required building permits. We and the Port of Los Angeles are also hosting a groundbreaking for our first facility, the La Kretz Blue Economy Incubator, on December 11th.

A Dozen Major Donors. AltaSea has been blessed with the support of a dozen major donors, including the Port and City of Los Angeles, U.S. Department of Commerce, Annenberg Foundation, The Roy and Patricia Disney Family Foundation, the Kenneth T. and Eileen L. Norris Foundation, Crail-Johnson Foundation, the Rosalinde and Arthur Gilbert Foundation, the Joseph Drown Foundation, Emmett Foundation, and Morton La Kretz.

La Kretz Blue Economy Incubator Funded and Launched. Through the support of visionary philanthropist and entrepreneur Morton La Kretz, AltaSea has launched the La Kretz Blue Economy Incubator to find and nurture ocean-based startup companies, particularly those focused in Blue Tech and ocean mapping and monitoring.

Four New AltaSea Board Trustees. As AltaSea’s mission and leadership continue to evolve, we have added four new trustees to our board of directors. They are Yehudi Gaffen, CEO of Gafcon; Eric Johnson of Victory Group Companies; Monique Johnson of Beneficial State Bank; and Doane Liu, Executive Director of the City of Los Angeles Department of Convention and Tourism Development. Their guidance, experience and contributions will be invaluable for AltaSea as construction begins in earnest, fundraising continues and our partnerships and operations expand substantially.

Nearly 900 Community Memberships Through UrgentSEA campaign. We demonstrated widespread community support through our annual UrgentSEA fundraising program, which attracted contributions from nearly 900 community members, businesses and families. Our community members’ powerful support not only provides important direct funding, it also sends a compelling message to potential major grantors about the value of our efforts to the neighborhoods we serve.

A Deepening Partnership with Dr. Bob Ballard’s Ocean Exploration Trust. E/V Nautilus, research ship of Ocean Exploration Trust (OET) captained by the legendary Dr. Robert Ballard, spent the winter and spring of 2016-2017 at AltaSea. Working with AltaSea, the OET team built out its West Coast research and educational facilities in our Warehouse 58, including a new interactive outreach center featuring live video streams from Nautilus as it works. This summer, Nautilus returned to sea, mapping North America’s submerged ancient western coastline as part of a NOAA grant. AltaSea and OET are collaborating on several fronts to deepen and expand our work with educators, students, non-profits, and others. 

Partnering with Boys & Girls Clubs of Los Angeles Harbor. AltaSea has signed a long-term office and programming partnership with Boys & Girls Clubs of Los Angeles Harbor, one of the harbor area’s most important and ubiquitous community organizations. Together with the Cabrillo Marine Aquarium, AltaSea and the Boys & Girls Clubs will provide hundreds of area students with ocean-focused vocational and STEM education in facilities financed in part by a four-year grant from the Norris Foundation. AltaSea and the Boys & Girls Clubs also are sharing office space.

Diving In With The Longest Swim. Ben Lecomte, a French-born architect living in Austin, plans to swim from Tokyo to San Francisco, a 5,500-mile journey designed to highlight plastics pollution in the North Pacific and to gather scientific data for a variety of research programs. His team is based at AltaSea this winter, outfitting their 67-foot support vessel for the six-month journey planned to embark from Tokyo next spring.

Aquaculture Tenant Catalina Sea Ranch Expanding into Kelp Farming. Our tenant Catalina Sea Ranch, an aquaculture company that this year harvested its first crop of mussels farmed under federal permit, has received a grant to also farm kelp, another high-value, sustainable ocean crop. Such sustainable aquaculture represents a central part of the AltaSea vision for our interactions with the ocean at our front door.

For all our achievements in 2017, however, this has only one step, albeit a big one, toward our larger goals. We will convert one of the oldest parts of the Port of Los Angeles into one of its most vibrant and transformational, driving innovation, knowledge and new job creation. With the help of our partners, tenants, community members and major donors, we’ve come very far in a very short time. We look forward to even more big news to come in 2018. Please join us as we work to create the foundation for future success throughout the Los Angeles harbor communities and Southern California.

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