Morgan Freeman Honored at Oceana’s 16th Annual SeaChange Summer Party in Orange County

Host June Diane Raphael, Ocean Champion Paul Naudé, and musical guest Third Eye Blind join Morgan Freeman in helping to raise over $1.5 million to support Oceana’s campaigns

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DANA POINT, Calif., July 24, 2023 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- On Saturday, July 22, supporters gathered at Oceana’s 16th annual SeaChange Summer Party in Dana Point, Calif., to celebrate a wave of victories for the oceans and raise more than $1.5 million in support of Oceana’s ocean conservation campaigns in California and around the world. The event honored Academy Award-winning actor and advocate Morgan Freeman, and recognized president of the Surf Industry Members Association and CEO of Vissla, Paul Naudé, as its Ocean Champion. Hosted by actress, comedian, screenwriter, and producer June Diane Raphael, the event concluded with a private concert by Third Eye Blind.

“This event is a labor of love… for our oceans, for our SeaChange family, and for the success we are achieving year after year together in support of Oceana,” event co-chair Karen Cahill told more than 400 guests. Oceana Board Member and fellow event co-chair Elizabeth Wahler added, “thanks to all of you who help us raise awareness and support for Oceana so that we can bring back the ocean’s bounty for future generations. Because a healthy ocean is every child’s rightful inheritance.”

Oceana CEO Andrew Sharpless introduced event honoree, Morgan Freeman, highlighting Freeman’s unwavering commitment to ocean conservation.

“I’ve worked with Oceana and seen up close how effective they are. I’ve seen how they are saving sharks and other ocean creatures and how they are winning policy victories for our seas. And right now, we need Oceana more than ever,” Freeman said. “This old sailor would like to thank and honor all the ocean heroes in this room for being so helpful to save my second home. Our oceans need each and every one of us.”

Additional celebrity guests in attendance included Reese Witherspoon, Oscar Nunez, Ursula Whittaker, Christina Ochoa, Sally Pressman, Paul Scheer, Ava Elizabeth Phillippe, Nick Viall, and Andrew Spencer.

Over the past 16 years, Oceana’s SeaChange Summer Party has raised more than $19 million to address some of the biggest threats facing the oceans. This year’s event was made possible by the generous support of numerous distinguished local and international businesses and philanthropists. Oceana’s exclusive watch partner, Blancpain, was the presenting partner for this year’s event. For the past 70 years, since the 1953 launch of the world’s first modern diving watch, the Fifty Fathoms, Blancpain has established deep connections with the world’s oceans and the communities dedicated to their preservation. Through its ocean exploration and conservation initiative, the Blancpain Ocean Commitment, Blancpain has supported dozens of major scientific expeditions, including two with Oceana. The two organizations work closely together to further important contributions to ocean conservation.

Oceana thanked its event corporate partners, sponsors, and underwriters including Presenting Partner Blancpain; Pacific Coast Partners BMW and the Orange County BMW Centers; Northern Trust; and Biossance. SeaChange partners include: Alec’s Ice Cream; Monique Bär; Michael and Patricia Berns; Bruce and Karen Cahill; CHANEL; Donnie Crevier and Laurie Kraus; Steve and Laurie Duncan; Giorgio Armani; Marisla Foundation; Robert and Britt Meyer; Carl and Janet Nolet; Loro Piana; Gena Reed; Louis and Laura Rohl; South Coast Plaza; Valarie Van Cleave and Uwe Waiznegger; Elizabeth Wahler; Valaree Wahler; and Tim and Jean Weiss. Underwriters include: Brite Ideas; Commerce Printing; Ketel One Botanical; Ketel One Vodka; Nolet’s Gin; Sand Cloud; Signature Party Rentals; and Starborough Wine.

For a full list of underwriters and partners, host committee members, auction items, and more information about SeaChange and Oceana visit:

Photos from the event are available here. Photos courtesy of Getty Images are available here.  

Oceana is the largest international advocacy organization dedicated solely to ocean conservation. Oceana is rebuilding abundant and biodiverse oceans by winning science-based policies in countries that control one-quarter of the world’s wild fish catch. With more than 275 victories that stop overfishing, habitat destruction, oil and plastic pollution, and the killing of threatened species like turtles, whales, and sharks, Oceana’s campaigns are delivering results. A restored ocean means that 1 billion people can enjoy a healthy seafood meal, every day, forever. Together, we can save the oceans and help feed the world. Visit to learn more.

Contact: Anna Baxter,