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Riverkeeper’s 50th Anniversary Fishermen’s Ball raises $1.6 million

Riverkeeper 50th Anniversary: Fishermen’s Ball

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Riverkeeper 50th Anniversary: Fishermen’s Ball

Riverkeeper, New York’s clean water advocate, held its 50th Anniversary Fishermen’s Ball in New York last night set against the backdrop of the Hudson River, one the organization’s proudest success stories.

The event raised more than $1.6 million for clean water protection, with the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation and Ralph & Ricky Lauren Family Foundation each awarding $100,000 grants.

The evening honored Mr. DiCaprio and Mr. Lauren with Riverkeeper “Big Fish” awards, and included special honors for Riverkeeper’s 2016 “Hudson Hero” Robert De Niro as well as “Big Fish Emeritus” Howard Rubin.

Riverkeeper President Paul Gallay opened the evening with impassioned remarks about the organization’s anniversary, stating: “The first 50 years at Riverkeeper were all about undoing the damage of the past. The next 50 years will be about bringing the Hudson back to its former glory and assuring that we all have clean, abundant drinking water, no matter who we are or where we live.”

Mr. DiCaprio announced a $100,000 grant to Riverkeeper from his foundation, which supports grassroots environmental organizations around the globe.

“My Foundation partners with many effective organizations that fight to protect our world’s lands and waterways, and I am proud to count the Hudson Riverkeeper among them,” said Mr. DiCaprio. “We know that ignorance, greed, and political malfeasance stand in the way of our simple vision of achieving the basic right of access to clean water for every living being on our shared planet. The work of the Riverkeeper is critical to creating and protecting a healthier future for millions of people.”

Riverkeeper’s Chief Prosecuting Attorney Robert F. Kennedy Jr. announced Mr. Lauren’s $100,000 grant just before calling him to the stage to accept his award. Mr. Lauren spoke of his equal commitment to the environment in his hometown and around the world.

“I’m a New Yorker. I was born here. I was married here. I raised my children here. And almost 50 years ago, I started a company here. The Hudson is my river – it’s our river,” said Mr. Lauren.

He continued, “Like Riverkeeper, next year, our company celebrates our 50th anniversary. We have accomplished much to make our workplace and our products environmentally sound and we recognize that we have much more to do in our future, and we are committed to this endeavor.”

The evening finished with a special live acoustic performance by 16-time Grammy Award winner and past “Big Fish” honoree, Sting. The intimate set included his hits “Message in a Bottle” and “Every Breath you Take.” As he began “All this Time” he told stories of growing up next to the River Tyne (aka the Black River) in the North East of England and said, “If you allow nature to heal itself, it will do just that. So I applaud Riverkeeper for allowing the Hudson to heal itself.”

Hosted by Andy Cohen, the Fishermen’s Ball turned out a record number of supporters to celebrate the safe drinking water New Yorkers can count on. The event also featured the premiere of a short documentary created by the Tribeca Film Fellows® titled “KEEPING ON” (, which explores Riverkeeper’s history, incredible accomplishments and the steps necessary to preserve the integrity of the Hudson River.

Supporters in attendance included Chuck Close, James Cromwell, Eileen Fisher, Rachael Harris, Debbie Harry, Christian Hebel, Jeff Koons, Lauren Bush Lauren, David Lauren, John McEnroe, Rosie Perez, Mark Ruffalo, Fisher Stevens and others who are dedicated to Riverkeeper’s mission.

Riverkeeper Fishermen's Ball 2016

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