Lillian Boyd, Dana Point Times

The William, Jeff and Jennifer Gross Family Foundation has made a donation of $200,000 to Ocean Institute in order to support educational programs and upgrades and maintenance for the research vessel Sea Explorer.

The institute’s Adopt-A-Class program has provided funding for 10,000 students annually to enjoy field trips and educational opportunities in Dana Point. About 50,000 students have visited the Ocean Institute every year for the past 40 years.

“Although we live close to the ocean, few of my students have ever actually seen it,” said Daryth Morrisey, a Fountain Valley educator who was notified that her class was adopted. “We are a Title I school and simply cannot do this without help. My students felt so special that someone that they don’t know wants them to see the world.”

As part of the “ride-along” program, the Gross family will experience the programs alongside their beneficiaries.

“We look forward to seeing the ocean through their eyes,” said Jennifer Gross. She says she plans to collect and examine pelagic specimens with students on an upcoming Living Systems cruise.

Dr. Wendy Marshall, the President of Education and Operations at Ocean Institute, first visited Ocean Institute as a fourth-grade teacher on a field trip.

“This gift equalizes access to enriching experiences that can be life-changing for the students,” Marshall said. “We are incredibly thankful for the support to our programs and critical resources that enable us to meet our mission to use the ocean as our classroom to inspire students to learn.”

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