The City Island Oyster Reef was launched in the spring of 2019 and became a not-for profit 501(c)(3) organization in December. We have begun to apply for grants, but our primary efforts have been in hosting events to educate the community about our goals in order to inspire donations as well as to engage volunteers.
At our launch in May 2019 held at the Harlem Yacht Club, NYS Assemblyman Michael Benedetto and City Councilmember Mark Gjonaj expressed their support for CIOR, and Mr. Benedetto followed through with a small grant from the State of New York. In addition, Mr. Benedetto later introduced a bill to the NY Assembly that would benefit restaurants that provide shells to groups like ours.
Many members of the community attended our old-fashioned “social” at an historic waterfront home on the Island in September 2019. Local restaurants donated sumptuous signature appetizers and entrees, and organizations and businesses provided beer, wine, and gift items for our silent auction, which included sailing excursions, historic tours, theater tickets, private dinners, scuba-diving certification, and works of art.
CIOR hosted a holiday party at the Harlem Yacht Club in December to thank our volunteers and restaurant partners for their participation in our programs.
In February, a Mardi Gras fundraiser with a lively jazz ensemble brightened up the month just before the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic, which then required us to cancel all other 2020 events.
The funds raised from these events helped to pay for a summer intern and to purchase shell collection supplies, a pick-up truck (for shell collection), insurance, and gas, as well as water-quality monitoring equipment.
In honor of National Oyster Day on August 5, 2020, CIOR will benefit from a Virtual 5K run on August 3 and 4, hosted by the City Island Roadies. Participants are encouraged to walk/run/skip/hop virtually for 3.1 miles anywhere at any time over the weekend. Everyone who participates will receives a special CIOR canvas tote bag.