The Board of Harbor Commissioners has awarded 136 Port community sponsorships totaling a record $538,750 in the first call of the fiscal year.
During the September solicitation, the Port received a record 181 sponsorship applications, an increase of 61 percent from the same period last fall. More than 40 percent of the applications in the most recent call were from groups that had previously never requested support. The Port, which uses the sponsorships to educate and engage the public about its role in international trade, is on pace to beat the record 273 applications it received last fiscal year.
The Harbor Commission approved the sponsorships on Monday. In 2015, the commissioners revamped the Port’s community sponsorship program with goals of increasing participation, setting clear, user-friendly guidelines and enhancing the focus on social responsibility. This year, commissioners increased the program’s budget to a historic $1 million.
“The Port of Long Beach believes in public service and supporting organizations that make our diverse city a great place to live,” said Commission President Lori Ann Guzmán. “We’ve taken these steps to increase our commitment to that mission, and it’s great to see the community responding.”
The wide variety of events sponsored include the American Cancer Society’s Long Beach Gala, an International City Theatre free performance series, the United States Veterans Initiative annual luncheon, the JetBlue Long Beach Marathon, the Martin Luther King Jr. Day Parade and the Boys and Girls Clubs of Long Beach annual gala. Commissioners and Harbor Department staff attend many of the events sponsored as part of the Port’s community outreach efforts.
Sponsorship applications are accepted from community groups twice a year, in March and September. For more information about the sponsorship program, visit www.polb.com/community/sponsorship.
Photo caption: Children attend an August 2016 College Square Neighborhood Association back-to-school event funded by a Port of Long Beach sponsorship.