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Media Room: Press Release



Media Contact: Mary Stella, Director of Media & Marketing
305-289-1121, ext. 254

Dolphin Research Center Awarded $100,000 by Charles Evans Foundation

Grassy Key… Dolphin Research Center (DRC), a not-for-profit research and education facility in the Florida Keys, has been awarded a $100,000 endowment by The Charles Evans Foundation to support the center’s work with wounded military service personnel and their families. The funds will provide opportunities for the wounded warriors to swim with dolphins and do other interactive experiences free of charge. Since opening in the 1980s, working with the military has been an important part of DRC’s mission. This is the third endowment DRC has received from the Charles Evans Foundation. Established in 1988 by the late Charles Evans, founder of the Evan-Piccone fashion label and producer of the movie Tootsie, the foundation supports a wide range of causes ranging from fire safety to Alzheimer’s research.

Interacting with dolphins at Dolphin Research Center provides a unique, positive experience for veterans as they transition from active duty to civilian life. The dolphins are eager to socialize with the service members and their families and offer a fresh, fun, uplifting experience. “We are proud and delighted to receive this generous endowment from the Charles Evans Foundation. With their partnership and support, DRC is able to give interactive programs to many more veterans and their families,” said Rita Irwin, DRC Center President and CEO.

Dolphin Research Center welcomes military personnel to the center and works with the Wounded Warrior Project on several of its programs including: the annual Soldier Ride, an adaptive cycling event through the Florida Keys; the Caregivers Program; and Project Odyssey. DRC also offers a Military DolFriend program that invites current military personnel and their family to visit the facility. Honoring the survivors of the fallen, DRC is in the process of creating a Gold Star Families project dedicated to those who have lost a loved one serving our country.

Founded in 1984, Dolphin Research Center is home to a family of bottlenose dolphins and California sea lions. Located at 58901 (mile marker 59) Overseas Highway, Grassy Key, Florida, the center is open daily for the public to see narrated behavior sessions and educational presentations, and to participate in interactive programs. The nonprofit organization is funded by admission and program fees as well as by private donors and members. In addition to being one of the most highly respected education and research facilities in the world, DRC is the Licensed Manatee Rescue Team for the Florida Keys and is an accredited member of the Alliance of Marine Mammal Parks and Aquariums. For more information, visit



Our Mission - Through education, research and rescue, Dolphin Research Center promotes peaceful coexistence, cooperation and communication between marine mammals, humans and the environment we share with the well being of DRC's animals taking precedence.
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