Cottie Petrie-Norris

Laguna Beach’s Pacific Marine Mammal Center awarded 2021 Nonprofit of the Year

Laguna Beach-based Pacific Marine Mammal Center (PMMC) is being honored by the State Legislature as the 2021 California Nonprofit of the Year for Assembly District 74. The Pacific Marine Mammal Center focuses on rescuing, rehabilitating, and releasing marine mammals and inspiring ocean stewardship through research, education and collaboration. To date, the center has rescued more than 10,000 animals ranging from seals and sea lions to dolphins and sea turtles.

“I am honored to recognize the work of the Pacific Marine Mammal Center,” said Assemblywoman Cottie Petrie-Norris (D-Laguna Beach). “They received dozens of nominations from people all around Orange County. Given the life-saving action the organization has been doing for decades, I hope that this honor represents a thank you for their work saving the marine life of Southern California.”

Celebrating their 50th anniversary, PMMC aims to provide any necessary treatment for the rescued animals and release them once they are capable. The organization has also been active in performing marine research, studying the pathological conditions that are affecting marine mammals in Southern California. The center also brings in over 50,000 people annually and provides free programming to over 7,000 children in a given year. They also provide off-site educational programs that share the importance of marine science nationally and abroad.

“Our passionate volunteers and staff, and the community that unhesitatingly puts all of us on its shoulders, work tirelessly to ensure the sustainability of our precious marine mammals and the ocean waters that we are all dependent upon,” said Peter Chang, CEO of Pacific Marine Mammal Center. “To receive this gracious acknowledgment from Assemblywoman Petrie-Norris as her Nonprofit of the Year helps to inform us that we continue to be on the right track, which is even more special as we celebrate our 50th Anniversary this year. We can’t thank her enough.”

The Pacific Marine Mammal Center is based in Laguna Beach. Under the leadership of Peter Chang, the Center is currently caring for 8 California Sea Lions, 25 Northern Elephant Seals, and 3 Pacific Harbor Seals.

“Nonprofits are a community of stubborn optimists,” explains Jan Masaoka, CEO of the California Association of Nonprofits (CalNonprofits). “Our belief that the world can be better – more equitable, more kind – is powerful. Honoring a California Nonprofit of the Year shows that elected officials recognize and celebrate the good work they see nonprofits doing in their districts.”

This is the sixth year of the California Nonprofit of the Year initiative. In this year of extreme uncertainty and suffering, nonprofits have continued to step up to support our communities as circumstances and needs change swiftly.

This article was released by the Office of Assemblywoman Cottie Petrie-Norris.