Gulf Program
The Gulf of Mexico Foundation
     Is a nonprofit corporation based in Corpus Christi, Texas, founded in 1990 by citizens concerned with the health and productivity of the Gulf of Mexico.
     The future of the Gulf of Mexico, North America's most economically productive body of water, is a shared responsibility. The belief is that only through unified efforts can we protect this precious resource.
     Representing a wide range of interests (agriculture, business, fisheries, industry, tourism, and the environment), we work to promote and fund research, education, and conservation programs.  The focus encompasses all areas that border the Gulf – Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Florida, Mexico, Cuba, and the adjacent Caribbean.
     In 1998, the Gulf of Mexico Program developed the Gulf Guardian awards as a method of recognizing and honoring the businesses, community groups, individuals, and agencies that are taking positive steps to keep the Gulf healthy, beautiful and productive,” said Bryon Griffith, deputy director of the Gulf of Mexico Program. “These award winners today exemplify the exceptional level of quality of effort being undertaken cooperatively by the public and private sectors to address critical issues that face Gulf coastal communities,” he added.
     "The Gulf Guardian Award is a great way for the Gulf of Mexico Program partnership to recognize and honor the businesses, community groups, individuals, and agencies who are taking positive steps to keep the Gulf healthy, beautiful, and productive, said Jim Giattina, Gulf Program Director.  "We knew there were people out there doing good things, but we were overwhelmed at the quality projects we've learned about during this first award program. The Gulf Guardian Award exemplifies what the Gulf of Mexico Program is all about — innovative solutions that come about when we pool resources and look for creative ways to positively impact our quality of life and economic well-being."
     There were a total of 53 award entries from all five Gulf Coast states - Alabama, Louisiana, Florida, Mississippi, and Texas. A first, second, and third place winner is awarded in each of six categories: business, government, civic/nonprofit organizations, youth/education, partnerships, and individual.
     Third place in the Youth/Education category was Mississippi Power Company in Gulfport, for "Celebrate the Gulf: A Marine Education Festival."  The Festival is held in October each year at the Pass Christian harbor.  It's designed for Grades K-8 children and their families, and showcases Gulf of Mexico resources and how to conserve them.  The Festival is a group effort involving local businesses, cities, state, and federal volunteers. It provides an avenue to disseminate health information and conservation practices.  It also fills a niche by concentrating purely on marine environmental education.