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Oceana Magazine Summer 2010: Donor Profile: Julie Tauber McMahon

Julie Tauber McMahon and familyJulie Tauber McMahon has been involved in the philanthropic world for many years, but it took her daughter’s surfing on the web to jumpstart her association with Oceana. Maddie, McMahon’s then-16-year-old daughter, decided to volunteer for Oceana for a summer after visiting Oceana.org. While Maddie was exploring a lifelong interest in marine wildlife, her mother got a chance to learn about Oceana’s campaigns.

McMahon became particularly interested in Oceana’s work to end offshore drilling. “Since my family was affiliated with the automakers in Detroit, I’ve been interested in the U.S.’s dependence on foreign oil,” McMahon said. “Oceana helped educate me on the issue and to realize that alternative sources of energy are a much smarter solution than to expand offshore oil wells." This year's oil spill tragedy has underscored the need for ocean conservation, she added: "It is an unhappy coincidence that the tragedy in the Gulf happened this year to emphasize that.”

McMahon, who is a partner in an energy conservation firm called Energy Pioneer Solutions, quickly became impressed with Oceana’s targeted campaigns. Last spring, she joined the committee for Christie’s first Green Auction, which benefitted Oceana along with three other nonprofits, and this summer she was on the steering committee for Oceana’s first Hamptons Splash party.

“I think that the oceans are an incredibly important natural resource that has been largely neglected in terms of conservation. They are so vast that it’s difficult to regulate and monitor their use by humans. Oceana has an organized, international approach that is extremely effective,” McMahon said.

Despite her Detroit roots, McMahon has always felt an affiliation with the oceans that stems from childhood trips on her grandfather’s boat in Florida.

“I loved being with him out on the water,” she said. “I also found the water so soothing that I would fall asleep every time and to this day, I sleep best when I’m on a boat.”