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The Big Rock Foundation


710 Evans Street, Morehead City, North Carolina 28557


Contact: Crystal Hesmer, Big Rock Foundation Director,


The Big Rock Foundation Makes Waves With a Milestone 1.6 Million Dollar Donation to Charities!  

Morehead City, NC (November 28, 2023)The Big Rock Foundation Makes Waves of Generosity with a Staggering $1.6 Million Donation to Charities on Giving Tuesday.

The Big Rock Foundation proudly announces a momentous donation of $1,659,000 to charities on Giving Tuesday. This extraordinary contribution is the largest annual donation and marks a milestone for the foundation. The Big Rock Foundation’s charitable giving now surpasses $10 Million since 1986! 

September 14, 1957, marked the first-ever landing of a blue marlin in Morehead City. Today, we’re making history once again by giving back $1.6 million to well-deserving organizations in Carteret County and beyond. It’s our way of honoring the spirit of that historical catch 65 years ago and paying tribute to the growth of the tournament. 

Just like that historic catch, The Big Rock Foundation is hooked on the idea that small actions can lead to something monumental. The Big Rock Blue Marlin Tournament, with its 271 boats and anglers from around the world, is the driving force behind the incredible donation. Additionally, the Big Rock Keli Wagner Lady Angler Tournament has become the world’s largest ladies-only tournament, boasting 266 boats. The Big Rock Kids Tournament has become a renowned event that gets Jr. Anglers hooked on fishing and has funded donations to children’s charities in Eastern North Carolina. 

“The charitable contributions announced today are made possible by the record-breaking success, participation and sponsorship across all three events, and year-round retail sales.” – Madison Struyk, Executive Director. 

The Big Rock Blue Marlin Tournament isn’t just about fishing; it’s about creating a tidal wave of change. The Big Rock Foundation knows how to ride that wave, turning every dollar from retail sales, every generous donation, and every participant’s enthusiasm into a force for good.

The Foundation combines the passion of its donors, tournament participants, sponsors, and retail customers to generate funds for its philanthropic endeavors. Those funds are distributed among a carefully selected group of charities that align with the foundation’s mission. The charities represent a diverse range of causes, including but not limited to education, healthcare, community improvement, and conservation.

The Big Rock Foundation is proud to announce its largest single donation ever made – a transformative donation of $500,000 to Carteret Health Care for the establishment of a state-of-the-art oncology center. The funds will be utilized to establish a cutting-edge cancer center at Carteret Health Care, providing crucial resources for the diagnosis, treatment, and care of individuals facing cancer. This initiative aligns with the Big Rock Foundation’s mission to make a lasting impact on community health and ensure that residents have access to top-tier medical facilities and services.

“This is a historical day for the Big Rock tournaments, the best day of the year!”, commented Crystal Hesmer, Foundation Director. “We are so thankful for our many donations to the Foundation this year including  memorial, individual and participant contributions.”

The Big Rock Foundation extends its heartfelt gratitude to all those who have contributed to the foundation’s success, emphasizing that this donation is a testament to the collective power of individual donors, memorial contributions and support for the Big Rock Tournament. 


About The Big Rock Foundation: 

The Big Rock Foundation is the charitable arm of the Big Rock Tournaments. The foundation harnesses the support of donors, participants, and retail sales to make a significant impact on society. The foundation is committed to creating lasting change by supporting charities across various sectors, including education, healthcare, conservation, and community improvement. Through a collaborative approach, The Big Rock Foundation inspires individuals and businesses to contribute to the movement for a better community. For more information, please visit



Autism Society of NC, $10,000

Beaufort Little League, $177,000

Beaufort Middle School, $84,000

BridgeKids Preschool, $28,000

Broad Creek Middle School, $20,500

Coastal Pregnancy Care Center, $20,000

Croatan High School-BAND, $50,000

Delta Health Foundation, $10,000

East Carteret-Band, $16,000

Family Promise, $20,000

IGFA, $16,000

Knights of Columbus- LAMB Foundation, $2000

Make a Wish, $10,000

Military Appreciation Day, $10,000

Morehead City Middle School Band, $33,000

Newport Babe Ruth League Inc., $30,000

Newport Little League, $48,000

NC STATE University, $30,000

Purpose Driven Youth Ministry, $5,000

Pretty in Pink, $35,000

West Carteret Band, $50,000

Western Carteret Fire and EMS, $69,000

Carteret Community Theatre, $250,000

Carteret Health Care, $500,000



KWLA- Carteret Healthcare, $25,000

BRKIDS- Boys and Girls Club, $35,000

Broad Street Clinic, $7,500

Crystal Coast Hospice House, $7,500

East Carolina Council for Boys Scouts, $7,500

The History Place, $7,500

Hope Mission, $7,500

Martha’s Mission, $7,500

North Carolina State University, Research, $10,000

North Carolina Symphony-Carteret County, $17,000

Station Club/ Easter Seals UPC, $7,500

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