Florida charities benefited by more than $US2.5 million thanks to the FTI Consulting Great Charity Challenge teams competition at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center at the weekend.
The event smashed a fundraising record for the event and topped last year’s amount of $1.5 million. All of the proceeds are distributed to Palm Beach County charities, with the equestrian team riding on behalf of Speak Up For Kids earning the top prize of $150,000. The team included 10-time Olympian Ian Millar, with amateur riders Kelly Soleau and Emily Kinch.
“This amount is double what we typically raise in an entire year,” said Speak Up For Kids treasurer Gregg Weiss. “It’s going to go a long way to help many, many children in our area.”
Following the awards ceremony, four-time Grammy nominee and country music superstar Hunter Hayes dazzled the crowd with a concert, which included one never-before-heard song that will be featured on his upcoming tour and album.
“I love being a part of an event that does so much good for so many non-profits,” said Hayes, whose charity of choice, MusiCares, came in third place and received a $125,000 donation. “The sheer number of charities and important causes that receive funding through the FTI Consulting Great Charity Challenge is unmatched, and it’s very meaningful to me to be able to add music and entertainment to the event.”
The MusiCares team was represented by Olympic Brazilian rider Doda de Miranda along with Paige Bellissimo and Alex Crown in the show ring, proudly sponsored by families in the dressage community.
“This unique and entertaining event was created to help community charities who are struggling to raise money during these difficult financial times get the resources they need to fulfill their important missions,” said Mark Bellissimo, who founded the event in 2010 with his daughter, Paige. Since then, it has raised nearly $6.4 million.
“The Wellington Equestrian Community stepped up in a big way to support this effort, and I am confident these grants will touch tens of thousands of lives over the next few months,” Bellissimo said.
The tagline for this year’s event was ‘Giving Inspires Giving,’ and donors demonstrated unprecedented generosity.
“Elizabeth Freed’s unsolicited gift of $50,000 from her family foundation pushed the fundraising over the $2 million level,” said FTI GCC Executive Director Anne Caroline Valtin. “Dan and Ellen Crown matched their prize money for Wounded Warriors of South Florida and added $25,500 to the totals. Eight equestrian families each made an additional $25,000 donation towards anti-bullying efforts in Palm Beach County.”
Among those donors were Roger Smith, Bruce Duchossois, Howard Dvorkin, Gregg Hymowitz, Diana Mercer, Susan Goldstein, and Suhail Rizvi, along with the Bellissimo family. The initiative was inspired by Hunter Hayes’ newly released anti-bullying anthem, Invisible.
“Together with a $100,000 grant from the FTI GCC, we will soon be launching a minimum of a $300,000 initiative towards anti-bullying efforts in Palm Beach County,” Bellissimo said. “Cyber bullying is a national epidemic that is destroying the confidence of our children, and at times even contributing to suicide. An effort must be mounted to reverse these trends.”
This year, more than 400 local charities applied for a chance to be one of the 34 lucky participants in the competition – all of which were guaranteed a minimum prize of $15,000. Thirty-two charities were selected by random drawing before Saturday’s event while two wild cards, Take Stock in Children and Wayside House Inc., were drawn on site. There was $175,000 in grant money handed out to more than 15 local non-profits and little league sports teams via random drawings during Saturday night’s competition.
“Almost 50 local groups will walk away from the FTI GCC with thousands of dollars, and 100% of that money stays right here in Palm Beach County,” said Dennis Shaughnessy, Retired Executive Chairman of the Board of FTI Consulting. “I can’t think of another event that has such a far-reaching positive influence, and I’m proud that my company was able to contribute significantly to this year’s allocations.”
FTI Consulting also sponsored a $50,000 Online Voting Challenge that allowed the supporters of each charity to vote for them in the two weeks leading up to the FTI GCC. The top three fan favorite charities were awarded a donation. The winners were: first place: Big Dog Ranch Rescue ($25,000), second place: Horse Healing Therapy Center ($12,500), third place: Danny and Ron’s Rescue ($12,500).
2014 FTI Consulting Great Charity Challenge presented by Fidelity Investments® Final Results and Grant Allocations
|1||Speak Up for Kids||Lothlorien||Bass, Bolfo, Newlands and Rowland||$150,000|
|2||Wellington PTO/PTA/PTSA||Entrust (Rose Hill Farm)||Rosenbaum Mollengarden PLLC||$125,000|
|3||Musicares – Hunter Hayes||Dressage Team and Rizvi Family||Carol Cohen, Diamante Farms, Havensafe Farm, Michael Collins, Mike Davis, Rose Peslar (Everglades Dressage), Tim Dutta Tuny Paige and the Van Kampen Foundation||$112,500|
|4||Lighthouse for the Blind||Double “C” Farm (Creel Family)||Fumero Law Group||$100,000|
|5||Seagull Industries for the Disabled||Trelawny Farm||Gold Coast Feed & Supply||$80,000|
|6||Adopt-A-Family of the Palm Beaches, Inc.||Bellissimo Family||Sexton Engineering||$75,000|
|7||Connor Moran Children’s Cancer Foundation||Newstead Farm (Firestone)||Marcum LLP||$65,000|
|8||HomeSafe||Postage Stamp Farm||The Bainbridge Companies||$60,000|
|9||The Alliance for Eating Disorders||Greenriver (Roger and Jennifer Smith)||Equine Tack and Nutritionals||$50,000|
|10||Foster and Adoptive Parent Association of Palm Beach County||G&C Farm (Mirabal Family)||Rolex||$40,000|
|11||Wellington Cares||Double H Farm||Trump International||$30,000|
|12||The Children’s Foundation Equine Assisted Therapy||Starwyn Farm (Goldstein Family)||Gary Czajkowski||$26,500|
|13||Equestrian Aid Foundation||Pasmore Stables||Wellington Equestrian Realty||$26,000|
|14||Wounded Warriors||Crown Family||Jamaica Tent||$25,500|
|15||Women’s Circle||Ashland Stables (Fleishhacker Family)||Engel & Völkers||$25,000|
|16||Farmworker Coordinating Council of Palm Beach County||Monika and John Preston and Spy Coast Farm||Enterprise Rental Cars||$24,500|
|17||Blooming with Autism||Boyer/Van Kampen Foundation||Bank of America||$24,000|
|18||Peggy Adams Animal Rescue League of the Palm Beaches, Inc.||Kadley Farm (Gierkink Family)||Wrenwood Farm||$23,500|
|19||Wayside House, Inc.||Pine Hollow Farm (Dvorkin Family)||ESI||$23,000|
|20||Restoration Bridge International||Smith and Bloomberg Families||Palm Beach Illustrated||$22,500|
|21||Take Stock in Children||Bruce Duchossois||Salamander Farm||$22,000|
|22||Danny and Ron’s Rescue||Tequestrian Farms (Tisbo Family)||Pegasus Builders||$21,500|
|23||The Children Healing Institute||JKG Farm||Fidelity Investments®||$21,000|
|24||New Urban Community Development Corporation||Burrows, Kalman and Pin Oak||W Development||$20,500|
|25||Palm Beach School for Autism||Goshen Hill||Ingram & Raynes||$20,000|
|26||Spirit of Giving Network||Fair Play Farm (Kasowitz Family)||FTI Consulting||$19,500|
|27||Big Dog Ranch||Brushwood Stables||Palm Beach Equine Clinic||$19,000|
|28||Boca Raton’s Promise- the Alliance for Youth||Cynthia Sulzberger and Steven Green||Dever Golf Cars||$18,500|
|29||Boys and Girls Club of Palm Beach County||Patten Family||Chronicle of the Horse||$18,000|
|30||Healing Horse Therapy Center||Further Lane Farm||Jones Awnings and Canvas, Inc.||$17,500|
|31||The Unicorn Children’s Foundation||Louisburg Farm and AAA Equestrian||Neil Hirsch||$17,000|
|32||Urban Youth Impact||Mershad Team 2||Suncast®||$16,500|
|33||Pediatric Oncology Support Team (POST)||Stateside Farm (Goddard Family)||Galle Law Group||$16,000|
|34||The Arc of the Glades||Equinimity||Intrepid Electric||$15,500|
|35||Polo Players Support Group||Mershad Team 1||Hollow Creek Farm||$15,000|
|American Association of Caregiving Youth||$5,000|
|Caridad Center, Inc.||$5,000|
|Friends of Fisher House||$5,000|
|Friends of Veterans, Inc.||$5,000|
|Gulfstream Goodwill Industries||$10,000|
|Gulstream Goodwill Academies||$10,000|
|Habitat for Humanity of South Palm Beach County||$10,000|
|Healthy Mothers Healthy Babies of P. B. County||$5,000|
|Spirit Award Contest- presented by the Mershad Family||$5,000|
|The Center for Family Services||$10,000|
|Vinceremos Therapeutic Riding Center||$10,000|
|Wounded Warriors- Matched by the Crown Family||$25,500|
LITTLE LEAGUE GRANTS
|Wellington Colts Travel Baseball||$4,000|
|Wellington Wave Travel Soccer||$7,000|
|Wellington Wolves Travel Basketball||$3,000|
|Wellington Wrestling Club||$6,000|
|Western Communities Football League||$5,000|