The USA’s Gay Polo League Polo Club has been granted non-profit status as a public charity under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Service tax code.
The non-profit designation means donations and gifts to GPL are tax-deductible and the organization is eligible to apply for government and foundation grants.
“Non-profit status is a huge step forward,” said Chip McKenney, GPL founder and president.
“This gives us the ability to continue and expand our commitment to helping a broad spectrum of LGBT charitable organizations.”
The Gay Polo League is a sports organization with lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender members and friends across the United States. The membership includes international players in Argentina, Australia, China, Canada, England, France and South Africa.
GPL has positioned itself on the forefront of human rights. Its mission is to inspire and empower individuals who identify themselves as lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender through the promotion of and participation in the sport of polo and other equestrian-related sports. The organization strives to create an atmosphere that affirms and supports the understanding and acceptance of all individuals regardless of race, sex or sexual or gender identity and works to promote goodwill and camaraderie in the community.
“Nonprofit status enhances the GPL’s ability to help raise the profiles of athletes who are out, gay and proud,” said McKenney, CEO/CFO of Phelps Media Group.
“We want to encourage youth who don’t think team sports are available to them and influence professional athletes who could be positive role models if they came out of the closet.”
A United States Polo Association (USPA) designated polo club, GPL celebrated its 10th anniversary in 2016. The organization represents a wide range of ages, backgrounds and skill levels. Members actively train and compete in mainstream matches and events to test their skills, share enthusiasm for the sport and change perceptions about the LGBT community.
The organization is widely known for its flagship event, the Annual International GayPolo Tournament, which is going into its eighth year. For the past several years the tournament has been held at the International Polo Club (IPC) in Wellington, among the most prestigious polo venues in the world.
The tournament is the highlight of Gay Polo Week, traditionally held in early April during the United States Open Polo Championship. Over the years GPL has organized many other polo events – clinics, tournaments and social activities – at Palm City, El Dorado, Empire, Grand Champions, Menlo, San Diego, Santa Barbara and Will Rogers polo clubs. Plans are in progress for events in other parts of the country and several international venues, including Argentina, the mecca of worldwide polo.
The Gay Polo League is committed to providing members and supporters around the world with an enjoyable, supportive and competitive experience. Members share a love for adventure, fun and the beautiful, challenging sport of polo. Its membership is a diversified group.
“While our sexual orientation describes us, it doesn’t define us,” said McKenney. “We are gay and non-gay. We are young and not so young. We are well educated, well traveled, and sports-minded,” said McKenney, noting that while some members have an equestrian background, others are inexperienced riders. “Our common bond is a shared passion for polo.”