By Anne Caroline Valtin
What have we learned from living through a pandemic? For the 2021 Great Charity Challenge, presented by Fidelity Investments, an event founded by the father/daughter team of Mark and Paige Bellissimo in 2009, COVID-19 highlighted that nonprofit organizations stood at the core of our community’s resilience.
“We simply can’t imagine what our world would have looked like without charities stepping up to ensure that our most vulnerable neighbors were fed, had a roof over their heads and had access to the most basic services during the pandemic,” GCC Executive Director Anne Caroline Valtin said.
The GCC is an exciting show jumping event that combines equestrian sports and philanthropy, bringing hope to Palm Beach County charities every year. Teams of professional and amateur riders are paired with randomly selected Palm Beach County charities, which they represent during the costumed relay-style race against the clock over colorful jumps in the International Arena at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center. The event will return for its 13th year on Saturday, Feb. 5, 2022, at PBIEC, home of the Winter Equestrian Festival, with the goal to distribute an additional $1 million-plus purse to local charities.
In the GCC’s first year, the event generated more than $400,000, benefiting 24 local charities. The 2021 edition distributed $1.1 million to 49 organizations, thanks to the generous support from 69 sponsors and partners. Through the support of the equestrian industry and the community at large, the GCC has acted as a catalyst for charitable giving over the last 12 years, distributing a total of $15.9 million to 276 Palm Beach County nonprofit organizations.
Even through the uncertainty of this past year, the GCC and its management team stood by its vision and found creative ways to push the event forward in February 2021. As a growing organization and movement, the event was able to quickly respond to the devastating effects of COVID-19 by shifting a majority of its funding priorities toward local nonprofits who were directly supporting and assisting the most vulnerable and affected populations in Palm Beach County.
In addition to fund disbursements, the GCC’s strategy involves capacity building, enabling invaluable partnerships, as well as concentrating on amplifying the event’s impact. By guaranteeing that the event will not only support those who provide immediate needs in the community, but also those who work toward long-term, sustainable change, the upcoming 2022 edition will once again highlight innovation on behalf of its team and supporters.
If you know of a deserving Palm Beach County-based charity, invite them to visit www.greatcharitychallenge.com for additional information regarding application requirements and the event’s unique selection process.
The application process for the 2021 GCC opened Monday, Oct. 25, and will remain active through 5 p.m. on Monday, Nov. 15. At stake is a chance to win up to $100,000!
For additional event information, including information about the application process and sponsorship opportunities, visit www.greatcharitychallenge.com. Follow the GCC on social media at @greatcharitychallenge on Facebook and @great_charity_challenge on Instagram.