With a strong belief that change happens through the power of communities, Palm Beach County charities will get a chance to inspire and expand their impacts this coming February.
For the past nine years, equestrians and their mounts have been uniting the local community at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center in Wellington. These teams of riders have one goal in mind: to give Palm Beach County charities a chance to win up to $150,000.
Through an open application process, the Great Charity Challenge, presented by Fidelity Investments, invited all Palm Beach County-based charities to apply to participate in the event’s 10th edition of a pro-amateur relay show jumping competition. Thirty of these randomly drawn charities will meet their randomly paired teams on Saturday, Feb 2, 2019, to receive a share of a million-dollar-plus purse.
The GCC, founded in 2010 by Mark and Katherine Bellissimo of Equestrian Sport Productions, along with their daughter Paige, has distributed more than $12.2 million from the equestrian community to 230 nonprofits in Palm Beach County. All of the money raised gets distributed to local nonprofits every year, with first place receiving $150,000 and all participating charities being guaranteed a minimum amount of $15,000. Staying true to its roots, a minimum of five nonprofits, out of the 30 participating, are guaranteed to be Wellington-based.
Over the last four years, the GCC brought team spirit to a new level by incorporating themes into this annual celebration. With riders dressed up in costumes and horses adorned to match them, this year’s theme of “We are the World” will focus on promoting unity and celebrate cultural differences in the community. An art contest involving all 12 Wellington-area public schools will showcase the different causes represented that evening, from fighting hunger to education and much more.
“This 10th year honors the diversity in our community,” said Mark Bellissimo, managing partner of Wellington Equestrian Partners. “With riders from all over the world, our organization showcases the benefit that comes from embracing each other’s differences and unity toward this greater good. This event is truly the legacy of the Winter Equestrian Festival and the sponsors involved. We can’t thank them enough for their support.”
Paige Bellissimo is actively involved with nonprofits in the community.
“The GCC is a unique event that allows us to raise awareness of the diverse charitable organizations throughout the community,” she said. “We hope that this year’s edition will unite all involved, from the sponsors and riders, to the nonprofits involved and the community at large. We are very grateful for those who support the effort.”
The drawing to select the first 24 charities from those that have applied to participate in the 2019 GCC will be held on Dec. 2 at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center.
For the latest event information and application guidelines, visit www.greatcharity challenge.com or follow them on Facebook at www.facebook.co––m/greatcharitychallenge.