Wellington Equestrian Community Raises $2.25 Million for Palm Beach County
Charities During FTI Consulting Great Charity Challenge presented by
Spectacular Concert by Grammy Nominee Hunter Hayes Adds to the Excitement
WELLINGTON, Fla. -- February 6, 2014
The action-packed FTI Consulting Great Charity Challenge presented by Fidelity
Investments® (FTI GCC) raised more than $2.25 million for local charities
Saturday at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center, smashing a
fundraising record for the event and topping last year’s amount of $1.5
million.One-hundred percent of the proceeds will be distributed to Palm Beach
County charities, impacting many thousands of lives. The equestrian team
riding on behalf of Speak Up For Kids jumped its way to first place, earning
the top prize of $150,000. The team included 10-time Olympian Ian Millar, with
amateur riders Kelly Soleau and Emily Kinch.
The winning presentation with ringmaster Gustavo Murcia, riders Ian Millar,
Emily Kinch and Kelly So ...
The winning presentation with ringmaster Gustavo Murcia, riders Ian Millar,
Emily Kinch and Kelly Soleau, Greg Weiss, Kristin Solomon and Diana Reese for
Speak Up for Kids, and Equestrian Sport Productions' CEO Mark Bellissimo.
Photo © Sportfot (Photo: Business Wire)
“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 his 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. “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.”
“We thank all of the riders, horse owners and the amazing sponsors who
contributed to this important effort,” added Paige Bellissimo. “Thanks to the
support of this community, we have raised nearly $6.4 million over the last
Junior rider Hannah Patten rode on a team to benefit the Boys and Girls Club
of Palm beach County. She noted, “This is my favorite night of the entire
year. It’s a night where I feel like what I’m doing actually makes a
difference in someone else’s life. For some of the kids in Boys and Girls
Club, this is the first time they’ve ever seen a horse. Seeing the smiles on
their faces makes all the early mornings and long days of practice worth it.”
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, Greg
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.”
The FTI GCC has raised and distributed more than $6.4 million to over 100
nonprofits in Palm Beach County over the last five years. 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 prior to
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
For a full list of charities that benefitted from the 2014 FTI Consulting
Great Charity Challenge presented by Fidelity Investments®, head to
For more information, please visit www.equestriansport.com.
About FTI Consulting, Inc.
FTI Consulting, Inc. is a global business advisory firm dedicated to helping
organizations protect and enhance enterprise value in an increasingly complex
legal, regulatory and economic environment. With more than 4,100 employees
located in 25 countries, FTI Consulting professionals work closely with
clients to anticipate, illuminate and overcome complex business challenges in
areas such as investigations, litigation, mergers and acquisitions, regulatory
issues, reputation management, strategic communications and restructuring. The
company generated $1.58 billion in revenues during fiscal year 2012.
For more information,visitwww.fticonsulting.com and connect with us
onTwitter (@FTIConsulting),Facebook, and LinkedIn.
About Fidelity Investments®
Fidelity Investments® is one of the world’s largest providers of financial
services, with assets under administration of $4.6 trillion, including managed
assets of $1.9 trillion, as of December 31, 2013. Founded in 1946, the firm is
a leading provider of investment management, retirement planning, portfolio
guidance, brokerage, benefits outsourcing and many other financial products
and services to more than 20 million individuals and institutions, as well as
through 5,000 financial intermediary firms. For more information about
Fidelity Investments®, visit www.fidelity.com.
Photos/Multimedia Gallery Available:
For Equestrian Sport Productions
Jennifer Wood, 803-240-7488
Press spacebar to pause and continue. Press esc to stop.