Reshaping a Community: Palm Beach County Charities Put $1.3 Million to Work Following Great Charity Challenge, Presented by Fidelity Investments®

Feb 26, 2019 - 11:32 AM
For Immediate Release


Wellington, FL – March 15, 2019 – Sixty-five non-profits are putting their collective $1.3 million dollars in donations to use following their participation in Palm Beach International Equestrian Center’s Great Charity Challenge presented by Fidelity Investments® (GCC) held on February 2, 2019.
The GCC has become a highlight of the 12-week Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF), organized by Equestrian Sport Productions, and has distributed $13.5 million to over 240 local organizations in ten years.


What exactly does $1.3 million at work look like?


Over the last five weeks, the 65 benefiting non-profit organizations from this year’s GCC have submitted their fund use reports, detailing how the funding received that evening will help them further their mission.


Thanks to the support of 69 sponsors, the final numbers are in: 54,237 lives will directly be impacted from this year’s fundraising efforts. With grants ranging from $1,000 to $150,000, funding will assist with everything from providing financial stability, guaranteeing that the ones most at risk will not be left behind, to expanding existing programs and launching new ones in the community, and bridging the funding gap between government grants and fundraising.


To view the full intended fund use report, please visit:



Here are a few examples of the funds at work:


Holy Ground Shelter for Homeless, Inc. (DBA Holy Ground PBC) had an extraordinary evening. Riders for team sponsor Pine Hollow Farm and corporate sponsor Havensafe Farm took first place, gifting the organization with a $150,000 grant.
“I can’t even begin to put into words what this means to us,” said Phyllis Turner Jepson, Executive Director of Holy Ground Shelter for the Homeless. “This is life-changing, and it means that several lives will be changed because of this money.”
The non-profit strives to achieve individualized long-term, generational outcomes, and has therefore kept their client population purposely low. Receiving such unexpected funds means that they can not only take on additional young mothers and families, but it also gives them the unprecedented opportunity to become financially stable. By paying off their residential campus, their annual cost per family is significantly lowered, enabling them to serve more families. Furthermore, funding from the GCC will establish a “reserve fund” (representing three months of operating expenses), enabling the agency to gain access to additional grants, which specifically limit their funding to organizations meeting this requirement.
“This is something that most donors may not take in consideration when funding non-profits, but we truly encourage benefiting organizations to invest towards their sustainability. In the long-run, this investment will enable them to keep serving the community and create a broader impact,” commented GCC Executive Director Anne Caroline Valtin.


First, second and third place 2019 GCC winners celebrate on the podium.
Photo credit: ©ESP.
Friends of Palm Beach works to protect the environment by cleaning the beaches of incoming ocean debris while putting people in need to work for paid wages. Their transitional work program hires the clients of The Lord’s Place and Vita Nova. Without a job at the end of the agency’s programs, the individual is left floundering to start their road to independence. The programs at Friends of Palm Beach gives them that job. To date, they have hired over 34 individuals through their transitional work program, assisting them on the road to independence with their first job ‘back’, from which they then transition to full-time permanent positions elsewhere.
With the $24,000 grant received during this year’s GCC, an additional 20 homeless individuals will be given the opportunity to not only make a difference in the county, but also have part-time, transitional jobs. Funds will be used for supplies that are needed for monthly clean ups, i.e. grabbers, gloves, trash bags, educational materials. Friends of Palm Beach has hosted 111 beach clean-up events since 2013, attracting individuals of all ages and walks of life. They have logged 10,483 volunteer hours with the help of 4,273 volunteers removing over 30,775 pounds of ocean debris.
Diane Buhler, Founder and President of Friends of Palm Beach adds: “The GCC was such an awesome event to be a part of! Again, great work for so many terrific groups. I really enjoyed meeting my fellow selected charities and learning about the great work they do in our community. Your event is not only about giving back but the inspiration, passion and dedication was palpable that evening!”
Funding from the GCC also assists with programming for at-risk youth, as is the case with the South Florida Science Center and Aquarium’s Science Technology Engineering and Math (STEM) Passport Program. The project is designed to provide elementary students with age-appropriate experiences so they can apply fundamental scientific inquiry principles to solve problems. STEM Science Passport features technology, engineering, and math-based activities and experiments employing deductive reasoning and critical thinking skills.
Elementary students from economically disadvantaged communities throughout Palm Beach and Broward County learn how to outline simple experiments, develop a valid means to test problem-solving hypothesis, and communicate effectively about cause-and-effect relationships. Through funding received via the GCC, 700 students will get to experience this Passport Program.
Our Sister’s Place, Inc. supports victims of domestic violence by providing safety, advocacy, education, financial and emotional support as well as opportunities for positive life changes. There sadly exists a shortage of beds in Palm Beach County to assist the increasing number of victims of domestic violence and their children who are escaping their abusers.
“We have placed as many families as we could with the budget constraints that we have.  Having to turn individuals away is putting them back into abusive situations or to homelessness.  Eighty percent of homeless women and children have been in abusive situations” commented Executive Director Jane Wagley.
“The grant from the Great Charity Challenge will allow us to serve 150 more women and children as we expand our Hotel/Motel Program and provide safety, shelter, food, clothing, case management, education, childcare assistance, relocation assistance, employment assistance, pro bono legal services, rental and utility assistance, court advocacy, furniture and household goods for permanent housing, rental and utility assistance, counseling, prescription assistance, medical assistance, computer training, delivery and moving services, and most of all support to help them reach their goals of living violence-free lives.”
Supported by the Ziegler Family Foundation, the Literacy Coalition of Palm Beach County, whose mission is to improve the quality of life in our community by promoting and achieving literacy, received $10,000, which will directly serve 100 adults in Belle Glade. Through its Glades Family Education program, adults learn to read, write and speak English while their preschool children participate in an early childhood education class.
“It was an honor to be included. I’ve worked for the Literacy Coalition for more than 16 years and although I saw many familiar faces from other PBC nonprofits at the event, I also learned about other agencies that are doing amazing work. Thank you for everything you do to bring us together to help the people (and animals!) of Palm Beach County lead better lives,” commented Diane Pacheco, Chief Operating Officer.
Supporters of Our Sister’s Place cheer on their team at the 2019 GCC.
Photo credit: ©LS Photos.
Co-Founder of the GCC Paige Bellissimo congratulated everyone on yet another exciting event.
“It just keeps growing, and it’s really an amazing event that bridges the local community and the equestrian community. I’m so thankful for everyone who’s a part of it.”


More information on the competition, full charity fund use report(s), and a complete list of donations made to date can be viewed by visiting


All benefiting organizations will be reporting their progress quarterly for the upcoming calendar year. Please follow their progress via the event Facebook page:


About Fidelity Investments 
Fidelity’s mission is to inspire better futures and deliver better outcomes for the customers and businesses we serve. With assets under administration of $7.3 trillion, including managed assets of $2.6 trillion as of February 28, 2019, we focus on meeting the unique needs of a diverse set of customers: helping more than 30 million people invest their own life savings, 22,000 businesses manage employee benefit programs, as well as providing more than 13,500 financial advisory firms with investment and technology solutions to invest their own clients’ money. Privately held for more than 70 years, Fidelity employs more than 40,000 associates who are focused on the long-term success of our customers. For more information about Fidelity Investments, visit 


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821712.1.19 © 2019 FMR LLC. All rights reserved.

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