With 350 applications received for the chance to participate in the 11th Annual Great Charity Challenge presented by Fidelity Investments® (GCC), event founder Paige Bellissimo and executive director Anne Caroline Valtin developed a strategic plan to increase GCC’s impact on Palm Beach County.

Having distributed $13.5 million to over 240 Palm Beach County non-profit organizations to date, the team at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center (PBIEC) has witnessed how connecting local non-profits, the equestrian community and generous donors has had the power to shape local communities and create a genuine impact.

“As a learning organization, we feel it is important to evaluate what we have done and see how we can amplify our impact while maintaining our values of professionalism, transparency, impartiality, and bridging the gap,” commented Bellissimo. “Being in a unique setting here in Wellington, our objectives are to further harness this opportunity to empower long-term, sustainable solutions.”

Organizations qualified to participate in the GCC all provide one of the following services in the community: access to education, access to work and economic growth, animal welfare, child welfare, culture and arts, ending poverty, fighting hunger, good health and well-being, partnerships for community development, public welfare, senior welfare, veteran and military support, and other organizations (which represent 10% of applicants and range from sports leagues to training service dogs and support groups). The identified categories closely align with the World’s Sustainable Development Goals, a “blueprint to achieve a better and more sustainable future for all” as described by the United Nations.

Thanks to Equestrian Sport Productions’ generosity of covering all costs associated with the GCC, the event’s sole purpose to date has been to fundraise and re-distribute 100% of the funds back to Palm Beach County non-profits. The last four years have also seen an increase in impact measurement requirements such as establishing quarterly non-profit reporting, highlighting the funds at work, identifying the number of lives impacted, etc.

The strategy for 2020-2030 will also involve capacity building, enabling and bouldering invaluable partnerships, as well as concentrating on amplifying the event’s impact.

“Paige and I are extremely blessed to have ‘grown together’ over the last decade, not only through this amazing community effort but also in our own ways: she is actively involved in “MaverickNext”and studying impact investing while I earned a law Master’s degree in International Law with a strong focus on the role of civil society in fostering sustainable change,” adds Valtin. “This experience truly gives us a unique outlook of the needs that are here, an increased understanding that sustainable change happens at the local level and a desire to better assist those that serve and support the community’s growth and well-being.”

A total of 69 Palm Beach County based organizations benefited from the 2019 GCC. Based on a community needs assessment with partnering agencies and to align with its 2020-2030 strategy, the team and its board have established that a minimum of two (2) agencies will represent the following seven (7) categories during its upcoming 11th annual event: access to education, access to work and economic growth, child welfare, ending poverty, fighting hunger, good health and well-being, and partnerships for community development. Organizations will be randomly drawn in a lottery style drawing starting in early December 2019.

Donations and sponsorships from local families, foundations, businesses, vendors, exhibitors and spectators, ranging from $50 to $50,000, are what make the event reach its fundraising goal of over $1 million every year.

Customized sponsorship opportunities start at $500 while donations of all levels are welcomed; please visit: www.greatcharitychallenge.com for additional information on how to become part of this movement and community effort.

The GCC competition during the 2020 Winter Equestrian Festival at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center will offer free general admission and will be held Saturday evening, February 1, 2020, at 6:00 PM. Free parking will be located at 13500 South Shore Blvd., Wellington, FL 33414, home to the Adequan® Global Dressage Festival show grounds.