Wellington - January 31, 2024 – Beneath the shimmering lights of Wellington International (WI), the world of equestrian sport converges with the heartbeat of altruism, as the Great Charity Challenge, sponsored by Fidelity Investments® (GCC), prepares to gallop into its 15th year. With a dazzling history of redistributing a staggering $19.4 million to 318 Palm Beach County non-profit organizations, the GCC doesn't just talk about change; it catalyzes it. As the winter chill blankets the air, the Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF) becomes a hotbed of hope, where show-jumping champions and compassionate hearts unite to transform the lives of over 40 charities annually.
The electrifying night isn't just about horsepower; it's about the power to effect change, the power of community, and the undying spirit of giving. In the past few months, a clarion call echoed across Palm Beach County, urging individuals and businesses alike to #BeTheChange, to build upon the GCC's legacy, and to drive the event towards its audacious $2 million goal.
To be held on Saturday, February 3, 2024, the team at WI looks forward to welcoming the community, along with competitors, donors, and sponsors alike, to come together for an iconic representation of your favorite TV shows in the International Ring. The night will feature an exciting relay style show jumping competition with horses and riders alike decked out in costume.
Founded by father/daughter team of Mark and Paige Bellissimo in 2009, the GCC has acted as a community event for charitable giving over the last 14 years. This community effort has set out in its 15th year to go above and beyond, hoping to distribute $2 million to local non-profit organizations who were randomly selected following this year’s application process. The winning team’s nonprofit will receive $100,000 while all pre-selected participants are guaranteed a minimum grant of $15,000. To view the full list of participating charities (listed alphabetically), please visit: https://greatcharitychallenge.com/selected-non-profits/
The evening will offer free general admission, a complimentary family festival (featuring activities such as face painting, a petting zoo, free rides on the Venetian carousel and much more) as well as several dining options.
Join us early as the GCC kicks off the evening by featuring children of all ages in the Pet Parade and Costume Contest, generously presented by the Postage Stamp Farm Foundation and Artemis Farm. By dressing up with their favorite pet(s), 10 teams will represent pre-selected non-profit organizations and celebrate the power of doing good at any age! At stake? A share of the $55,000 in prize money. The Pet Parade and Costume Contest isn’t just about fun and cuteness – founder Annabelle Garrett wants to ensure that children understand their potential impact in the community and wants to encourage all to get involved. Don’t miss their appearance in the International Arena, between 6:30 and 6:45 PM.
Each year, new and recurring donations and sponsorships from local families, foundations, businesses, equestrians, and more, ranging from $500 to $250,000, are the key to the event reaching its fundraising goal.
“Looking into our 15th year, we decided to feature 15 things about the GCC. Many people don’t know the true inner workings of the event that allow every penny to go to our selected non-profits. Highlighting some of the key facts about the GCC was eye-opening for Anne Caroline and I, and we hope it was just as inspiring for our community and supporters,” commented Kelly Arani, GCC Event and Marketing Director. “To learn more about the 15 things about the GCC in our 15th year, head to our Instagram or Facebook.”
One key fact about the GCC that sets the event apart is that Equestrian Sport Productions, the Wellington International operating organization that oversees equestrian events at the venue throughout the year, and Wellington International owner Global Equestrian Group donate the facility, staff, and infrastructure to ensure the success of the charitable event and guarantee that 100% of the funds raised are redistributed in the community.
The GCC competition will offer free general admission and will be held Saturday evening, February 3, 2024, with gates opening at 6:00 PM, during WEF's "Saturday Night Lights." Free off-site parking will be available at the Equestrian Village facility across the street at 13500 South Shore Blvd., Wellington, with a free shuttle service to Wellington International (that will start running at 5 PM).
About Fidelity Investments®
Fidelity’s mission is to strengthen the financial well-being of our customers and deliver better outcomes for the clients and businesses we serve. With assets under administration of $11.7 trillion, including discretionary assets of $4.5 trillion as of June 30, 2023, we focus on meeting the unique needs of a diverse set of customers. Privately held for over 75 years, Fidelity employs over 70,000 associates who are focused on the long-term success of our customers. For more information about Fidelity Investments, visit https://www.fidelity.com/about-fidelity/our-company.
About the Winter Equestrian Festival
Situated in the heart of Wellington, FL, the iconic "Winter Equestrian Capital of the World", Wellington International is the proud host of the Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF). This internationally recognized 13-week event stands as the world's largest and longest-running hunter/jumper horse show in the world. Every year, WEF opens its gates to thousands of riders from all 50 U.S. states and over 34 countries, cementing its reputation as a global equestrian hub. Spanning more than 111 acres, Wellington International is equipped with 18 competition arenas, over 400 permanent equine stalls, dedicated horse trails, pedestrian paths, and golf cart tracks. Beyond the equestrian sports, WEF offers an all-encompassing experience, featuring VIP services, unmatched hospitality, versatile event spaces, and world-class shopping opportunities. With an annual contribution of more than $351 million to Palm Beach County's GDP and the creation of over 3,300 jobs, the festival's impact extends well beyond the facility. The Winter Equestrian Festival is a flagship event operated by Equestrian Sport Productions, LLC. For more information or to experience the equestrian excellence firsthand, visit www.wellingtoninternational.com