Great Charity Challenge to Distribute $1.6 Million to Local Non-Profit Organizations

The 2015 GCC theme of superheroes was a hit with riders and spectators alike. Photo by Lois Spatz.

This year’s Great Charity Challenge returns to the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center, turning wishes into a reality for 40 Palm Beach County charities

Wellington, FL – February 3, 2016 – For the seventh year in a row, the Great Charity Challenge presented by Fidelity Investments® (GCC) returns to Wellington during the 2016 Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF) circuit on Saturday, February 6, 2016. Adding to the $7.5 million the event has distributed to date, this year’s fairy tale theme will showcase Olympic and amateur riders dressed as Peter Pan, Alice in Wonderland or even Princess Elsa and will distribute $1.6 million to over 40 Palm Beach County charities.

Founded in 2010 by Equestrian Sport Productions CEO Mark Bellissimo and his daughter Paige, the Great Charity Challenge has seen the equestrian community take charitable giving to a new level through its love of equestrian sport. The GCC event has impacted thousands of lives with 100% of its proceeds being donated directly to local organizations.

“Our family and Wellington Equestrian Partners would like to invite individuals and families to this true community celebration where we honor local non-profit organizations, their staff, and volunteers, along with the generous philanthropists that make this event possible every year,” commented Mark Bellissimo.

Brand new this year, a Prince and Princess costume contest will give children the chance to dress to impress. A mobile judging panel will determine the lucky winners who will receive a custom gift basket, including a Breyer model horse and WEF Boutique products, a ride around the International Ring in Cinderella’s very own horse-drawn carriage, as well as the chance to choose a lucky charity to receive a $1,000 donation, which will also be matched to their school.

Presentation of the winner is scheduled to take place during the midway point of the event, on the main stage, around 7:45 PM.

Last year’s super hero-themed event brought thousands to the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center (PBIEC) to celebrate the heroes of the community.

To date, the GCC has made incredible contributions to the Palm Beach County community and everyone at Equestrian Sport Productions looks forward to Saturday night. The competition will offer Free General Admission with gates opening at 6 PM. The first team competing in this unique costume class is scheduled to enter the competition arena under the lights at 6:30 PM. Entertainment include on-site dining, live band, a Venetian hand painted carousel, petting zoo, face painters as well as shopping experiences with local vendors.

Off-site parking with shuttle service is offered free of charge at 13500 South Shore Blvd. There is a $20 charge per carload for on-site parking. For more information, including a list of the participating charities and sponsorship opportunities, please visit

Be sure to check out videos from past events:

The extended video shows how the GCC has touched thousands of lives:

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