Introducing the First 25 Charities Selected to Participate in 2019 Great Charity Challenge

Wellington, FL – December 13, 2018 – With a strong belief that change happens through the power of united communities, the 2019 Great Charity Challenge presented by Fidelity InvestmentsĀ® (GCC) is proud to introduce the first 25 Palm Beach County charities who will be taking center stage on Saturday, February 2, 2019.

With over 360 applications received for the chance to participate in the 10th Annual GCC, this year’s charity selection took place throughout Palm Beach County between Friday, November 30 and Saturday, December 8, 2018. The excitement level was high to see whose names would get drawn out of the “traveling” lottery drum. At stake: a chance to share the $1+ million purse. To date, the event has distributed $12.2 million to over 230 Palm Beach County charities.

A total of 24 charities were randomly drawn throughout the week’s festivities, in addition to the Wellington Public Schools PTA/PTO/PTSA (the only automatic entry included every year).

This year’s new selection format brought the community closer and highlighted some of the individuals who make the GCC a reality. Joining Paige Bellissimo, co-founder of the GCC, were Wellington Mayor Anne Gerwig and Vice Mayor Michael Drahos, as well as Village Council members Michael Napoleone, Tanya Syskind, and John McGovern; Palm Beach County Mayor Melissa McKinlay; several team and corporate sponsors of the event; local news anchor Roxanne Stein; a live appearance on WPTV and a visit to Wellington’s Winterfest on Friday, September 7, 2018. To guarantee full transparency in the selection process, all drawings were posted via Facebook:

Paige Bellissimo, co-founder of the event, commented, “We are very excited to see such a diverse group of nonprofit organizations join us for this tenth edition. The encouragements and true camaraderie witnessed on social media, between non-profits during the selection process, was heartwarming. We hope that this year’s GCC will unite all involved, from the sponsors and riders, to the nonprofits involved and the community at large!”

Blending philanthropy and equestrian sports, the GCC is an exciting show jumping event that brings hope to Palm Beach County charities every year.

Shaw Thomas, Board President of Speak Up for Kids, commented, “For a local charity, making a direct local impact as we do through Speak Up for Kids, being selected for the GCC is a huge vote of confidence and exciting opportunity for increased impact.”

Future charity drawings will be held at random during the first weeks of the 2019 Winter Equestrian Festival and the final two wild card teams will be drawn the night of the GCC.

“We hold a strong belief that change happens through the power of united communities. From the amazing sponsors who make the event possible, the equestrians who donate their time, skills, and horses to compete, to the passionate and dedicated individuals who work tirelessly to better the community, attending the GCC will simply restore your faith in humanity,” mentioned Anne Caroline Valtin, Executive Director of the GCC.

For a full list of charities drawn to date (listed alphabetically), please visit:

Equestrian Sport Productions (ESP), the PBIEC operating organization that oversees equestrian events at the venue throughout the year, donates the facility, staff, and infrastructure to ensure the success of the charitable event and guarantees that 100% of the funds raised are redistributed in the community.

Mark your calendars for the 2019 GCC to be held on Saturday, February 2, 2019 at the PBIEC during WEF’s “Saturday Night Lights” series. With riders dressed up in costumes and horses adorned to match them, this year’s theme of “We Are the World” will focus on promoting unity and celebrate the cultural differences in our community. An art contest involving all 12 Wellington public schools will showcase the different causes represented that evening, from fighting hunger, to education, etc. Spectators will enjoy free general admission and parking, while supporting their favorite charity as riders compete for their nonprofit’s share of the $1+ million-dollar purse.

For more information on the Great Charity Challenge (GCC), please visit

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