On Feb.1 the FTI Consulting Great Charity Challenge presented by Fidelity Investments® raised more than $2.25 million for local Palm Beach County charities at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center in Wellington, Fla. The FTI GCC is a relay style show jumping competition with teams being made up of two junior or amateur riders combined with one Olympic or world-class rider. The 34 teams are then randomly paired with 34 charities that serve Palm Beach County.
The team riding for the charity Speak Up! For Kids won first place, claiming the grand prize of $150,000. The winning team included amateur riders Kelly Soleau and Emily Kinch, along with 10-time Olympian Ian Miller.
Mark Bellissimo founded the event in 2010 with his daughter, Paige Bellissimo. In the past five years, the FTI GCC has raised more than $6.4 million that has been distributed to upwards of 100 local Palm Beach County nonprofits. This year, more than 400 local charities applied for a chance to be one of the 34 participants—all of which were guaranteed a minimum prize of $15,000.
Additionally, there was $175,000 in grant money handed out to more than 15 local non-profits and little league sports teams via random drawings. A $50,000 Online Voting Challenge allowed supporters of each charity to vote before the event for the top three fan favorites for an additional donation. The winners were: Big Dog Ranch Rescue ($25,000), Horse Healing Therapy Center ($12,500) and Danny and Ron’s Rescue ($12,500).
All charities are required to use 75 percent of the funds won in Palm Beach County. One hundred percent of the proceeds will be distributed among almost 50 charities, positively impacting thousands of lives.