A Huge Thank You to the COTH Community from Special Horses Inc
equineartworks and I are delighted to invite you to share in our exciting announcement that Special Horses, Inc. is now officially a tax-exempt, charitable organization under the 501(c)3 IRS code.
It started as a simple, silly idea. COTH has a Secret Santa - why not start a Secret Santa for Horse Rescues? So, with approval from the COTH administrators, I invited any COTH members who were part of 501(c)3 equine rescue or therapeutic organizations, signed up "elves" and designated them as an "Elf Team" for each of the groups, who submitted a wish list. What was overwhelming, and not a little humbling, was to learn from several of the groups that the COTH donations from Secret Santa made such an enormous difference to them.
The second year, equineartworks joined in, as a way of saying thank you to the very generous COTHers who responded to her request for donations for suitable competition clothes for the Special Olympics Equestrian Team from Stable Movements.
It grew from there. eaw and I kicked around the idea of another fundraiser, supporting the same groups. With approval from the Moderators, we ran the "Valentine's Day Pin Up" contest, and invited COTHers to "vote" with donations to each of the participating equine 501(c)3 groups. eaw designed a gorgeous website for the contest, and used the name, Special Horses, that she had been saving for her lurking dream of her own equine assisted therapy program.
By the end of the Valentine's Day Fundraiser, we admitted to each other that we wanted to keep it going. We designed a new fundraiser, trying to keep it fun, and different: "We Are All Winners" - a contest where we invited people to submit pictures of their favorite equine, invited people to vote for the equine of their choice, with donation proceeds going directly to the participating groups.
Along the way, we helped organize a central network to assist equines caught in the devastation of the floods in Minnesota and North Dakota in spring of 2009.
We began to realize that we needed to become 501(c)3 ourselves to facilitate our efforts. Thanks to a heads-up from COTH's Whoanellie from TIER, we applied for, and obtained, a grant from the Ralph and Virgina Mullin Foundation to assist us in the process.
And now it's official. But we could not ever have done it without the fabulous generosity and support from the COTH community. Thanks to you, we have plans in place for additional fundraisers to assist smaller 501(c)3 equine organizations who - although they provide a fabulous service to the equine community - appreciate the extra assistance with fundraisers, PR, and grant applications. We are also generating a cookbook, whose proceeds will go to support the Emergency Response Fund, which grew out of Sunkissed Acre's efforts to save Mr. American Beau Jingles. We will provide a network to assist in coordinating efforts for disaster relief, and we will also provide a network to facilitate the exchange of resources and equines between rescue organizations and therapy facilities. We are also building a virtual "Memory Wall," to honor eaw's Dumplin, her first horse, a mini she adopted from Sunkissed Acres. Donations to the Wall will provide assistance for our fundraising efforts.
All we ask from our participating groups is that they demonstrate a need for our services, that they be legitimate 501(c)3 organizations, participate on the COTH forums, and be responsive to their donors. We volunteer our efforts and services to help them help equines and therapeutic groups in need.
So - thank you to all the wonderful equine 501(c)3s who were our inspiration, and who cheered us on. Thank you to the Ralph and Virginia Mullin Foundation for helping us realize our goal. And thank you, thank you, to the wonderful COTH community who made Special Horses a reality.