Arezzo, Italy – Equestrian athletes uniting for positive change is truly a global movement, as evidenced by a fundraiser held to benefit JustWorld International at the Arezzo Equestrian Centre in Italy on July 16.
Spearheaded by grand prix rider Matteo Guinti, the local community gathered in support of JustWorld International, a non-profit organization dedicated to helping impoverished children in developing nations around the world. Guinti’s motivation for organizing the fundraising event mirrored the exact reason so many of the more than 300 JustWorld Rider Ambassadors representing 34 nations have become involved with the organization – to share their good fortunate.
“When everything is going well, it is the perfect time to share the moment with someone else,” said Guinti, 34, of Italy who recently signed a three-year contract to be the resident trainer at Arezzo Equestrian Centre. “I have worked hard in my life to get to where I am today, and now I have a chance to be in Arezzo at this beautiful facility. I have good sponsors and good horses, and have been able to jump in the Global Champions Tour with good results. At this moment in my life, surrounded by good people, I wanted to do something for the people of the world who are not as lucky as me.”
Helping Guinti to organize the fundraising effort were long-time JustWorld Rider Ambassadors Mia Crocetti-Marzotto and Elena Mariottini, both 19. The day began with Guinti giving a clinic for nine hours, non-stop. A total of 30 horses – six groups of five horses each, participated in the clinic, all very well aware that the purpose was to raise funds for JustWorld.
“I had spoken with my students beforehand, and they all agreed that doing something special for JustWorld would be nice,” said Guinti, whose wife, Danae Tsatsou, represented her native Greece at the 2004 Athens Olympics in show jumping.
The clinic was followed by a dinner on Friday night. A total of 110 guests enjoyed dining, dancing, and karaoke while a horseless horse show, magician and live dj also provided entertainment. A small auction was also organized with Guinti donating the three horse blankets from Valencia, Cannes and Monte Carlo that he has won so far this year on the Global Champions Tour, bringing in €1,000.
A television crew from the local station was on hand to film the day’s festivities, and aired a 30-minute program the following week which included Mia Crocetti-Marzotto’s opening speech and JustWorld educational videos played at the fundraising event, as well as interviews with Guinti and Arezzo Equestrian Centre owner, Ita Marzotto.
“We are so happy to have organized a successful fundraising event for JustWorld,” said Crocetti-Marzotto. “Elena and I managed to create a really good team of people who were very involved. The event was successful because of such great team work. We are looking forward to doing something more in the future for JustWorld.”
Arezzo chose to raise funds for the project site in Brazil, where JustWorld partners with the Pavel Foundation to combat extreme poverty in Barao de Grajau, a remote village in northeastern Brazil. JustWorld funds have helped the Pavel Foundation to finish construction on two education centers that now serve 110 children as they participate in the kindergarten, day-care, nutrition, and literacy programs. The €4,000 raised through the clinic and fundraiser at Arezzo Equestrian Centre will specifically be used for the nutritional program, and will feed 24 children for an entire year.
“From the early days of JustWorld, the Arezzo Equestrian Centre has been a great supporter,” said JustWorld International Executive Director Jessica Newman, herself a former grand prix show jumping competitor. “Arezzo was one of the first shows that ever contacted me about organizing a JustWorld fundraiser. It is exciting to see how loyal they have remained to our cause, and that they have kept up so much support and enthusiasm over the years.”
JustWorld International has worked to bring together the equestrian community and others with the goal of improving the lives of desperately poor children in the developing world. With show jumping riders around the world signing up to become JustWorld Rider Ambassadors, Newman has mobilized some of the sport's biggest names towards supporting JustWorld’s projects sites.
Through donations of prize money or proceeds from clinics, volunteering at the JustWorld International events and project sites, or simply by telling people about JustWorld's projects, these riders have chosen to make a difference by competing . . . with a purpose. With many of the Rider Ambassadors wearing the JustWorld signature blue jacket every time they go in the ring, as well as other JustWorld horse and rider apparel, JustWorld is at the forefront of the equestrian stage.
For more information about JustWorld International, or to find out how you can become a sponsor or a rider ambassador, please visit www.justworldinternational.org or contact Executive Director Jessica Newman at email@example.com.
Founded in 2002, JustWorld International raises awareness and funds in the equestrian community to support humanitarian projects that benefit impoverished communities and children in the developing world. Cooperating with local partners, JustWorld International implements sustainable, culturally sensitive education, health and vocational projects and currently has project sites in Brazil, Cambodia, Guatemala, Honduras, and Senegal. For more information on JustWorld International and its upcoming fundraising events, please visit www.justworldinternational.org.
Photos: Mia Crocetti-Marzotto, Matteo Guinti and Elena Mariottini organized a fundraising event for JustWorld International at the Arezzo Equestrian Centre in Italy.
Participants in the Matteo Guinti clinic to benefit JustWorld International at the Arezzo Equestrian Center in Italy.