Gladstone, NJ -As Para Dressage riders are training and preparing for the 2014 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games, The Jonathan Wentz Memorial Challenge for High Performance Para Dressage continues to gain momentum and bring in new pledges, having raised $585,000 towards the $800,000 goal.
The United States Equestrian Team Foundation announced the new fundraising initiative in April, which has been made possible through the generosity of Margaret H. Duprey and The Barnfield Foundation. The purpose of this Challenge is to establish a base of funding for each of the next four years, which will provide for a High Performance program that will include training sessions, coaching and international competition opportunities leading up to and including the 2016 Paralympics in Rio de Janeiro.
Duprey and The Barnfield Foundation have each pledged up to $200,000 and will match, dollar for dollar, every gift commitment of $4,000 and above made by April 1, 2015. Just as an example, a gift of $5,000 will provide $15,000 in funding with the match.
The initial response has been encouraging and generous. Parents, trainers and philanthropists have all come forward and pledged their support to help these athletes in their quest to represent the United States on the world stage.
Heather Blitz, an alternate for the 2012 London Olympics Dressage team knows what it takes to compete at the highest levels of equestrian sport, and she was eager to be a part of The Jonathan Wentz Memorial Challenge for High Performance Para Dressage.
"It's hard not to contribute when Margaret Duprey and the Barnfield Foundation have offered to match two dollars for ever dollar," explained Blitz. "It's very generous of them, and it's very necessary for the Para riders to develop a stronger program. I have a Para student now, and I am learning more about the sport and what they need. I wanted to help, and this presented a wonderful opportunity."
The two for one match from Margaret H. Durprey and The Barnfield Foundation has made this Challenge an opportunity that everyone will hopefully consider. A gift of $10,000, payable over four years for $5,000 a year, will provide $30,000 in funding. The USET Foundation hopes to meet its goal before the end of this year, so that the Para Dressage program will have the funding available for programs in 2015.
Bonnie B. Jenkins, USET Foundation Executive Director said, "Without the commitment of Margaret and The Barnfield Foundation as well as the incredible individuals who have come forward, none of this would be happening. On behalf of the USET Foundation and the athletes who will benefit I extend my sincere appreciation and thanks to those who have already made a pledge: Margaret H. Duprey, The Barnfield Foundation, Janet Richardson-Pearson, Cauleen Glass, Gwynne McDevitt, Becky Reno and Ed Peavy, Heather Blitz, Annis Buell, Nancy and Bob Peavy, Sarah and Nicholas Armentrout and Deecie McNelly Denison".
The Jonathan Wentz Memorial Challenge for High Performance Para Dressage will require extraordinary commitment and the support of those in the equestrian community who love the sport and desire to see our athletes, both equine and human, compete and win at the highest levels of international competition.
For more information on the USET Foundation and The Jonathan Wentz Memorial Challenge for High Performance Para Dressage, please call Bonnie B. Jenkins, Executive Director or Sara Ike, Major Gifts Officer at (908) 234-1251 or visit www.uset.org.