It’s hard to believe that the 2015 season at Saratoga Race Course has already come and gone. During what was an undoubtedly successful 40 days, NYRA hosted a total of 40 local non-profit organizations during the meet.
Most of the non-profit organizations were hosted in the Community Outreach Booth. There, each organization was given the opportunity to interact with the thousands of guests who visit the track daily through fundraising initiatives. Additionally, each organization was highlighted on the video boards throughout the day, as well as included in the day’s Post Parade program with a full-page profile.
Saratoga Springs-based men’s singing group Racing City Chorus employed one of the more creative approaches at the Booth. They performed barbershop style songs for track guests in return for donations as part of the Saratoga Centennial Day celebration on Wednesday, August 5.
“What a fabulous day, we had a great day,” said Jerry Crouth, stated in a press release, “It was very successful from a fundraising standpoint, but even more so from the amount of publicity that we got for our organization.”
In conjunction with the 88th running of the Whitney on Saturday, August 8, NYRA welcomed the Capital Region chapter of the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve Toys for Tots Foundation to the Community Outreach Booth. U.S. Marines collected toys and hundreds of dollars in donations for its upcoming annual holiday toy drive. They returned to continue their fundraising efforts as part of Military Appreciation Day on Wednesday, September 2.
Trainer Todd Pletcher and jockey Javier Castellano made a special appearance at on Saturday, August 16 in support of the St. Baldrick’s Foundation.
Jockey Kendrick Carmouche, the first African-American to ride regularly at Saratoga in recent memory, also greeted fans and signed autographs at the Community Outreach Booth with a donation to Saratoga Springs-based organization Dyer-Phelps on Wednesday, August 19.
On Friday, August 28, NYRA hosted a food drive at the Community Outreach Booth to benefit the Saratoga Economic Opportunity Council, Inc. (EOC). Guests who donated three non-perishable food items to the Saratoga County EOC received a free commemorative poster of New York-bred champion and Spa favorite Funny Cide in conjunction with New York Showcase Day.
Following the 146th running of the Travers, racing fans were invited to have their photo taken with the official trophy of the Mid-Summer Derby, the Man O’ War Cup, with a donation to the Capital District YMCA on Monday, August 31. Jerry Crawford, founder and president of Donegal Racing, the ownership group of 2015 Travers winner Keen Ice, greeted fans at the Community Outreach Booth throughout the afternoon.
On Friday, September 4, five thoroughbred aftercare charities appeared at the Community Outreach Booth as part of their ongoing partnership for the sixth annual Run for the Horses 5K. Each of the organizations which benefit from the road race had representatives at the track, including ACCT Naturally, Heading for Home, Old Friends at Cabin Creek, ReRun, Inc., and the Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation.
Other non-profit organizations which participated at the Community Outreach Booth include: Backstretch Education Fund; Backstretch Employee Service Team; Christie’s Heartoberfest; FloydWarriors.com; The Giving Circle; Habitat for Humanity; Junior League of Schenectady and Saratoga Counties; Knights of Columbus; Ladies of Charity Saratoga; The Lustgarten Foundation; Opera Saratoga; Permanently Disabled Jockeys Fund; Racetrack Chaplaincy of New York; Read Lead Achieve; Saratoga Bridges; Saratoga Rowing Association; Saratoga Senior Center; Saratoga WarHorse; Siena College Athletics; Troy Boys & Girls Club; and United Way of the Capital Region.
Congratulations to all the non-profits and volunteers who successfully raised funds and awareness for their causes. We hope 2016 will bring even more fundraising opportunities!