Wellington, FL – December 12, 2014 – Celebration was in the air at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center (PBIEC) on Saturday night, December 6, 2014. Families enjoyed the Wellington Chamber of Commerce’s Winterfest featuring musical performances by Vanilla Ice and The Voice’s Michaela Paige, exciting show jumping, and a great night of philanthropy where over 400 Palm Beach County charities applied for the chance to participate in the 2015 Great Charity Challenge (GCC) presented by Fidelity Investments®. To date, the event has distributed over $6.2 million to more than 100 Palm Beach County Charities.


2015 GCC Charity representatives at Winterfest. Photo © ManciniPhotos.

2015 GCC Charity representatives at Winterfest. Photo © ManciniPhotos.

The excitement level was high as 28 lucky charities were randomly drawn throughout the evening’s festivities. Event Founders, Mark Bellissimo along with his wife Katherine and daughter Paige, were assisted by Vanilla Ice, The Voice’s Michaela Paige, David Sacks (from Fidelity’s Palm Beach investor center), Mayor and Mrs. Margolis, Councilwoman Anne Gerwig, Michela Pirello-Green (Executive Director of the Wellington Chamber of Commerce), Dr. Randy Laurich (The Wellness Experience) and Rick and Sarah Mershad (Team Sponsors).


Katherine Bellissimo, Paige Bellissimo, Anne Caroline Valtin, Vanilla Ice, Mark Bellissimo, Mayor and Mrs. Margolis, Dr. Randy Laurich, John XX, and Michaela Paige. 2015 GCC Charity representatives at Winterfest. Photo © ManciniPhotos.

Katherine Bellissimo, Paige Bellissimo, Anne Caroline Valtin, Vanilla Ice, Mark Bellissimo, Mayor and Mrs. Margolis, Dr. Randy Laurich, Johnny Meier, and Michaela Paige. Photo © ManciniPhotos.

Mark Bellissimo, who founded the GCC with his daughter Paige, commented, “The GCC has truly become the signature event of our 12 week season. It is rare that you get the opportunity to touch so many lives in such a unique way. We hope that the event will become the legacy of our partnership and this facility.”

The GCC is an exciting pro-am show jumping event that brings together over 34 equestrian families and companies that each sponsor a team for $25,000 and $10,000 respectively. Each team is randomly assigned to compete for one of the 34 randomly selected charities and offers amateur riders the chance to compete side by side with their Olympic and world-class professional equestrian heroes and role models. With additional donations from local families, businesses, sponsors, vendors, exhibitors and spectators, the GCC is on track to exceed its $1.5 million fundraising goal. Prize money for these lucky charities will range from $150,000 to $15,000, to ensure that every charity is a winner.

PBIEC is also home to the Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF) which runs from January 7 to March 29, 2015, one of the largest and longest running horse show in the world. The PBIEC operating organization, Equestrian Sport Productions, donates the venue, its staff and infrastructure for this charitable event.

Mark your calendars for the 2015 GCC which will be held on Saturday February 7, 2015 at the PBIEC during WEF’s “Saturday Night Lights” series.

Paige Bellissimo, co-founder of the GCC, commented, “Our goal was to do something that was different and that involved horses and equal opportunity. We are excited for the 2015 GCC and look forward to introducing the sponsors and riders to their charities.”

The theme for this year’s event: Superheroes! After all, the true heroes in the community are the charities. The superheroes (the sponsors and riders) will fight to help their randomly assigned charity in accomplishing their missions.


2015 GCC Charity representatives at Winterfest. Photo © ManciniPhotos.

2015 GCC Charity representatives at Winterfest.

Future charity drawings will be held at the $125,000 Trump Invitational, presented by Rolex show jumping event at The Mar–a–Lago Club in Palm Beach on January 4, 2015, and two wild card teams will be drawn the night of the GCC on February 7, 2015.

Be sure to check out videos from last year’s emotional GCC:


The extended video shows how this event has touched thousands of lives:




Adopt a Family of the Palm Beaches

Alzheimer’s Community Care

American Association of Caregiving Youth

Big Brothers Big Sisters of Palm Beach County

Children’s Case Management DBA Families First of Palm Beach Counties

Communities in Schools

Connor Moran Children’s Cancer Foundation

Elizabeth Faulk Foundation- Faulk Center for Counseling

Family Promise of South Palm Beach County

First Care Family Resources

Helping Hands Assistance Programs

Jeff Industries

National Wheelchair Sports Fund

Vanilla Ice, Paige Bellissimo, Mark Bellissimo and Councilwoman Anne Gerwig loOasis Compassion Agency

Paws for Liberty


Restoration Bridge

The Arc of the Glades

Urban Youth Impact

Village of Hope

Wycliffe Charities Foundation


Blue Sky Foundation

Breaking the Chains

Christoper Aguirre Memorial Foundation

Equestrian Aid Foundation

Horses Healing Hearts

Kids Cancer Foundation

Wellington PTA/PTO/PTSA

For more information, please visit www.equestriansport.com and www.greatcharitychallenge.com
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About the Winter Equestrian Festival

The 2015 Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF) has 12 weeks of world-class competition running from January 7 through March 29. WEF is run by Equestrian Sport Productions and Wellington Equestrian Partners and held at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center in Wellington, FL. All 12 weeks are “AA” rated and Jumper Rated 6, with more than $8 million in prize money awarded.

About Fidelity Investments®

Fidelity’s goal is to make financial expertise broadly accessible and effective in helping people live the lives they want. With assets under administration of $5.0 trillion, including managed assets of $2.0 trillion as of October 31, 2014, we focus on meeting the unique needs of a diverse set of customers: helping 23 million people investing their own life savings, 20,000 businesses to manage their employee benefit programs, as well as providing 10,000 advisors and brokers with technology solutions to invest their own clients’ money. Privately held for nearly 70 years, Fidelity employs 41,000 associates who are focused on the long-term success of our customers. For more information about Fidelity Investments, visit www.fidelity.com.