Helping to Build a Solid Foundation for the Thoroughbred Industry
by Adrian Buchan
Last year, I was invited to join the board of the Washington Thoroughbred Foundation. I was honored by the consideration, and having an understanding of the important work the Foundation conducts, I didn’t hesitate to say yes. Pragmatically, I knew it was important to have an Emerald Downs employee on the board to help facilitate both the collection and dispersal of funds. What I didn’t know when I agreed to participate on the board was the long, philanthropic history of the organization.
The Washington Thoroughbred Foundation was founded around 1960. At the time, there was no HBPA, so the WTF provided benevolence to horsemen in need. Things like burial plots and expenses or even basic needs like wood or coal for heating. Horsemen have always answered the call to help fellow horsemen in need, and the Washington Thoroughbred Foundation was one of the first organized attempts to provide structure for these altruistic efforts.
When the WTBOA and WHBPA split into two separate entities, the WHBPA took over the benevolence duties and the WTF went dormant for a period of time.
Eventually the Foundation started to become active again, and since the opening of Emerald Downs, the Foundation has played a vital role in much of our industry’s charitable efforts:
I have had the pleasure of working directly with the last two beneficiaries on the list, and the Foundation’s support has been crucial. The Prodigious Fund has received generous funding, providing financial support to organizations and individuals that actively transition retired racehorses in the State of Washington to new homes and new careers with qualified adopters.
The Foundation’s support of the Emerald Downs internship program has allowed us to staff a seasonal worker in our media relations department. For the past few years, that individual has been Jacob Pollowitz, a racing fan essentially from birth, and a very talented writer, handicapper and public speaker to boot. Jacob has spent countless hours in the stable area and on the phone digging up the outstanding stories you have read in our program and website. These stories are also pitched to area news outlets, helping garner some of the strongest local media support for horseracing in the nation. How many horseracing markets in the country have local television stations previewing weekend stakes action? This year he also took on hosting duties for interviews with the winning connections of feature races when Joe Withee was busy with “Emerald Downs Live” on Comcast SportsNet. He has filled in admirably to say the least, providing a fresh, young perspective on our sport.
Programs such as these exemplify the importance of continuing the work of the Foundation. However, any fundraising, given the current economic climate, is a tough proposition. In 2012, we hope to roll out some new initiatives to support the Foundation. We also are asking anyone involved in the horse racing industry to consider making a donation to the Washington Thoroughbred Foundation.
What Can You Do?
- Make a donation today. The Washington Thoroughbred Foundation is a tax-exempt 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation. Our address is PO Box 1499, Auburn, WA 98071-1499.
- Consider planned giving, such as a bequest
- Purchase art! A portion of proceeds from Equine Art 2012, held next July at Emerald Downs, will generate funds for the Foundation.
Give the Gift of Giving
For more information, contact the Washington Thoroughbred Breeders and Owners Association at (253) 288-7878; e-mail email@example.com; or address to PO Box 1499, Auburn, WA 98071-1499.
Adrian Buchan is former director of marketing at Emerald Downs.
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