2021 Great Charity Challenge Presented by Fidelity Investments® Joins Forces with United Way of Palm Beach County to Amplify Impact in Palm Beach County

Wellington, FL – January 22, 2021 – Scheduled to take place on Saturday, February 6, 2021 at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center (PBIEC), the 2021 Great Charity Challenge (GCC) presented by Fidelity Investments® plans to distribute an additional $1 million to local nonprofit organizations.

The GCC, founded during the financial crisis in 2008 by the father/daughter team of Mark and Paige Bellissimo, was created to support emerging needs in neighboring communities by increasing funding to local nonprofit organizations. To date, the exciting show jumping competition that blends equestrian sport and philanthropy has raised and distributed $14.8 million to 256 charities.

While the GCC has been extremely blessed by the generous support of the equestrian community, the current settings surrounding COVID-19 warrant the event to extend its reach and partner with local change agents in the hopes of creating a broader impact during these challenging times.

Photo Credit: Equestrian Sport Productions

With a shared vision that “change is almost impossible without industry-wide collaboration, cooperation and consensus” (Simon Mainwaring), the Great Charity Challenge presented by Fidelity Investments® is joining forces with a champion in the community: United Way of Palm Beach County.

“United Way of Palm Beach County’s response to COVID-19 was nothing short of spectacular. Their ability to mobilize the community in such a short amount of time while supporting partnered agencies made us realize that our efforts could be complementary,” commented GCC Executive Director Anne Caroline Valtin.

Recognized as the county’s official partner to collect donations for impacted communities during COVID-19, United Way of Palm Beach County’s response fund has supported 85 partner agencies since the onset of the pandemic. Its mission is to ensure that everyone in Palm Beach County has access to the basics: a quality education, a place to live, financial stability, good medical care, and enough to eat.

“Local nonprofits continue to be the safety net for our community during this time. We are thrilled to partner with the Great Charity Challenge presented by Fidelity Investments® to support nonprofits who are providing critical services to people in Palm Beach County,” says Dr. Laurie George, President & CEO of United Way of Palm Beach County.

This new partnership with United Way will enable the event to accept online donations for the first time, in the hopes of raising additional funds to support local charities.

“Experts in all fields agree that the lasting effects of COVID-19 will be felt for months and years to come,” added GCC co-founder Mark Bellissimo. “We are in a unique and privileged position to be able to host the Winter Equestrian Festival safely here in Wellington, Florida, this winter. We are very grateful that United Way is joining forces and responding to the GCC’s approach of focusing on COVID-19 Relief and Recovery.”

Photo Credit: Lois Spatz

We invite you to join this community effort – a true tribute that we are #StrongerTogether by making a donation at https://unitedwaypbc.org/gcc/ or texting Give2GCC to 41444.

Organizations who have been pre-selected will virtually meet their paired equestrian teams and sponsors to receive a share of the $1+ million purse. To follow CDC guidelines and to prevent the spread of COVID-19, event updates will be shared via the event website: www.greatcharitychallenge.com as well as our social media pages: Facebook and Instagram. The event will be live streamed, starting at 6:40PM, at www.PBIEC.com.


About Fidelity Investments: Fidelity’s mission is to inspire better futures and deliver better outcomes for the customers and businesses we serve. With assets under administration of $9.5 trillion, including discretionary assets of $3.7 trillion as of November 30, 2020, we focus on meeting the unique needs of a diverse set of customers: helping more than 32 million people invest their own life savings, 22,000 businesses manage employee benefit programs, as well as providing more than 13,500 institutions with investment and technology solutions to invest their own clients’ money. Privately held for more than 70 years, Fidelity employs more than 47,000 associates who are focused on the long-term success of our customers. For more information about Fidelity Investments, visit https://www.fidelity.com/about-fidelity/our-company.

About United Way of Palm Beach County: For over 90 years, United Way of Palm Beach County has been the local leader dedicated to identifying and addressing critical community issues to improve the lives of our residents.  We champion community change by strategically uniting key stakeholders and community leaders and investing in successful, sustainable nonprofits. United Way funds 100 local programs and initiatives that provide lasting solutions and measurable results – from increasing graduation rates and supporting literacy to ensuring financial independence, promoting healthy lifestyles and ending hunger. When you support United Way of Palm Beach County, you are strengthening your community. To learn more, call 561.375.6600 or visit www.UnitedWayPBC.org.

About the Winter Equestrian Festival: The Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF), known as the “Winter Equestrian Capital of the World,” is the world’s largest and longest running equestrian festival in the world, located in Wellington, Florida. The equestrian industry adds more than $100 million to Palm Beach County’s economy each year and provides more 900 jobs for the area. WEF is the proving ground for the Olympic Equestrian sport of show jumping, as well as for the sport of dressage at the Adequan® Global Dressage Festival. WEF is run by Equestrian Sport Productions, which also operates the International Polo Club Palm Beach. For more information on WEF, please visit www.PBIEC.com.