Thirteen children of full-time equestrian workers are pursuing higher education this year with the help of the Equestrian Workers Education Relief Fund. To date, 735 annual scholarships totaling $1,631,623 have been awarded since the Fund’s inception in 1996. Scholarships are awarded for post-high school education or vocational training and are based on financial need, merit, biographical essays and personal interviews. Grants are also available for full-time workers at Central Kentucky horse farms for horse-related courses or training to help them become more proficient and efficient while working with thoroughbred horses.
A current recipient, Jesus Perez, also distinguished himself as a Pollard Scholar at the University of Kentucky.
STUDENTS AND SCHOOLS:
Olivia Bryant – University of Kentucky
Jacob Compton – University of Kentucky
Tania Godina – BCTC*
Jayden Hamilton – Midway U.
Alexis Laytart – BCTC*
Anna Martinez – University of Transylvania.
Flora Martinez – University of Northern Kentucky
Karina Meza – University of Kentucky
Richard Osborn – Bellarmine U.
Jesus Perez – University of Kentucky
Kathryn Reams – University of Eastern Kentucky
Katie Thurman – Bellarmine U.
Reagan Toothaker – Thomas More U.
* Bluegrass Community and Technical College
Farms represented by scholarship holders:
Parents qualifying as scholars are employed full-time by one of the following Central Kentucky Thoroughbred farms: Ashview Farm, Betz Thoroughbreds, Godolphin (5), Hermitage, Rose Hill Farm, Spendthrift Farm (2), and Westbrook Stables.
The Fund was founded in 1996 by Rob Whiteley of Liberation Farm, Tom Evans of Trackside Farm and Fred Seitz of Brookdale Farm.
Message from Tom Evans, Chair: “In pursuit of their dreams, many of our Scholars work 20 or more hours per week at one or two jobs while completing a full course load. Our main objective is to allocate enough money so that they can concentrate on their studies and make school their number one priority without incurring
enormous burden of long-term student debt. Investing in these young people is also investing in industry. Many of our scholarship recipients after successfully completing their studies have returned to pursue careers in the Thoroughbred industry. Several have already distinguished themselves (including a race director on a major North American circuit). Many who have chosen careers outside of industry have made their mark as professionals in nursing, education, social work, theology and business.
“The Fund is run on a voluntary basis and over 95% of donor funds go to scholarship recipients,” Evans continued. “We are grateful to all the contributors who have so generously supported and appreciated this remarkable group of young scholars. Over the years, we have received significant contributions from the Carl Pollard Foundation, the Kentucky Thoroughbred Farm Managers Club, Kentucky Thoroughbred owners and breeders, the Hilary Boone Foundation, KTA, Fasig TiptonKeeneland, Darley and Godolphin, Thoroughbred Charities of America, WT Young, William Marquard, Race for Education, Hill ‘n’ Dale Farm, Crafty Prospector Union, Gus Koch Memorial Donors, and many other individual donors.
According to co-founder Whiteley, “These academics and parents are an industry treasure. Farm workers are the backbone of the ranching industry and therefore the foundation of the entire thoroughbred industry. The parents of these scholars instilled an incredible work ethic in their children. Year after year, these exceptional young people impress the Commission with their abilities, motivation, energy, enthusiasm and accomplishments. In many cases, our scholars are the first in their families to pursue secondary education; and some could not continue their studies without our financial assistance.
Board members include: President Tom Evans of Trackside Farm; Vice President Dan Pride of Godolphin; Secretary Judge Wilson of Berea College; treasurer Mary Ryan, educator and rider; Rob Whiteley of Liberation Farm; Stu Pollard, educator and filmmaker; and Chet Blackey, DVM. Carl Pollard acts as an advisor to the Board of Directors. Muffy Stuart coordinates the Fund and provides personal communications, advice and support to our Fellows throughout the year.
DONATIONS AND APPLICATIONS:
The Fund is a 501(c)3 organization. Tax-deductible contributions may be made by the
Outgoing checks should be addressed to:
2938 Four Pines Drive, Lexington, KY 40502.
Applications are available in March with a July 1 deadline, followed by personal interviews with
table. Requests can be made at 859 269-1719. Additional information and a short video are
available on the website.