A Desire to Give and A Dream Realized to Create Change in our World

On this day Banzai Wellness Magazine found them at the Red Apple Supplies Store in Riviera Beach reaching out and connecting with James Gavrilos the president and CEO of the Education Foundation of Palm Beach County. Paige Bellissimo and Anne Caroline Valtin are Millennial social activists changing the world one place and one person at a time, creating change through supporting charities:delivering dreams through determination.
In 2011 their paths collided after Anne Caroline’s travel as a national sales rep for equestrian products brought her to Wellington. At the time, considering a career change into the non-profit sector, Anne Caroline recalled an initial visit to the Winter Equestrian Festival where she experienced the very first Great Charity Challenge.
“To say that I was ‘star struck’ would be an understatement,” Anne Caroline exclaimed. “Great Charity Challenge, {GCC} was a calling to my heart. Through hard work and true passion, the Bellissimo family and Wellington Equestrian Partners gave me the opportunity to assist them with the development of this amazing event.”
For years Anne Caroline worked with Equestrian Sport Productions, helping turn the Winter Equestrian Festival at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center into one of the largest and most successful equestrian venues in the industry. But even before then in the back of her mind she felt as though she had a bigger calling, “I should be doing something more, something else, that nothing was ever enough.”
“The Great Charity Challenge was truly the “re-enlightenment” of that calling,” Anne Caroline affirmed. “Working
directly with generous sponsors, as well as hundreds of non-profits who have benefited from the event, has shined light on how amazing humanity is. “The riders who compete all in the name of charity are true representatives of sportsmanship.” In 2014 she decided to take another leap of faith and began her own consulting business Anne Caroline Inc., combining her marketing, event planning and  public relations expertise with building relationships between businesses and non-profit organizations. Her clients include Danny & Ron’s Rescue, International Equestrian Group, Just World , Paillot Equestrian, The World Equestrian Games(Tryon,2018) as well as her paramount passion project as the Executive Director for Great Charity Challenge.
When asked who inspires her, Anne Caroline is quick to reply. “There have been several highly influential individuals along the way who have shaped my views and ways to give,” she said. “From individuals who are highly educated on the subject and were willing to share some of their knowledge to those who give with an open heart and give it their 100 percent.”

On her list of inspiring individuals is her confidant and colleague Paige Bellissimo. “Her enthusiasm and philanthropic spirit drive you to do greater things than you could have imagined.” In 2010 Paige and her father, (Mark Bellissimo) paired their passion for doing good with the love of equestrian sports and created Great Charity Challenge, pairing sponsors with randomly selected non-profits. Riders then compete in a relay race representing organizations that are selected through a lottery system and the winning team presents their charity with a $150,000 check while last place is still guaranteed a minimum of $15,000. So far, GCC has distributed $10.8 million to over 220 local nonprofit organizations.

“The Great Charity Challenge was created at a time when the local and national economies were struggling and the wonderful organizations that diligently serve our local community were really suffering,” Paige recalled.
“Our goal was to create a community centric event that engaged families from Palm Beach County and encouraged the equestrian community to support the incredible organizations that serve here. My father and I envisioned a concept which we thought would be enjoyed from a spectator standpoint while engaging the equestrian community in an immersive way where they would feel the direct impact of their contributions.” Paige felt inspired even as a student at St. Andrews High School before going onto Boston College to complete her degree in Economics and Communication with a focus on Management and Leadership.

“Here in South Florida there are the most staggering wealth gaps in the United States, creating a significant burden on our education system as well as the many organizations and families who struggle to make ends meet. It’s so important to empower the organizations that support families because they provide a catalyst for these communities to address important issues at hand and bring awareness to the importance of education and other vital resources available to them. The inspiration driving the GCC since its inception is supporting organizations and individuals who continue operating with innovative new ways to help our community, where the ultimate goal is to see a commitment to lasting change.”
Together, Anne Caroline, Paige and the Bellissimo family have turned Great Charity Challenge into the perfect
recipe for charitable giving. A tradition that continues to give so much to our community.
“We invite you to join us for this exciting event and may your urge to make a difference be (re) kindled.”
SAVE THE DATE: Saturday, February 3, 2018 One Community – One Night – $1.5 million to charity 8 years: $10.8 million awarded to over 220 Palm Beach County Non-Profit Organizations at the PBIEC Winter Equestrian Festival located at 3400 Equestrian Club Rd., Wellington, FL. For more information please visit
Anne Caroline’s Advice to Those Looking to give back:
“You know how we wait for a “sign” to get started? Well, if you are reading this right now and telling yourself you’d like to do something good, something that you can be proud of and something that you know will help someone (or something); HERE IS YOUR SIGN! I’ve been asked numerous times, from individuals of all ages and walks of life, how they can make a difference.”There are 5 easy steps to get you started:
1. Identify what “speaks to you”. There are amazing non-profit organizations everywhere in this country! Which ones are appealing to you? Which ones make you want to get up and do something? This is a very personal question and there aren’t any “wrong answers”. Whether you feel passionate about veterans, cancer patients, dog rescues, youth development or foster care, those are all right answers.
2. Find organizations that fall under this criteria. Google can be your best friend, along with social media and word of mouth. Ask your friends, colleagues, do some quick research online – you’re almost there.
3. Go visit the place and meet the individuals before committing your time. Volunteering/assisting should be a positive experience; if for any reason you don’t feel comfortable in a situation, move on to the next option.
4. Find out what they need, and see how you can help! That’s an important one, and one which we all assume we will do. But let me just saw that we’ve seen more often times than not, instances where individuals go in to help “their way”. They are only willing to do X and Y, don’t believe in some aspects of a mission, etc . This is all fine but we ask for you to please be honest, with yourself as well as the organization in question. Be honest
about the time you have available, your dedication to the cause, etc.
5. Be willing to “learn”! You never know where your new found enthusiasm for a cause will lead you.

From left to right: Noah Zaidspiner, Paige Bellissimo, Chelsea Lasater (Fidelity Investments®), Scott Glinski (Palm Beach County Sports Commission ) Katherine and Mark Bellissimo, Wellington Mayor Anne Gerwig, and with their children: Vice Mayor John T. McGovern, Council Members Tanya Lee Siskind and Michael Napoleone — with Noah Zaidspiner , Paige Bellissimo, Mayor Anne Gerwig , Michelle Oyola McGovern, John T. McGovern, Tanya Lee Siskind, Michael Napoleone and Palm Beach County Sports Commission at Palm Beach International Equestrian Center.

We hope to see you at The Great Charity Challenge… “A DESIRE to give and a DREAM realized to create CHANGE in our world.”Join us Saturday, February 3, 2018 at 6 PM for the ninth annual Great Charity Challenge presented by Fidelity Investments® (GCC).To view a list of the selected non-profit organizations, please click here or visit:
FREE GENERAL ADMISSION AND PARKING:13500 South-shore Blvd. Wellington, FL 33414
Lois Spatz of LS Photos & PR Services, LLC
Paige Bellissimo (Co-Founder of GCC), Anne Caroline Valtin ,Red Apple Supplies Education Foundation  of PBC

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