Good morning friends!
It’s a delightfully rainy Thursday AM here in Saratoga, a perfect setting for a less hurried post (day 2 of 2) – despite the fact that my Mac is acting up so I am typing on my phone. So, here we are!
I think I am going to share the Maven and Magpie blog on FB soon (gulp!), and perhaps use that as my distribution mechanism (at least for a while). With that in mind and because the timing seems right to do so, I am going to step back and set the stage for where we are in our journey – Maven & Magpie pretty much settled in and shifting into full gear here in Saratoga. Not so much the “how did we get here”, but the “what are we doing up here” for folks who may just be joining us now – and also to lay a bit more solid foundation for the stories & snippets that will follow.
Perhaps the Q & A approach might make this easier to structure…
Question #1 – what is the Magpie up to job-wise?
Kim’s role is Director of Major Gifts and Planned Giving for the Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation (TRF). She started on May 1st and to say this job is a dream come true is an absolute understatement. The specific objective for this role is to develop and solicit large dollar gifts (over $10K) for the lifelong sanctuary we provide to our herd of 750 horses, and the many more we will save over the years ahead.
Question #2 – so what is the TRF exactly?
Here’s our mission:
Since 1983, the mission of the Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation has been to save thoroughbred horses no longer able to compete on the racetrack from possible neglect, abuse and slaughter.
The TRF was founded 35 years ago by a group of women (yay!) who cared passionately for the horses at the heart of the racing industry. I had the opportunity to go to our flagship farm at the Wallkill Correctional Facility (aka prison) with one of our superstar board members last week, Maggie Wolfendale-Morley, who is an analyst for NYRA and who brought her cameraman to film a segment on the TRF/ Second Chances program. See photos below! By way of further introduction of the TRF, here are the speaking points that I prepared for that video:
- 35 Years Ago the Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation was founded by a handful of visionary, forward-looking and dedicated individuals who cared about the horses and were active within the racing industry. These individuals included Penny Chenery, the owner of Secretariat, and Allair Dupont, the owner of Kelso. They were led by a woman named Monique Koehler, an animal lover and marketing executive, who saw the plight of horses after their racing days had ended and jumped in to start addressing the systemic issue with the industry. These women, with many others, devoted their energies and their focus was on providing for the long term welfare of the race horses after their racing careers had ended. Together they created the first charitable organization devoted to thoroughbred aftercare, they gave generously of their resources and worked tirelessly to raise funds to create a sustainable and scalable organization that would provide a safe haven for horses whose careers had come to an end.
- In 1983, the Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation was founded with the express mission of saving Thoroughbred horses no longer able to compete on the racetrack from possible neglect, abuse and slaughter. In 1984 the first horse, named Promised Road, arrived at the TRF Second Chances Program at Wallkill Correctional Facility. Since then more than 400 horses have found a safe and peaceful retirement at Wallkill.
- Today, the Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation is the largest TAA (Thoroughbred Aftercare Alliance) accredited charity providing lifetime sanctuary to Thoroughbred racehorses no longer able to run. The TRF herd of 750 horses live in farms located in 12 states, from New York, Kentucky, Maryland, Virginia, Florida and California, and 8 of those farms are Second Chances programs located at Correctional Facilities where the horses serve as teachers in vocational programs for the inmates. The TRF is proud to play a specific and important role in the community of thoroughbred aftercare by providing sanctuary to horses who cannot be retrained for new, athletic careers. Together the aftercare community is working to provide the best possible life for these beautiful animals when their racing days are done.
- On behalf of the TRF, I wish to thank every individual who has supported our work for the horses over these 35 years with their time, talent and financial resources, with your continued support we look forward to a long and bright future ahead. We are celebrate every individual and organization who has done the right thing for the horses over the years, by caring for these beautiful animals when their days at the track have come to an end.
Question #3 – so what exactly are you doing (are you really working)?
While I’ve spent the first couple of months in my role learning alot from our staff and board members, and planning a number of new outreach initiatives, my whole orientation for the next 7 weeks is outward facing – meeting as many people as possible through our TRF events, media outreach, going to the backstretch in the morning and going to the races, while “everyone who’s anyone” is in town. The racing season began here for the summer meet on Friday, July 20th and with it a whole new routine!
Much more to share, but I’ll finish for now with the flurry of media opportunities I’ve fallen into this week – feeling very, very fortunate to have friends who find our Maven & Magpie story interesting and who think it somewhat “newsworthy” to have me tell our tale, and in so doing, raise awareness of the TRF. To that end, I found myself on the set of the Capital OTB “Racing Across America” television show this week, thanks to an invitation by my friend Seth Merrow (the host) and Teresa Genaro (who helps him book guests). I was on Monday AM and then again as a pinch hitter on Wednesday – what fun! I also anticipate an article in the Daily Gazette this week, thanks to good friend Mike MacAdam. I’ll share that when it runs.
Here are the links to my TV appearances (crazy!!):
Monday, July 23 (start at 24:00): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sFtTmVn001M&t=116s
Wednesday, July 25 (start at 56:00): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3wSHCl2MOQ0&t=149s
Thank you for all your kind support & I promise to share the Maven’s story soon!