Grassroots Funding Helps Make a Difference; KEEP is Working to Grow Horse Industry
RELEASE: November 1, 2007
AUTHOR/ADMINISTRATOR: By Gene Clabes
The Kentucky Equine Education Project (KEEP) reported that it has funded 503 horse-related organizations and their activities across Kentucky over the past three years totaling $352,627. KEEP created this local funding program as part of its grassroots efforts to help horse organizations around the state. The grants program is divided into four categories: 4-H clubs, horse shows, equine associations and equine education programs at Kentucky colleges and universities. Each category has a funding limit and specific criteria applicants must meet to be considered.
“This is a true example of horse people helping each other,” said Patrick Neely, KEEP Executive Director. “A portion of monies collected from our membership dues is set aside each year for our grassroots committee to use as seed money to help organizations grow their events and programs and put new programs in place with the one common goal—grow Kentucky’s horse industry. I’m proud to say this is working.”
Here are just a few examples of how KEEP’s seed money has been used and how it is working.
Northern Kentucky Horse Network—This group began in 2006 and has received a total of $3,000 from KEEP. This group serves horse enthusiasts and owners in Boone, Kenton and Campbell counties and has already grown to several hundred members. It puts on clinics and workshops for horse owners, serves as a resource center for horse information in the area and is instrumental in fundraising and opening a new trail system in Northern Kentucky for riders. In the future the group hopes to expand into several other Northern Kentucky counties.
Wolfe County 4-H Program—In late 2006, KEEP was asked, “How do I start a 4-H Horse Program?” by some people in Wolfe County. The county didn’t have a 4-H agent so KEEP worked with them on this project. The group has received $800 in funding and has grown to 15 active kids in just a short amount of time. It’s putting on horse shows, organizing trail rides and hosting clinics.
Trail Riding Equestrians in Kentucky (TREK)—KEEP helped this organization get off the ground with a small grant of $500 in January 2006. The group is growing strong and KEEP continues to help them put on the annual Trail Riding Summit and supports them in their efforts to maintain and open new trails in Kentucky.
“Our funding has helped start programs for children that would not otherwise have been exposed to a horse, and it has helped bring together horse enthusiasts for networking and continuing education opportunities,” said Neely. “These funds have also helped grow horse shows that are great economic generators for local communities and have helped breed organizations grow their organizations. All in all, our grassroots funding program has far exceeded what we ever imagined, and we have no plans of stopping.”
KEEP was created in May 2004 to promote and protect Kentucky’s horse industry. For more information on KEEP, visit www.horseswork.com