Florida Thoroughbred Charities has been the charity/fundraising arm of Florida Thoroughbred Breeders and Owners Association since 1990, raising more than $3.5 million for organizations in the thoroughbred community, city of Ocala, Marion County, and the state. The FTC primarily funds the Second Chances Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation — the only female inmate program that gives women a chance to learn and develop equine skills for employment after their release. It’s a fantastic program that offers real hope and opportunity for a new beginning in these women’s lives, with specialized, unique skills. Those skills position them in demand for viable jobs in this horse-loving community and give them not only vocational training, but also life skills and confidence as productive, independent and empowered members of the community following their release.
Quite a few members of our Showcase team are avid — and excellent golfers, many of whom live in golfing communities — so it was a bonus to be able to participate in and support this event while also enjoying one of their favorite sports. It was a fun weekend seeing friends and colleagues, enjoying some great food and gameplay, and relaxing on the patio with live music, all for a very worthy cause.
In a recent piece, we introduced you to Elevation 89 restaurant at the Ocala International Airport, and we had an absolute blast at their Grand Opening party on October 21. The finished space looks amazing, and Chris, Rondo and their incredible team threw a party, going all-out with a creative, mouth-watering buffet, while bartenders served the Friday-ready patrons who came to show support. And there were a lot of people there; it almost felt as if the entire town of Ocala showed up to cheer them on and raise a few thousand dollars for Kimberly’s Center for Child Protection — an organization that works in conjunction with the Department of Children and Families as well as local law enforcement to provide a safe environment, therapy care, and other resources for children recovering from abuse.
We went back the next day to sample the regular menu — we highly recommend the burger and the absolutely sublime Parmesan-and-oil dusted fries, which we feel should become legendary — and which we gleefully consumed while watching airplanes land and take off into a perfect autumn sky. All things considered, it wasn’t a bad day at the office, and we have a sneaking feeling our copywriter now views it as something of a second office.
It was Showcase’s turn the next day, October 22. Supporters and friends went all out donating to our “Evening of Hope” event with the Ocala Royal Dames to raise money for cancer research. This is a disease that has, inexorably, affected nearly everyone on the planet in one way or another; either you’ve battled cancer yourself, or someone you know has lived — or sadly, died — with it. Certainly everyone at Showcase has felt the impact, so this event was really important to us, and it meant a lot that so many people felt the same way.
So many friends, colleagues, and clients donated items for the auction baskets, to the point where we literally had to move the operation into a separate office to organize and prepare them. We don’t have enough words to express our thanks and appreciation; the tables were under threat of collapse from the sheer weight of generosity. Many thanks to: