A compelling story of how a young girl found a loving family through adoption and now works to provide the same comfort and stability to retired Thoroughbreds won top honors in the Thoroughbred Charities of America's Third Annual Youth Essay Contest.
Spring DeFranco, 14, of Ontario, N.Y., made her connection to Thoroughbreds as a volunteer with Finger Lakes Thoroughbred Adoption Program in Farmington. Because the FLTAP is the subject of DeFranco's essay, the organization will receive a grant of $1,000 from the TCA.
"We would like to thank all of the contestants who shared their personal experiences with us," said Erin Crady, executive director of TCA. "Each essay was a unique glimpse into the tremendous work that our grant recipients undertake each day and the impact that they have on horses and humans alike."
The contest was open to recipients of services, volunteers, supporters or any one, 18 years of age or younger, that has been impacted by an organization that received a grant from TCA in 2015. To participate, contestants submitted an essay containing a minimum of 300 words and a maximum of 600 words, describing how a TCA grant recipient has affected his or her life.
Essays were judged by select TCA board members and Blood-Horse staff on whether they made a compelling and passionate argument, on grammar, vocabulary and style, neatness and adherence to contest rules.
TCA distributes grants to several categories of Thoroughbred-related nonprofits including retirement, rehabilitation and adoption organizations; backstretch and farm employee programs; therapeutic riding programs; and research organizations. Since its inception in 1990, TCA has granted over $21 million to more than 200 charities that successfully meet the criteria set forth in its annual grant application.