Fifteen children of full-time horse farm workers are pursuing higher education this year with the assistance of the Horse Farm Workers' Educational Assistance Fund (HWEAF). To date, 722 annual scholarships totaling $1,595,044 have been awarded since the Fund's inception.
Scholarships are awarded for education or skill training after high school and are based upon financial need, merit, biographical essays and personal interviews. Scholarships are also available for full-time horse farm workers in central Kentucky who wish to take equine related training or courses to help them be more knowledgeable and effective while working with Thoroughbred horses.
Four recipients also distinguish themselves as Pollard Scholars at the University of Kentucky: Sarah Farrell, Lupe Macias, Jesus Perez, and Miguel Macias.
This year's scholars, and the schools they will attend, are:
Riley Alexander – Eastern KY U.
Olivia Bryant – U. of Kentucky
Caleb Carr – Transylvania U.
Jacob Compton – U. of Kentucky
Sarah Farrell – U. of Kentucky
Tania Godina – Bluegrass Community and Technical College
Jayden Hamilton – Midway U.
Lupe Macias – U. of Kentucky
Miguel Macias – U. of Kentucky
Anna Martinez – Transylvania U.
Flora Martinez – Northern KY U.
Karina Meza – U. of Kentucky
Richard Osborn – Bellarmine U.
Jesus Perez – U. of Kentucky
Caleb Reams – Asbury U.
Qualifying parents of scholars are employed full-time by one of the following central Kentucky Thoroughbred farms: Airdrie Stud, Ashview Farm, Godolphin USA (5), Hermitage, Rosemont Farm, Rose Hill Farm, Seclusive Farm, Spendthrift Farm, Walmac Farm, Water Cress Farm, and Westbrook Stables.
The Fund was founded in 1996 by Rob Whiteley of Liberation Farm, Tom Evans of Trackside Farm, and Fred Seitz of Brookdale Farm.
“In pursuit of their dreams, many of our scholars work 20 or more hours per week outside of school while carrying a full course load,” said Tom Evans, President of HFWEAF. “Our main goal is to award enough money so that they can focus on their studies and make school their number one priority without incurring a huge burden of long-term student loan debt. Investing in these young people is also an investment in the industry. Many of our scholars after successfully completing their studies have returned to pursue careers in the Thoroughbred industry. Several have already distinguished themselves (including a Director of Racing at a major North American track). Those who have chosen careers outside the industry have made their mark as professionals in nursing, education, social work, theology, and business.”
The Fund is run on a volunteer basis and over 95% of donor monies flow directly to scholarship recipients. Over the years, donors have included the Carl Pollard Foundation, Kentucky Thoroughbred Farm Managers Club, Kentucky Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders, Hilary Boone Foundation, KTA, Fasig-Tipton, Keeneland, Darley and Godolphin, Hill 'n' Dale Farm, Thoroughbred Charities of America, William Marquard, W.T. Young, Race for Education, the Crafty Prospector syndicate, and several donors in memory of Gus Koch.
Said co-founder Whiteley, “These scholars and parents are an industry treasure. Farm workers are the backbone of the breeding industry and therefore the foundation of the entire Thoroughbred industry. The parents of these scholars have instilled an incredible work ethic in their children. Year after year, these outstanding young people impress the Board with their ability, motivation, energy, enthusiasm, and accomplishments. In many instances, our scholars are the first in their families to pursue secondary education; and some could not pursue education without our financial assistance.”
The Fund is a 501c3 organization and tax deductible contributions may be made through the website: www.horsefarmworkerseducationfund.com.
Checks may be sent to HFWEAF, 2938 Four Pines Drive, Lexington, KY 40502
Applications are available in March with a July 1st deadline, followed by personal interviews with the board.