Announcements, Most Recent News, News

Local Youth Equestrian Center Seeks Support During Kentucky Derby

Press Release 

Local Youth Equestrian Center Seeks Support During Kentucky Derby 

Eagleson Equestrian Center hosted a Kentucky Derby fundraiser to invest in Bay Area youth and adults in need. 

Media Contact: Tony Alioto, Communications and Marketing Manager, Catholic Charities San Francisco, (415) 429-6059 

San Rafael, CA (May 5, 2024) – Yesterday, Catholic Charities of San Francisco hosted a live viewing of the Kentucky Derby to raise funds to benefit its Kent Eagleson Equestrian Center, which connects people experiencing hardship to horses and other animals at its site in San Rafael, Calif. Due to the generosity of a matching grant from The Thoresen Foundation, the event raised over $200,000 for the Equestrian Center.

The Kent Eagleson Equestrian Center empowers youth by teaching them horse care, riding skills, and providing a safe space to discuss their goals and struggles. Trauma-informed program leaders ensure a nurturing environment.  According to Catholic Charities Chief Philanthropy Officer Tom Bowen, “Animals have an extraordinary way of reaching children, especially those who’ve faced deep pain due to loss and trauma. Our annual Kentucky Derby watch party not only celebrates the race but also fuels our horsemanship programs, offering solace to those navigating life’s challenges.”

Catholic Charities of San Francisco opened the Center in 2018.  It’s home to 15 horses, chickens, goats, guinea pigs, pet rats, and two barn cats.

Attendees included Center staff, community members, donors, and participants. The event also honored The Godmothers of Catholic Charities. For 25 years, The Godmothers organization has supported, through fundraising and volunteering efforts, St. Vincent’s School for Boys. 

The Eagleson Equestrian Center serves youth and young adult clients throughout the Bay Area who would benefit from equine therapeutic services. The program collaborates with nonprofits serving youth, including Winston Prep, a school in Marin that serves students with various learning differences, including non-verbal learning disorders (NVLD) and executive functioning difficulties. Named after Kent Eagleson, Director Emeritus of Catholic Charities St. Vincent’s School for Boys, the Center honors his 53 years of service. 

Catholic Charities of San Francisco is one of the largest, most comprehensive human services agencies in Northern California reaching more than 70,000 people annually in San Francisco, San Mateo, and Marin Counties. We are an integral part of our communities and play a role in keeping our neighborhoods diverse, productive, safe, and healthy through more than 30 programs and social justice advocacy.