MONMOUTH COUNTY,  NJ -On Saturday May 4th, the Monmouth Park Charity Fund, hosted their 16th Annual Kentucky Derby Day Celebration.  Once again it was a sold out success with 2019 fundraising topping all previous years. The elegant event hosting over 400 guests, was held at Blu Grotto’s beautiful outdoor garden at the historic Monmouth Park Racetrack in Oceanport, New Jersey.

The Derby Day Celebration is one of the largest and most popular fundraising events of the year in Monmouth County.  It has become the anticipated event of the year for many. Even Governer Murphy had it on his busy calendar to attend. As one guest commented, "We love the annual Derby Celebration, there is no other fundraising event quite like it and the tented outdoor venue is so lovely. At a glance it reminds one of a Monet painting as hundreds of fashionable hats and colorful clothing the guests wear color the room beautifully." 

The weather after raining during the days before, was sunny for the event with a comfortable temperature for guests to enjoy. Festivities included simulcasting of the Kentucky Derby with betting available, open bar and chef specialties, a hat parade and live, silent and chance auctions. The 2019 Event Co-Chairs Maria Farhat Tanzola and Anita Roselle in a joint statement commented, "Every year, we say it can't get any better...who would think year after year, this event grows and is more fun and successful. This year we are so pleased to have four remarkable honorees who in their own way, each change the world and have made it a brighter place for so many. It is our honor and pleasure to Co-Chair the 2019 Monmouth Park Charity Fund's 16th Annual Kentucky Derby Celebration." The event was a patriotic one with everyone saying the Pledge of Allegiance and giving special thanks to members of our United States Military. It was an occassion to remember the rich history of the Monmouth Park Charity Fund and give thanks to those who laid the foundation for what is now today a highly regarded machine that has distributed $9,628,572 to nonprofit health and human service organizations.  

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This year's event honored  Maureen Lloyd for her tireless support and the countless hours she has given to help so many charities, serving as the leader of Monmouth Park Charity Fund for over 20 years, and for being the spirit and fire behind the success of the Kentucky Derby Day Celebration; Ruth Harms for her dynamic advocacy and philanthropic leadership for many local charities; Lt. Governor Kim Guadagno for serving as a trailblazer with passion and dedication to uphold the well-being of our community; and the Barbara Black Family for sustaining the legacy and mission of Monmouth Park Charity Fund and legendary supporters of our community.

Since 1946, Monmouth Park Charity Fund has distributed nearly $10 million. The Kentucky Derby Celebration is the Monmouth Park Charity Fund's signature annual event. Proceeds from this popular event provide critically needed funds to over 50 non-profit organizations in Monmouth County, delivering vital services relating to health, those at risk in the community, and those identified as in need of special services.

This year's Event Sponsors were The Barbara Black Family, Ruth and George Harms and Maureen and John Lloyd. Run for the Roses Sponsors were BCB Community Bank, C.J. Hesse, Inc. and Grunin Holdings/Jay and Linda Grunin Foundation. The Mint Julep Sponsors were app. LOCALiQ, part of the USA Today Network, Hackensack Meridian Health and Stillwell-Hansen, Carol Stillwell and Mary Ann Larkin. The Winner's Circle Sponsors were Anita and Joseph Roselle, TD Bank and Ann Marie Walsh and Kenneth D. Nahum. The Military Hero Sponsor Level was Anabel Foundation, Tatiana and Peter Cancro, CBA Industries, CareOne of Holmdel, Christopher Center for Mental Health & Wellness at Hope Tower, Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno, Hope Haskell-Jones, Robin and John Klein, Manasquan Bank, NJ Natural Gas, OceanFirst Foundation, Provident Bank, R. Popovitch Builders, Inc., Dawn and John Reinhardt, Sorce Companies, Warren Diamond Foundation. The Paddock Sponsors were Bayshore Recycling, Tatiana and Peter Cancro, Holt Construction, Hylan Datacom & Natural Gas, Monmouth Medical Center, Monmouth Medical Center Foundation, OceanFirst Bank, Principal Global Investors, and Two River Community Bank. Friends Listing: Karen Goldblatt, Maureen Keating, Margaret S. Riker, and Sandra Sinclair. Invitation Underwriter: Hackensack Meridian Health. Entertainment Underwriter: The Lionhart Fund. Decoration Underwriter: Dr. Gregory Greco of Monmouth Plastic Surgery, Imperial Health Care of Neptune. Horse Underwriter: Warren Diamond Foundation. Tent Underwriter: Pam and Anthony Diaco. Honoree Champagne Underwriter: Leslie Hitchner. 

On behalf of the Monmouth Park Charity Fund Board of Trustees and the Kentucky Derby Celebration committee:  "We thank everyone for their support. Your support of this event enables Monmouth Park Charity Fund to fulfill its mission to distribute significant funds to those deserving non-profits in our community, and to increasing collaboration among these organizations to offer greater reach and program impact at the local level. "

Executive Committee

  • Maureen Lloyd, President
  • Mrs. Maria Farhat Tanzola, Vice President
  • Barry Shapiro, 2nd Vice President
  • Nona Balaban, Secretary
  • Ms. Karen Conway, Treasurer
  • Debi Heptig, Director of Operations

Board Members

  • Ms. Denise Anderson, Ph.D.
  • Hope Corcoran
  • Warren Diamond
  • Jennifer Diehl
  • Joanne Di Napoli
  • Tom Donovan
  • Thomas Hayes
  • Matthew Holman, CPA,PSA
  • Nancy Mazza
  • Sandy Mullaney
  • Anita Roselle
  • Linda Sirico
  • Ross Zimmerman

About the Monmouth Park Charity Fund:

In 1946 a group led by the late Amory L. Haskell of Middletown, began a restoration of Monmouth Park Racetrack, which had been abandoned for 50 years. Under the new leadership of then President Haskell, Philip H. Iselin, Reeve Schley, Joseph M. Roebling, Townsend B. Martin, John MacDonald and James Cox Brady, the Monmouth Park Jockey Club was born. Iselin became chairman of the construction committee and was named treasurer of the Monmouth Park Jockey Club. In later years, after the death of Haskell, he would take over as president of the track.

In an effort the show their gratitude to the residents of Monmouth County for their assistance in making the dream of a revitalized racetrack a reality, Mr. Haskell, and his partner Philip H. Iselin, assembled a committee of 15 area women to plan a Charity Ball and Carnival to be held at Monmouth Park. It was decided that the money raised from this first Charity Ball in 1947 would be given back to the community by way of support for local charitable endeavors, a tradition that is honored by The Monmouth Park Charity Fund to this day.

Betty Iselin, wife of Philip, became the first president of the Charity Ball Committee, an office she held for 50 years. Mr. Haskell’s daughters, the late Anne Haskell Ellis of Middletown and Hope Haskell Jones of Rumson, were a vital part of the fund-raising committee for more than 30 years; in fact, Hope Haskell Jones continues to be an active member of the Monmouth Park Charity Fund.

For many years, the inspired committee worked with the support and cooperation of the Monmouth Park Racetrack administration, and enjoyed the many courtesies available to them. The New Jersey Sports & Exposition Authority purchased Monmouth Park in 1986 and continued to graciously support the activities of the Fund. Today Monmouth Park Racetrack is managed by the New Jersey Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association (NJTHA) and this organization continues the tradition of supporting our work.

Since 1946, more than 100 service organizations have been recipients of contributions from the Monmouth Park Charity Fund. To date, the Fund has distributed over $9.5 million since our inception.

The mission of the Monmouth Park Charity Fund is to raise and distribute funds to non-profit agencies in Monmouth County that provide services related to health, those at risk in the community, and those in need of special services. We could not be successful in our work if not for the commitment of remarkable volunteers who have donated time and effort for decades. All fundraising events rely on their enthusiasm.

The support of the community, for which we are grateful, has helped to make our success possible.  For general questions about the event; Call Deb Heptig at 732.598.1694

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