Two prominent organizations within the steeplechase community, the National Steeplechase Foundation and the Temple Gwathmey Fund, are merging to form the Temple Gwathmey Steeplechase Foundation.
The new Temple Gwathmey Steeplechase Foundation, a 501 (c) (3) nonprofit, will continue to pursue the threefold goals of the former entities: Promoting growth of the sport, investing in technology and medication testing to assure fairness, and minimizing risks for horses and jockeys.
Under terms of the merger, Temple Gwathmey Fund trustees William L. Pape and John T. von Stade will become trustees of the Temple Gwathmey Steeplechase Foundation. The third trustee, Charles C. Fenwick Jr., serves as president of the National Steeplechase Foundation and will lead the new organization.
Fenwick said the two former organizations shared goals while taking somewhat different approaches to achieving those goals. The NSF pursued long-term initiatives, while the Temple Gwathmey Fund acted frequently to meet new or unexpected challenges.
Now, the new Temple Gwathmey Steeplechase Foundation will be equipped both to pursue long-term initiatives and to meet short-term or immediate needs.
“With the merger of these two strong, active organizations, we look forward to taking advantage of the greater opportunities that will be available to the Temple Gwathmey Steeplechase Fund,” Fenwick said. “With our shared goals, the merger made a lot of sense.”
Founded in 1995, the National Steeplechase Foundation implemented and supported programs that promote safety, education, fairness, and the spirit of amateurism while backing initiatives that encourage growth of the sport.
For instance, the Foundation supported uniform medication testing at all race meets to promote the integrity of jump racing. It was a leader within Thoroughbred racing in supporting base-line concussion testing for jockeys, and its innovative helmet-replacement program reimbursed riders for helmets that were compromised in racing falls.
The Temple Gwathmey Fund was named for James Temple Gwathmey, a Virginia native who was a successful cotton merchant and served as president of the New York Cotton Exchange. A race that bears his name was first run at Belmont Park in 1924, the year of his death at age 57. Eight years later, his son J. Temple Gwathmey Jr., an amateur jockey, died in a racing accident in New Jersey at age 23. The Temple Gwathmey Handicap is run each year at the Middleburg Spring Races and has been run continually each year since its inception.
Among its charitable endeavors, the Temple Gwathmey Fund provided support to race meets in staging their programs, improving race courses to enhance safety for horses and jockeys, and generating funds for the race meets’ charitable beneficiaries while also promoting long-term growth of jump racing.
The new trustees of the Temple Gwathmey Steeplechase Foundation have long been involved in jump racing. Pape, who raced his first horses in 1965, is among the sport’s leading owners and was president of the National Steeplechase Association in the 1980s and 1990s.
von Stade retired as chairman of the Far Hills Races in 2014 after serving as an official of the New Jersey meet for a half-century. He also served as chairman of the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame in Saratoga Springs, N.Y.
All three trustees of the Temple Gwathmey Fund are recipients of the NSA’s prestigious F. Ambrose Clark Award for their contributions to the growth and welfare of American Steeplechasing: Fenwick in 1980, Pape in 1988, and von Stade in 1995.