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Charity At Home

Dear Editor,

"Let them eat cake," Marie Antoinette may have said.

Then again, maybe the Dennis Suskind or Shanette Barth of that time uttered those infamous words.

In today's world, she is Executive Director of the Hampton Classic Horse Show. He is president of the Hampton Classic Board.

A N.Y. Daily News article has just exposed the true meaning of being a trumpeted (or trumped-up?) beneficiary of the annual Classic.

According to the article, the Classic took in $15.1 million in the last five years. Of that total sum, Southampton Hospital got $260,950.

But of course there always is a "but": Barth told the reporter, "First and foremost, our mission is to run a horse show not a fund-raising event for the hospital."

And, offered Suskind, "If you want to donate to the hospital, you should give directly to the hospital."

Then why do the Classic's press releases and posters always herald Southampton Hospital as its beneficiary?

And why did the article say the Classic's tax filings state that its primary tax-exempt purpose is "to raise funds for donations to other organizations"?

Who/what are these "other" supposed beneficiaries? Why the secrecy?

A suggestion: Numerous small non-profit groups on the South Fork need all the help they can get. They don't have celebrity status and deep pockets in their corner but their volunteers work very, very hard for their particular causes.

Why not convince the Classic's board to name four non-profits joint beneficiaries next year?

For consideration: Long Island Labrador Retriever Rescue (headquartered on Shelter Island), Elsa's Ark in the Springs, East Hampton Community Council, Bridgehampton Child Care and Recreation Center.

I know for a fact (because I adopted 14-year-old Candy from LILRR last Spring) that LILRR ( is running its 10th annual photo contest for the best pix of a lab taken by its human companion. A couple of donations would boost LILRR's now very, very modest list of prizes. Deadline entry for the photos is mid September. The winners will be announced two weeks later.

I also know that Elsa's Ark is always overloaded with cats and underfunded and that the Community Council and Child Care Center are always stretching the dollars.

August 15, 2006


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