September 1, 2022
Dear Gerry Dilger Equine Scholarship Contributors,
Since we commenced our organization in the second half of 2020, we have been pretty busy, and we wanted to send a progress report about what we have been doing! Life to date we have awarded scholarships to eight most deserving young people who are pursuing a career in the thoroughbred industry.
We have sent three students to the beautiful Irish National Stud (INS). These included Kentucky Equine Management Internship (KEMI) graduates Gemma Blumenshine from California, and Normarie Santiago-Cruz, from Puerto Rico. Additionally, during Covid, when travel in and out of Ireland was restricted, we decided to expand our applicant pool to Irish Citizens so that travel would not be an issue. Our third INS recipient was Roisin Whelan, a citizen of Ireland.
This additional scholarship was really well-received by Anne Channon and Cathal Beale at the INS. Providing it also addressed a need we were wanting to address. Since most KEMI graduates had previously graduated from college, and our farm placements in Kentucky were from University Limerick and University College Dublin, we realized we were only providing scholarships for which college educated kids could apply. Gerry himself did not graduate from college, but he valued hard work. Since this was a way to provide an opportunity for a non-college student, we decided to offer this to an Irish citizen every year. Incidentally, while my children and I were in Ireland this summer, we spent an afternoon at the INS. It was a beautiful place, a functioning stud farm with much hands-on learning happening, and everyone we encountered was hospitable and friendly. We left feeling very good about sending kids there to learn.
Additionally, we were asked by the College of Agriculture, Food and Rural Enterprise (CAFRE) on the Enniskillen campus in Northern Ireland to provide an annual bursary to one of their students to help pay for their equine classes there. After doing some research, learning of the many Kentucky horse farms already providing bursaries, and some great comments from Joe Osborne about the success of the many CAFRE graduates he knew, we decided to offer the bursary. It was awarded to Eva McGlone Falter for 2022, and we will make this award every year moving forward.
As for our farm placements and other scholarships – we again had some delays getting visas approved to allow travel to the United States. We decided to offer a one-time award to fourth-year equine science student at the University of Kentucky, Shelby Devita. Additionally, as restrictions were lifted, and after a one-year delay, we were finally able to bring our students over from Ireland! We currently have Luke Kevin from University Limerick, working at Lane’s End Farm, and finally, our University College Dublin students, Ciara Russell, and Rachel Doran are here working at Springhouse Farm.
We are excited about supporting all our scholarship recipients and wish them the best of luck on their journeys – we can’t wait to see what they all do next!
Our board consists of thirteen members, and we meet regularly. We are established as a 501 (c) (3) entity, all contributions are tax deductible, and we file an annual 990 Information Return with the IRS. Our website, gerrydilgerequine.com, is up to date with all our scholarships offered for 2023, and all our latest news – check it out!
In closing, my children Claire, Joseph, Grace, and I would like to express our most warm and heartfelt thanks to all of you who have supported us. We miss Gerry Dilger very much. Continuing his work helping young people is meaningful and special to us – thank you for helping us keep Gerry’s memory alive.
Erin, Claire, Joseph, and Grace Dilger