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The New York Racing Association, Inc. donates trees for Anna House fundraiser

By Nailah Ellis Timberlake | 04/18/2014 02:01 PM ET

The New York Racing Association, Inc. (NYRA) is donating 45 trees – and the space to plant them – to the Belmont Child Care Association (BCCA) to help raise funds for Anna House, Belmont Park’s on-track early education center for the children of backstretch workers.

For a $100 donation, supporters will receive a certificate and a commemorative card in recognition of their gift, and for an additional $60, a personalized plaque will be displayed on the tree. The mature specimens, a mixture of oaks, elms and maples, will be planted throughout Belmont Park, including one in the children’s garden at Anna House that will be dedicated to the memory of owner-breeder Richard Bomze, who died on March 11. Bomze had been a benefactor of the organization since its inception.

“Belmont Park is well-known for its beautiful trees, and a plant-a-tree fundraiser seemed like a natural fit,” said Stuart Chenkin, the BCCA’s Development Assistant. “It started with a seed of an idea and just blossomed from there. When we asked NYRA for permission to do the fundraiser, they not only gave us permission but said they would donate the trees and plant them as well. We couldn’t be more grateful.”

Anna House is open every day of the year and provides services for approximately 70 children between the ages of 6 weeks and 5 years. Open from 5 a.m. until 1 p.m. to accommodate the early-morning work schedule of backstretch employees, Anna House offers early childhood literacy, math and science programs and also has an after-school tutoring program for elementary and middle school students.

“With our early childhood education program, the children of backstretch workers have a head start for elementary school,” said BCCA executive director Donna Chenkin. “This fundraiser will help to beautify Belmont Park and help the children of Anna House.”

Belmont Park is the first racetrack in the country to provide onsite child care. Anna House opened in 2003 and was named in appreciation of a $1 million donation from thoroughbred owners Laura and Eugene Melnyk, whose daughter’s name is Anna.

About the BCCA
The Belmont Child Care Association is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit corporation whose mission is to raise the financial resources necessary to maintain a quality child care center, Anna House, for the benefit of working families at The New York Racing Association’s Thoroughbred racetracks. For more information, please contact the Belmont Child Care Association at (516) 488-2103 or belmontchildcare@aol.com