Elkton, Maryland – Leading Maryland horseman, Charlie Fenwick, has been elected President and CEO of the Fair Hill Foundation (FHF), succeeding Jay Griswold, who has been named Co-Chair Emeritus with Foundation founder Sam Slater.
Under Fenwick’s leadership, the Fair Hill Foundation will focus on supporting the 2021 inaugural 5 Star event by raising funds for prize money and operations. A former steeplechase jockey, trainer, and businessman, Fenwick brings extensive experience in non-profit fundraising as a member of both the Greater Baltimore Medical Center and Gilman School boards and as a past president of the Temple Gwathmey Steeplechase Foundation and chair of the Shawan Downs steeplechase race meeting to the post.
Established in 2016 to support modernization of the historic racecourse and construction of new three-day eventing facilities for the Maryland 5 Star, the Fair Hill Foundation is also partnering with the Maryland Department of Natural Resources to complete these improvements.
Along with the key leadership of Governor Larry Hogan and Secretary of the Department of Natural Resources, Jeannie Haddaway-Riccio, Griswold and the Fair Hill Foundation have been at the center of planning and funding the new facilities through the Proud Past*Infinite Future Campaign for Fair Hill, a private fundraising effort to match the State of Maryland’s $10 million investment in the Fair Hill project.
“Maryland is exceptionally fortunate to have had Jay Griswold’s vision for the creation of a world-class equine competition facility at Fair Hill. His leadership and determination were critical to the decision by the Fédération Equestre Internationale (FEI) to award Maryland the 5 Star eventing competition and the State’s completion of the beautiful new facilities on the site,” said Tom Kelso, chairman of the Maryland Stadium Authority and ex-officio member of the Fair Hill Host Organizing Committee for the Maryland 5 Star, said.
Griswold and Slater will work with Fenwick during the next phase of the Fair Hill project. Dr. Tim Gardner, who with his wife, Nina, is a longstanding owner and supporter of Three-Day Eventing, recalled how important Griswold’s leadership has been to the success of the Fair Hill project. “Jay brings that great combination of credibility and charm to the challenging task of fundraising. He was able to convince a lot of skeptical people that a new and better Fair Hill is possible. His efforts have been rewarded with Fair Hill being awarded the Maryland 5 Star Event. The entire three-day eventing community thanks Jay for his great work.”
FHF President Will Phipps is stepping down from his previous role. “Will did a wonderful job of bringing distinguished supporters to the Foundation and the 5 Star,” Griswold said. “We look forward to his continued help going forward.”
The original Fair Hill racecourse was built by William du Pont Jr. in the 1930s, modeled on England’s famed Aintree Racecourse and part of massive tract of open land owned by du Pont. After his death, the State of Maryland acquired 5,600 acres of du Pont’s original property, now known as the Fair Hill Natural Resources Management Area in Cecil County. In a 2019-20 overhaul of the Fair Hill facilities, the Department of Natural Resources and the Maryland Stadium Authority oversaw the construction of a new turf track with state-of-the-art infield show rings. These facility improvements along with a new cross-country course, designed by U.K. Olympian and international course designer Ian Stark, resulted in the selection of Fair Hill to host the inaugural Maryland 5 Star at Fair Hill in October. Fair Hill will be the second 5 Star event in the United States and one of only seven such competitions internationally.
“The Maryland 5 Star’s success is key to all that will follow at Fair Hill,” said Fenwick. “All phases of the equestrian community interested in Fair Hill – steeplechasing, eventing, and the Thoroughbred training center – must join together to get this done. We have been presented with a wonderful opportunity. The Foundation’s immediate goal is to make the 2021 Maryland 5 Star an unqualified success.”
Toward that end, the Fair Hill Foundation will embark on targeted fundraising efforts while also continuing to strengthen relationships with the Department of Natural Resources and Maryland Stadium Authority for the overall good of the property.