The invigorating energies of “new blood” within the Great Meadow Foundation describe the recently launched Under-40 Board whose members are committed to increasing community support and raising funds to help protect and perpetuate Great Meadow.

Cate Magennis Wyatt, in her first year as Chair of Great Meadow’s Board of Trustees, instigated the idea of the U-40 Board when she realized how much Great Meadow could benefit from more young people to strengthen their loyal community of supporters.

“It is exciting to attract the talents and insights of the brightest young professionals in the region to help Great Meadow envision and bring its future to reality—all while having fun as we make it easier for new visitors to enjoy Great Meadow,” Magennis Wyatt said.

U-40 Chair Nate Chambers with the hallowed Gold Cup course in the background.Photo by Kira Topeka, Director of Marketing, Great Meadow Foundation
U-40 Chair Nate Chambers with the hallowed Gold Cup course in the background.Photo by Kira Topeka, Director of Marketing, Great Meadow Foundation

Enter Great Meadow’s new Under-40 Board: Nate Chambers as U-40 Chair and Lucy Drinkwater, U-40 Co-Chair, plus eight more U-40 members: Mo Baptiste, Sarah Mars Bowie, Isa Bryant, August Erikson, Markus Malmgren, Danielle Quinn, Andrew Richards, and Cat Wyatt. Considered Generation Y or Millenials, they’re at home with digital devices, smartphones, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, social networking—all the myriad wonders of the Internet.

“These individuals bring a wealth of experience and expertise in their fields and will be tremendous assets to our Foundation as we further our mission of preserving open space for public enjoyment, non-profit events, community service, and equestrian sports,” Magennis Wyatt stated.

Great Meadow is much more than a fantastic venue for horse activities. It’s a reminder of the wide-open spaces such as the hills between The Plains and Middleburg where buffalo roamed. Great Meadow is a bit of heaven on earth, simply breathtaking. It can accommodate 50,000 visitors on a single day. The annual key horse events are the Virginia Gold Cup and International Gold Cup, two immensely popular sanctioned National Steeplechase race meets. If you haven’t been to a Gold Cup yet, you’re missing topnotch racing and a great day in the country. The July 4th Celebration is the third huge spectator event.

Great Meadow relies on the community’s generosity to maintain the entire 380-acre outdoor events facility and to run events. The U-40 Board’s task is to bring in the next generation of supporters to ensure The Foundation’s future. The big project is The Meadow Club although others are in the works.

Chambers, Drinkwater, and Magennis Wyatt mapped out exactly how the Meadow Club would work. The U-40 Chair and Co-Chair came up with the content and provisions for their Under-45 members. They plan to build a network of like-minded young professionals, under-45, in the DC-Maryland-Virginia (DMV) community through social, fundraising, and volunteer opportunities. The U-40 Board gets to plan special parties for the Meadow Club.

Members sign up for the “Meadow Club” by paying an annual subscription that includes three exclusive parties at the Virginia Gold Cup, International Gold Cup, and the 4th of July celebration—all held at The Great Meadow Foundation. Individual membership costs $1,000, and couples join for $1,500; members can invite guests, but each one pays per event. The result: you’re in a posh tent on Members Hill, resplendent with hospitality, catering, bar, gorgeous horses running and jumping on hallowed ground made great by past Gold Cup champions—a special event in a beautiful place.

“Great Meadow is for friends of all ages,” said Robert L. Banner, President of the Great Meadow Foundation. “U-40 gives younger members an opportunity to support at the level they can afford. I want everyone to feel like they’ve had a hand in the success of The Foundation. That way, we can look forward to a bright future for Great Meadow as new generations get involved.”

It’s so simple: tap into young professionals with their thumbs that dance on virtual keyboards and turn them loose. Areas of expertise include Private Equity, Finance and Banking, Conservation, IT, Technology, and equestrian professional riders and trainers involved in foxhunting, racing, eventing, hunter-jumper showing, etc. With backgrounds from urban to rural, with or without horses, they all have a great affinity for Great Meadow and what it represents.

Chambers recalled loving Great Meadow from the first time he competed there many years ago as a junior in 3-Day Eventing. He went on to earn two gold medals, individual and team, as a Young Rider, then turned professional, competing at the upper levels and winning three national championships. About five years ago, Nate was the Director of Development at Great Meadow. Today, he runs CS Holdings, the DC-based private equity firm he started several years ago. He’s totally into his work on the U-40 Board.

“Great Meadow is a non-profit with small office staff,” Chambers said. “We want the U40 to be independent, financially and time-wise, because we don’t want to burden the Foundation. We’re looking to give to Great Meadow, not take any of their resources. That’s why Meadow Club is being entirely run by the U-40 Board and the only funds we’ll use for our activities will be funds we raise. We’re going to bring in more people from all different areas and expand our reach even as we retain the involvement of the extensive community of people who have been so supportive of Great Meadow through the years.”

Great Meadow’s perfect for sporting competitions, Twilight Polo, grass polo, Twilight Jumpers, eventing, rocketry, Fourth of July, and steeplechasing. But it’s also a working classroom for land conservation and the perpetuation of outdoor activities and traditions that are part of Virginia’s unique heritage. It’s a community treasure with a focus on its family-friendly atmosphere.

“We’re from all different backgrounds and we’re all volunteers,” Chambers said. “We’re all doing this because we love Great Meadow.”

Ana-Elisa (Isa) Bryant, an eventer who tries to get out foxhunting at least once every season, stated, “There are no other facilities like Great Meadow, especially so close to DC, and it provides such a wide range of events and an escape from the city life. I currently work for the Land Trust of Virginia so land conservation is close to my heart and it’s exciting for me to help a propert] that’s protected by a Conservation Easement bring so much value to a larger community. I’m excited to be part of the process of growth for The Foundation.”

For several years, Sarah Mars Bowie has been on the planning committee for the University Row tents, which brings more than 1500 alumni to the Virginia Gold Cup each May. “I personally enjoy the social aspects, tailgates, and picnics that are associated with many of the events held at Great Meadow,” she said. “Every time I visit Great Meadow I leave feeling recharged.”

Andrew Richards was a kid when his family moved from Arlington and embraced country living on their farm in Delaplane. He grew up riding and showed jumpers under the tutelage of Joe Fargis. He also enjoys polo. “I attend Gold Cup with my family every year. I have competed in the equine events on the grounds at Great Meadow, including Twilight Polo and Twilight Jumpers. I have celebrated Fourth of July at Great Meadow many times, too. This is a place I hope to share with my own family one day.”

Markus Malmgren grew up on a horse farm in Warrenton. His parents took him to Gold Cup and Twilight Polo before he could walk. “In 24 years I missed only two Gold Cups, once for my sisters’ confirmation and once for Homecoming at the University of Mary Washington,” he said. “When I started pursuing internships while at UMW, Great Meadow was the first place I thought of. I wanted to give back to the place that gave me so many great memories growing up. Now that I have the privilege of serving on the U-40 Board, I can help to ensure that future generations can continue making memories at Great Meadow.”

Be more than a visitor. Become a Friend of Great Meadow.

For more information: GreatMeadow.org