“Through academic development programs, tutoring, internships, financial literacy training and scholarships, the Race For Education provides opportunities for educational success for young people with significant financial need and academic challenges”. With the ultimate goal of making sure students are successful in life and become an asset to their community. The Race For Education (RFE) was established in 2002 by Elisabeth Jensen and Bill Casner, to provide educational programs and college scholarships to young people in the equine and agriculture industry with significant financial need. Over time the organization's mission statement has expanded to meet the needs of the community.
Although the majority of the students involved in The Race For Education program come from high risk and extreme need backgrounds, the graduation rate is over 70% while the national average is about 50% and 90 % of RFE students make the dean’s list.
In 2005 with an Assets For Independence grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Administration for Children and Families, The Race For Education established a Financial Literacy Program to help students who, based on their background, would probably otherwise receive no financial guidance. In 2008 this program was recognized by The White House Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives (OFBCI), along with the President’s Council on Financial Literacy.
The Race For Education established a partnership in 2008 with the American Association of Equine Practitioners to offer one scholarship to each of the 34 Veterinary School in North America. Now in its’ fifth year the program is funded by RFE, AAEP and Platinum Performance and continues to be very successful.
In 2009 the Starting Gate was introduced in New York. This valuable program assists younger, adolescent age students in middle school in preparing for college through weekly and monthly programs. Additional outcomes of this program are improved GPA’s better attendance in school and a reduced likelihood of involvement in negative pastimes. The program has been running successfully in New York for three years and was launched in Kentucky in Fayette and Bourbon County in 2011 and emphasizes literacy and language arts skills.
A decade of good work was punctuated with the receipt of the 2011 Clay Puett Award, presented at RTIP Symposium for outstanding contributions to the racing industry.
In 2012 The Race For Education’s Starting Gate program was a Classy Award finalist in the education category. Classy Awards are national recognition for philanthropic excellence. With increased advocacy for after school programs, the organization hosted a very successful Lights on Afterschool luncheon to raise awareness for the importance of partnerships between schools, community groups and families.
2013 will start off the “Leg Up” program, a partnership with the Kentucky 4H Horse Program, offering a scholarship to one student at each of the over 100 chapters in Kentucky.
The Race For Education is a public charity, receiving funding from many sources, including federal and foundation grants, private individuals, and corporations. The organization’s most notable fundraising initiative is the Racehorse Nomination Program which invites owners to nominate their horses to the program and agree to contribute a percentage of the horse’s earnings to the foundation. Its’ roster has included Kentucky Derby winners Animal Kingdom, Street Sense and Super Saver and Breeders’ Juvenile winner Shanghai Bobby, as well as hundreds of other horses racing for education, every day, all over the country.
To view The Race For Education's 990 tax forms on Guidestar.org,