Polo Match Raises Money to Help Latin American Children
By Grace Olson
There are 11 ten-goal players gracing the earth with their presence and on Saturday, March 18, eight of them convened at the International Polo Club in Wellington for the Fourth Annual Generosity polo Cup to benefit Fundacion Manos del Sur, a Latin American charity.
It was the first time the event was held at the IPC, and the game kept the crowd on its feet. The financial services firm UBS sponsored the game, and the team sponsors were the US-based industrial holding company Access Industries and Argentine beer maker Quilmes. The Access industries team consisted of Facundo Pieres, Bautista Heguy, Pite Merlos and Javier Novillo Astrada, while Quilmes featured Mike Azzaro, Gonzalo Pieres Jr., Mariano Aguerre and Marcos Heguy.
The match was tied 1-1 after the first chucker and remained close through most of the game, which closed with a tied score of 11-11. Wellington resident Azzaro, who scored four goals, walked away with the MVP prize, while Merlos won the award for fair play. All players took home gifts from sponsors such as Ralph Lauren and stayed to enjoy dinner and entertainment by the Argentinean folkloric group Los Araumas.
But the fans and players were there for a purpose higher than the entertainment. Every cent raised went directly to the non-profit organization Fundacion Manos del Sur for their Integral Assistance Program. The organization, which began in 1999, is based in Miami and is dedicated to helping children that live in extreme poverty in Latin America.
Its goal is providing them with the tools they need to lead healthy, successful lives.
According to Fundacion President Paulina Montes, the generosity Polo Cup is one of the foundation’s most successful fundraisers. “With the funds raised by our previous Generosity Polo Cups, we developed a program to assist 200 children in Santiago del Estero, Argentina.”, Montes noted. “We provide three daily meals, healthcare and teachers to assist them with their homework. The children thrived, not only physically, but also socially. Their improvement led the community to go a little further and build them a school to provide a better education.”
Organizers are still doing the numbers, but according to Montes, the event raised an estimated $60,000 for Fundacion Manos del Sur. “It went very well,” Montes said. “The day was beautiful, the club was beautiful and overall it was a great event.”