Bet On Bright Side, 2015 | KY Derby Party

Who said fundraising can't be fun? On Saturday, we got to document the "Bet On Bright Side Derby Party" fundraising event for the brand new nonprofit, Bright Side Youth Ranch. Surrounding the Kentucky Derby, guests had a wonderful time together—decked out in derby casual attire!—while learning about the ministry and donating to their cause. 

Their cause? It's noble. On their website, they define it this way: 


We seek to share the love of God with children through a relationship with horses and a connection with a mentor. Bright Side Youth Ranch is a safe place where the hurting and broken can find redemption, horses can find help, children can find hope, and families can find support. Through an environment of love and an interactive session, we desire for children to learn values of faith, family, and trust.

On Saturday, May 2nd at The Lodge at The Sanctuary in Charlotte, North Carolina, there was a fantastic [spirited] turnout of some of the most generous people in the area. The Carolina Rhythm Band set the mood, the derby hats were in full effect, KY Derby horses were picked, the race was shown live on the big screen, door prizes were won, the dinner & desserts were delicious, financial gifts were given, and laughter and dancing were shared by all.

"This Bet on Bright Side event was an opportunity to share the mission and vision publicly and ask for partners in the journey," Executive Director Tia Tharp stated in her recent recap blog post. "We are incredibly grateful to everyone who helped make it happen, to each person who came as a guest or served as a volunteer, and to all who chose to give of their finances, time, or resources." (Tia's full post can be read here.) There isn't an official giving total yet, as gifts are still coming in, but God has been so faithful thus far, and they know He will continue to provide for their every need. 

You've probably heard about Bright Side and the Tharp family recently on our blog (read some of the latest posts here). We're so proud of Tia and her husband Devin for their willingness to relentlessly obey the call they feel God has given them to start this ministry. Chad and I feel honored to have been part of it all, even from the beginning! On Saturday, the four of us snuck a moment to reminisce an evening a couple years ago when they first brought us their ideas in our Wisconsin living room. Together, we brainstormed their branding, logo and website for this future dream, which is now becoming quite the reality, thanks to their selfless dedication and the generosity of others. 

Please consider checking out Bright Side Youth Ranch ( and making an online donation to their amazing organization. Your gift will help their ranch open this summer!

Also, a special shoutout to board member Jill Klinger, who did SUCH an amazing job organizing and planning this fundraising event! We are loving these image highlights...