Vanessa walking

Vanessa gives back

One of the first times Vanessa came to Fieldstone Farm, she was 10 years old and arrived with a Ziploc bag full of her birthday money to donate to Fieldstone Farm. Little did she know that 20 years later, she would be on the Board helping to raise money for the farm.

Philanthropy runs in the family. Vanessa’s great-grandparents founded the Kelvin and Eleanor Smith Foundation in 1955. Since then, the foundation has had a long history of supporting northeast Ohio non-profits including Fieldstone Farm. Today, Vanessa is Board Member of the family foundation carrying on the tradition started by generations before.

Vanessa’s passion for Fieldstone runs deep. She is an avid horsewoman and knows the power of the bond with a horse. She says being with horses has always been a safe space for her after a tough day. She starting riding at the age of five, then quickly went on to compete in hunter jumpers which is still her passion today as she continues to show her two jumpers, cruising around courses with four and a half foot jumps.

Vanessa remembers judging our annual horse show a few years ago and witnessing all the joy, pride and excitement of the students and their families. She said judging wasn’t easy – she wanted to give everyone a blue ribbon because it was obvious how hard each student works and how much they love the horse show. But one little girl who was riding Jackson made it simple. As she walked into the ring she looked right at Vanessa and gently asked the judge if she could have a pink ribbon. Vanessa was impressed that the little girl felt that getting a ribbon in her favorite color was more important than winning.

We are delighted to have the talent of Vanessa on our board and are so grateful for the generous support of her family and their foundation over the years.