Last winter feels like an eternity ago, doesn’t it? When Saratoga Living unveiled our inaugural Saratoga Gives Back list and event in December 2019, we had the luxury of throwing a classy launch party, during which we were able to rub elbows with our honored guests, giving them the royal treatment in front of a shoulder-to-shoulder crowd. Thousands of dollars were raised for the honorees’ organizations, and all was merry and bright.
This year, our 10 newest honorees—five in Saratoga Living, five in Capital Region Living—are working under much more trying circumstances (i.e. the pandemic) in a year when their organizations are hurting a little bit more than usual. That, and we’ve traded rubbing elbows for 20-second handwashing.
So our newly minted Capital Region Gives Back event, which we’ll be hosting on December 10, will look a little different this year, due to COVID restrictions. But the endgame will be the same: raising money for great Spa City causes. (To get tickets to the event, click here.)
Join Saratoga Living as we honor our 2020 class of givers.
Ramón Domínguez began his association with the New York Race Track Chaplaincy of America during his Hall of Fame career as a jockey. Now, seven years after his retirement from the saddle, Domínguez has taken on the role of president of the organization. “I got involved with the Chaplaincy when I was riding and learned how important it is for the backstretch workers to have a support system like this in place,” says Domínguez. “I wanted to help any way I could. The backstretch workers are the heart of the sport and the Chaplaincy is there for them in many ways.”
Incorporated in 1972, the Race Track Chaplaincy of America is a national organization that provides backstretch workers with food and clothing banks, recreational activities, referrals for healthcare, legal and financial services, education workshops and transportation, among other programs. The New York chapter is run by a small staff led by Reverend Humberto Chavez and relies primarily on volunteers and supporters to accomplish its mission.
“Many of the people working on the backstretch are away from their families and count on the Chaplaincy for emotional support and spiritual guidance,” says Domínguez. The organization also helps workers with practical matters such as finding a doctor or showing them how to address a letter and place a stamp on it—everyday tasks that the majority of us might take for granted. “The roles the Chaplaincy fills have been even more essential this year with the pandemic and all of the stress and uncertainty it has caused,” he says. “The Chaplaincy is always there no matter what, and it’s my honor to be a part of it.”