November 30, 2009
Contact: Larry Kinneer
A scholarship in honor of Patrick Swayze and his wife Lisa Niemi has been established by the Arabian Horse Foundation (AHF), based in Denver, Colorado. Swayze and Niemi have had close ties to the Arabian horse breed and owned Arabian horses for many years. The Foundation is the charitable arm of the Arabian Horse Association (AHA), also based in Denver.
Announcement of the scholarship was made at the association’s annual convention in Reno, November 19-21. The scholarship will be awarded annually in the spring to a youth who is involved with Arabian horses and aspires to a career in the performing arts. Scholarship applications are available online. The scholarship was launched with an initial pledge by Iron Horse Farms and Trisha Phelan of Canton, Georgia.
“The establishment of the Patrick Swayze and Lisa Niemi Scholarship was a natural fit for the foundation and the association,” explained AHF President Larry Kinneer who made the announcement before approximately 400 delegates and alternates. “Establishment of the scholarship creates a lasting testimony to their careers in dancing, theatre and movies, love of the Arabian breed and contributions over the years to AHA youth programs.”
A highlight and emotion-filled moment at the convention was the showing of video capturing special times in the life of the late film star and performer who died in September after a lengthy battle with cancer.
The Arabian Horse Foundation has several categories to which donations can be directed: Youth Scholarships, Horse Rescue and Rehoming and Equine Research. In the past two years, the foundation has given over $60,000 in grants in these particular areas. “Having options for people to decide how they want their donations used is a great benefit and incentive for the donor,” Kinneer explained.
“Now, we have established a very special scholarship for people to direct their contribution to. Donations are needed to assure the scholarship will be there for deserving students in the future.”
Kinneer added, “We are looking not only at the Arabian horse community to lend financial support to this scholarship, but to the public who admired the work of both Patrick and Lisa over the years and want to honor them in a special way. A generous amount of funding will assure the scholarship’s longevity and could lead to more than one youth being awarded the scholarship per year.”
Both Patrick and Lisa competed for many years in Arabian horse shows, often drawing spectators and fans to watch them perform. Several years ago, Patrick Swayze had a beautiful and colorful poster produced picturing him with his champion Arabian stallion, “Tammen,” Kinneer said. “The poster was sold and continues to be sold with profits going to youth programming for AHA. It has become a collector’s item with inquiries from all over the world about how one can obtain one of the posters.” The posters are available by phoning AHA, (303) 696-4500.
Donations to the Patrick Swayze and Lisa Niemi Scholarship can be made by sending a check to the Arabian Horse Foundation, 10805 E. Bethany Rd., Aurora, CO., 80014-2605. Be sure to indicate the donation is for the Swayze/Niemi Scholarship. It is also possible to make a donation on line by visiting www.arabianhorsefoundation.org.