More than150 guests attended Saratoga Casino and Raceway’s eighth annual Make a Difference event on Tuesday, which presented 26 local charitable organizations with monetary donations totaling $100,000. Those donations contributed to an overall $250,000 provided for community support by the casino in 2012.

Since its official inception in 2006, the annual Make a Difference event has presented $715,000 to local organizations, and more than$2 million in monetary, sponsorship and in-kind donations have been made by Saratoga Casino and Raceway since opening in 2004.

“We understand the importance of continued support for local organizations that make a difference in our community,” said Jamie Hartman, executive vice president and chief operating officer. “Our contributions ensure that the programs provided by these organizations can continue to benefit our employees, families, friends and neighbors. We look forward to continuing the Make a Difference tradition.”

The 2012 event began at 5:30 p.m. inside Vapor Night Club with a cocktail hour. At 6:30 p.m., the presentation began with opening remarks provided by Skip Carlson, vice president of external affairs at Saratoga Casino and Raceway.

“In this economy, it is increasingly more difficult to obtain the monetary support that so many non-profit agencies need to reach their bottom line,” said Carlson. “This event serves as a reinforcement of the belief that these organizations must never give up on their mission.”

This year’s host, Benita Zahn of News Channel 13, read a proclamation from Mayor Scott Johnson in his absence which expressed appreciation for the ongoing support offered by Saratoga Casino and Raceway in the 70 years it has been part of the community.

“While it is perhaps best known as a widely popular entertainment venue, the Casino and Raceway has always been very active in many charitable programs and events throughout Saratoga and the Capital Region,” it read. “Over the years, their dedicated officials and staff have donated more than $2 million to over 1,000 not-for-profit organizations. This year’s event will continue the tradition providing a total of $100,000 to 26 recipients.”

Zahn then began presenting the checks. The selected host each year is given the opportunity to allocate $2,500 for the organization(s) of their choice. Zahn’s selections for 2012 were Building on Love and the YWCA of the Greater Capital Region, each receiving $1,250.

The other recipients for Tuesday night’s Make a Difference event were:


Saratoga County Economic Opportunity Council, Inc.

Saratoga Hospital Foundation


Capital District Community Gardens

Franklin Community Center, Inc.

Nathan Littauer Foundation, Inc.

Rebuilding Together, Saratoga County, Inc.

Ronald McDonald House Charities of the Capital Region, Inc.

Saratoga P.L.A.N.

Shelters of Saratoga

The Wesley Foundation

To Life!


American Red Cross-Adirondack Saratoga Chapter-Local Disaster Relief Fund

Cornell University Cooperative Extension-CCE Equine, Saratoga County

Domestic Violence and Rape Crisis Services of Saratoga County

Jake’s Help From Heaven

National Center for Missing & Exploited Children

Operation Adopt A Soldier, Inc.

Saratoga Bridges

Saratoga Center for The Family

Saratoga Sponsor-A-Scholar

Schenectady Community Action Program, Inc.

Schoharie Area Long Term (SALT)

The Prevention Council

Wildwood Foundation, Inc.