Throughout the year, Family House raises the funds to continue our critical mission through several events, but Family House Polo is by far our largest and most popular event each year. Since its inception, this event has grown to become the largest polo fundraiser in the country, raising more than $3 million over the past 29 years.
Now in its 31st year, Family House Polo is a local tradition and a unique fundraising event. Each year, 2,000 community and business leaders, individuals and families gather at Hartwood Acres on the Saturday after Labor Day for a fun-filled day of entertainment; from the professional polo match and tailgating to the silent auction and children’s activities.
Nearly a year’s worth of planning goes into this multifaceted six-hour event. The collaboration of Family House staff, event chairpersons and a volunteer committee of more than fifty helps to secure the support of 40 sponsors and proceeds of more than $200,000.
Each year, two professional polo teams take the field at Hartwood Acres. Members of the Virginia International Polo Club from Upperville, VA and the Potomac Polo Club of Poolesville, MD travel to Pittsburgh to play an authentic match, complete with six chukkers, or periods, of play lasting approximately 90 minutes.
The Muldoon family of the Potomac Polo Club has been a part of Family House Polo since 1983. In 1992, the Muldoon Cup was established in memory of Michael Muldoon, son of Joe Muldoon, Jr. and captain of the Potomac Polo Club. Michael’s love of life, family and polo, his keen sense of humor and his compassion inspired Family House to honor his memory by annually recognizing individuals whose outstanding contribution to Family House best emulates Michael’s spirit.
David Andrews is another fixture of Family House Polo, serving as the match announcer for nearly all of the 30 annual matches. Originally from Devonshire, England, David now resides i nNorth Carolina and is known as the “voice of polo,” announcing at least ten charity matches around the country each year. He enjoys educating the crowd on the nuances of polo, such as terms like “bump,” “hook,” “ride-off” and “tailshot.” By the end of the match, attendees feel like polo aficionados.
Vintage cars line the field in an impressive display before parading the VIPs of Family House Polo around the perimeter and into the crowd. Patrons can peruse the vendors and silent auction and place their bets. The opening ceremonies feature the singing of the national anthem, the introduction of the polo teams and officials and the throwing of the first ball by the Muldoon Cup honoree.
All around the field, attendees can be spotted wearing “I’ve been touted” stickers, signifying that they’ve put their money on their favorite team and how many total goals will be scored. Best of all, the touts winner takes half the purse!
One of the reasons attendees love Polo so much is the ability to create their own party. Different than most fundraising events, patrons purchase ticket packages that include parking spaces around the field. Depending on the size of the party, patrons also rent tents and hire caterers or bring their own picnic food and drinks. Tailgating parties range from simple sandwiches out of the back of a car to elaborate spreads under large tents. Companies use Polo as an unconventional way to entertain clients and employees, treating them to a fun and unique philanthropic event.
Sip, Savor & Shop Tent
The centerpiece of the polo field is the new Sip, Savor & Shop Tent. Featuring local restaurants and liquor purveyors, the Sip, Savor & Shop Tent provides an opportunity for attendees to purchase wine and food throughout the day. Shoppers will be able to peruse clothing, hats, jewelry and more from select boutiques.
Hundreds of items will be generously donated for the silent auction at Polo. Packages will include trips, sports memorabilia, gift certificates, a Basket of Cheer, jewelry and more!
Polo really is an event for the whole family, and the children’s tent is a favorite amongst the younger crowd. Featuring games, face painting, finger casting by Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC and appearances by mascots, the kids will be entertained for hours.
At half-time of the polo match, the ceremonial stomping of the divots to the tune of “Pretty Woman” gets the audience out of their seats and onto the field. Eat’n Park Smiley Cookies are enjoyed by all, and the Saxonburg Hounds parade around the field.
There are many ways for individuals and organizations to be involved with Family House and our annual Polo match; sponsorship, volunteering and donations are just a few. A variety of sponsorship and ticketing packages are available that allow you to entertain your employees and clients in a unique setting while promoting your business and supporting a worthwhile cause.
If you are interested in learning more about becoming a Family House partner, please contact
Lisa Kahle, Development Coordinator at email@example.com or (412) 647-0389.
On behalf of everyone at Family House and the patients and families we serve, we hope that you will join us at the 31st Annual Family House Polo Match!