Kimberly Van Kampen, Spring Lake resident and entrepreneur, announced today that she will donate her 185-acre equestrian property, Hampton Green Farm, in Fruitport to Lilley Cares, the Spring Lake nonprofit founded in 2020. The turn-over will be complete by mid-summer 2024 when all Hampton Green horses will move south to Ocala, Florida where Van Kampen is establishing a new location for them. Founded in 1997, Hampton Green Farm has been home to a world-class PRE (Pura Raza Española) breeding program and training facility, and has been a fixture in Fruitport for over 20 years. In recent years, the farm has served as a venue for local nonprofits to use as a place to hold its events and galas. The farm has also been a center of equestrian training and sport, focusing on young riders, holding multiple clinics and horse shows. "During the recession when nonprofits began to struggle, I felt there was more we could do to get them through those tough times," said Ms Van Kampen. She and her team developed a program called “On The House” to invite nonprofits to the farm and hold their annual events. Ms Van Kampen and her family foundation paid most of the expenses to allow nonprofits to continue to meet their mission, and get through the lean times.
That program is still active at Hampton Green albeit less active. "We had events every single summer weekend for a long time," said Ms Van Kampen, "and it was amazingly successful. This was the seed for our plan today: to continue to serve both the equestrian and the nonprofit community but turning over the keys to a nonprofit close to my heart who understands the efforts and will keep it alive." The executive director of Lilley Cares is Joan Mack who was the business manager at Hampton Green until she retired in 2018. Ms Mack not only understands the "On The House" program, but she managed it in those early busy years.
"I am excited to manage this farm I love so much, and know so well, as well as continue the mission we had when we started our nonprofit efforts in 2008," said Ms Mack.
"I plan to bring horses back -- not Hampton Green horses of course, but horses from other programs, and see horses grazing these fields again." It will be the mission of Lilley Cares to keep the farm as a nonprofit organization, according to Ms Mack, serving the nonprofit community. "Of course, to keep the lawns mowed and the lights on we will host weddings here as well as take on boarders in the barns," said Mack, "but our overall mission will be as 501c3 serving other charities."
Ms Van Kampen has bred the Spanish horse PRE with major success, sending her horse Grandioso to two Olympics, London and in Rio de Janeiro. Hampton Green Farm has a second location in Ocala, Florida where Ms Van Kampen has decided to focus her future breeding and competition efforts. "It is time to focus on one location and Ocala with its World Equestrian Center will be the place for me and my horses and team to direct our work toward our continued goals of world-class breeding and dressage competition. Two large farms over 1300 miles apart has stretched our resources and I decided that staying in Ocala and expanding our farm here is best for me and my family." Ms Van Kampen reports that her investments of time and treasure in Spring Lake will continue. "I have a beloved home in Spring Lake," she said, "and my family gathers here annually. I will never leave West Michigan completely. The difference is that my horses won't need to go back and forth, I can come to Michigan and enjoy my time here and not work quite so hard."
"Donating Hampton Green Farm to Lilley Cares is the culmination of a dream of mine: turning this beautiful farm into a nonprofit venue and a place to work with our local charities who do so much for this community. This decision is so much better than selling the property and losing its mission."
The plan, according to Hampton Green Farm representatives, is to invite other nonprofit equestrian organizations to come to HGF and hold events, to bring their people together to focus on their mission, as well as continuing to offer the farm and a place for events and clinics. "We've had some great events out here," said Ms Van Kampen, "some have been coming every year for over 10 years. We want to keep those relationships alive and healthy." Lilley Cares will take over management of the farm in the summer of 2024. Nonprofits interested in holding events at Hampton Green Farm are encouraged to contact Joan Mack through the Lilley Cares website. "We don't have all the details in place yet," reported Mack, "but we hope to be ready to host events by July 2024."