NASCAR drivers have a longstanding reputation for giving back to their communities, but you may not know the great lengths to which some drivers have gone to support certain charities. Here's a gallery showcasing the philanthropic efforts of several of the sport's biggest stars and others who are lesser-known.
Dale Earnhardt Jr.
Founded in 2007, the Dale Jr. Foundation has raised more than $4.2 million for charitable causes and granted more than 230 Wishes through Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s partnership with Make A Wish. The foundation is a charity dedicated to giving underprivileged individuals, with a focus on youth, the resources to improve their confidence and education and the opportunity to achieve extraordinary goals. The 'Win Dale Jr.’s Ride' charity raffle has given away cars the past five years. This year, the foundation started the 'Driven to Give Gloves' program where Earnhardt Jr. wears a different color of gloves each month to raise money for a different charity.
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The Kyle Busch Foundation (KBF) supports various charities across the U.S. Signature events include a prom dress drive and match program and Christmas wish list fulfillment for underprivileged children across the U.S. In 2013, KBF expanded its efforts to fundraise for the Pretty In Pink Foundation, which pays for the medical costs of men and women with breast cancer who are uninsured or under-insured. The KBF found synergies with Pretty In Pink because staggering medical costs can take away from supporting a family’s expenses, which can directly effect children’s day-to-day needs and wants.
The Jeff Gordon Children’s Foundation has grown into an organization that has raised more than $15 million for children's health organizations since its establishment 16 years ago. In 2011, the foundation extended efforts globally to bring pediatric cancer care to Rwanda, Africa. The mission of the foundation is to support children battling cancer by funding programs that improve patients’ quality of life, treatment programs that increase survivorship and pediatric medical research dedicated to finding a cure. In addition, the foundation provides support to the Jeff Gordon’s Children’s Hospital in Concord, North Carolina, which serves children in the community by providing a high level of primary and specialty care, regardless of their ability to pay.
The Tony Stewart Foundation's goal is to raise funds primarily distributed to serving three specific groups – chronically ill and physically disabled children, animals that are endangered or at-risk and drivers injured in the sport of motor racing. To date, the foundation has awarded more than $5 million to assist charitable initiatives for more than 150 organizations throughout the United States. In 2013, Stewart earned the prestigious NMPA Myers Brothers award, which recognizes outstanding contributions to the sport of stock-car racing.
The Greg Biffle Foundation was founded in 2005 by Greg and Nicole Biffle to create awareness and serve as advocates to improve the well-being of animals by engaging the power and passion of the motor sports industry. Financial support for the foundation comes from a variety of sources including individual contributions along with the sale of NASCAR Pets calendars and various racing and other sports memorabilia. Since its creation, the foundation has awarded grants to over 700 humane societies and no-kill shelters from coast to coast.
Chandra and Jimmie Johnson launched the Jimmie Johnson Foundation in 2006. To date, more than $7.7 million has been contributed to various organizations. The foundation focuses on funding K-12 public education, primarily through the Jimmie Johnson Foundation/Lowe’s Toolbox for Education Champions Grants program. Champions Grants have been awarded to 84 schools located in California, Oklahoma and North Carolina, where the Johnsons grew up and currently reside.
The Denny Hamlin Foundation is committed to raising awareness and funds for the specific needs of children with cystic fibrosis. Each year, Hamlin hosts the Denny Hamlin Short Track Showdown, at South Boston (Virginia) Speedway in 2015, as well as the Pro-Am Jam celebrity golf tournament in Charleston, South Carolina. Additionally, through his partnership with sponsor FedEx, Hamlin has participated in a wide range of charitable efforts, including with the American Red Cross, Autism Speaks, the Salvation Army and the March of Dimes. In 2013, Hamlin became the fourth recipient of the March of Dimes 'Champion for Babies' Award, joining Arnold Palmer, Joe Namath and Greg Gumbel.
Shriners Hospitals for Children is changing lives every day through innovative pediatric specialty care, world-class research and outstanding medical education. Twenty-two locations in the United States, Canada and Mexico, provide advanced care for children with orthopaedic conditions, burns, spinal cord injuries and cleft lip and palate. David Ragan has been a Shriner for several years and has raised more than $150,000 for the hospitals through various events. He also regularly hosts patients at the track and visits kids in the hospitals.
Martin Truex Jr.
The Martin Truex Jr. Foundation partners with organizations that are limited in funding and visibility but that touch the lives of children stricken by illness, neglect and poverty. Started in 2007 by Martin and longtime girlfriend Sherry Pollex, the foundation has raised more than $2,000,000 to impact charities in North Carolina and in Martin’s home state of New Jersey. The foundation's largest annual fundraiser is 'Catwalk for a Cause,' which is the unofficial kickoff to the May race weeks in Charlotte, North Carolina with proceeds going to support childhood cancer and cancer research programs.
Ryan and Krissie Newman established the Ryan Newman Foundation in 2005 to educate and encourage people to spay or neuter their pets and to adopt dogs and cats from animal shelters; to educate children and adults about the importance of conservation so the beauty of the great outdoors can be appreciated by future generations; and to provide college scholarship funding through the Rich Vogler Scholarship program. Rescue Ranch, created by the Newmans in 2012, is a nonprofit animal welfare organization in Statesville, North Carolina. Through its educational programs, the organization promotes respect for all animals as well as agricultural, environmental and wildlife conservation; and facilitates rehabilitation, rescue and responsible pet ownership in order to enhance the human-animal bond.
Kyle Larson has done charity work with the Jeff Gordon Children’s Foundation 'Kick-It' program to fight children’s cancer. Larson has also been involved with Target House, a home for families and patients who are undergoing extended treatment at St. Jude Children’s Hospital in Memphis, Tennessee.
Brad Keselowski’s Checkered Flag Foundation was incorporated in late July 2010. The foundation strives to support those individuals who have sacrificed greatly, to include military members, veterans, first-responders and their families, among others. Since its inception, CFF has hosted or participated in events with the Wounded Warrior Project, the Armed Forces Foundation, The Paralyzed Veterans of America, the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation and the Detroit F.I.R.E. benefit team.
NASCAR via Getty ImagesRainier Ehrhardt
Since its inception in 2013, the Joey Logano Foundation has been able to impact hundreds of lives throughout the United States. The Joey Logano Foundation prides itself on its mission which is to inspire and assemble the NASCAR community to assist those across the nation who are in need of a second chance due to natural or human disaster. Some of the many organizations that we have supported and continue to support include Folds of Honor, Michael’s Way, Dream on 3, and Paralyzed Veterans of America. In order to continue giving back to those who are in need, the Joey Logano Foundation is hosting the inagural Racing for Hope charity golf tournament, auction and dinner in Logano’s home state of Connecticut on July 16.
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The 79 Fund was established by Emporia native Clint Bowyer to benefit the children of Emporia, Kansas, through the Emporia Community Foundation. In its eighth year, the 'Clint Bowyer’s Support Emporia Charity Event' -- a golf tournament and dinner auction -- has helped raise more than $2 million for the fund. In addition to constructing the Clint Bowyer Community Building, a multi-purpose community center, gifts have been awarded to a number of other Emporia-related causes from outfitting children with school backpacks to shoes for the needy at Christmas and allowing children 16 and under to swim for free at the Emporia Aquatic Center.
Getty ImagesJerry Markland
Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
Ricky Stenhouse Jr. has supported the Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, Ohio since 2011 when he first visited after winning the Nationwide Series title. Stenhouse and his team made a return visit in 2012 after Stenhouse's second championship, meeting patients and their families as part of 'Nationwide Champions Day.' Due to the impact of the kids during his visits and his growing relationship with Nationwide, Stenhouse continues to support the hospital.
The Jamie McMurray Foundation (JMF), established in 2006, promotes awareness of, and raises funding for, the research, education, and support for individuals and families afflicted with autism. JMF is dedicated to bringing the financial backing and support of the NASCAR community, together with the passion and commitment of the autism community, to promote better understanding of this challenging disability. JMF has also supported the Ronald McDonald House Charities since becoming partners with McDonald’s in 2010.
Getty ImagesTasos Katopodis
Casey Mears and his wife, Trish, are heavily involved with the Charlotte Rescue Mission near their home in Charlotte, North Carolina. Founded in 1938, the Charlotte Rescue Mission provides Christian-based residential recovery programs that help those struggling with addiction achieve long-term sobriety, find employment and stable housing, and restore and build healthy relationships. Casey and Trish have put a lot of time, effort and hard work, including physical labor, into he Charlotte Rescue Mission which includes a 90-day residential program, known as 'Rebound,' aimed at helping men move beyond cycles of homelessness and addiction to become productive citizens in the community. Similar to Rebound, 'Dove’s Nest' provides comprehensive addiction recovery services for women.
Sam Hornish Jr.
Sam Hornish Jr. supports Victory Junction, a camp started by Kyle and Pattie Petty that enriches the lives of children with chronic medical conditions or serious illness by providing life-changing camp experiences that are exciting, fun and empowering -- all in a medically-sound environment at no cost to the camper or their family. Located in Randleman, North Carolina, Victory Junction is spread across 84 acres, allowing children to do what they do best: Be kids, play, imagine, make friends and enjoy the adventures and experiences of camp life.
Michael Annett is the honorary chairman of the annual Iowa St. Jude Tournament of Hope that unites golfers of all skill levels, playing 18 holes to make an impact on the lives of children suffering from life-threatening diseases in Iowa and around the world. By supporting the event, participants join St. Jude in finding cures and saving children.
Todd Hugen Photography
J.J. Yeley supports the Ella Foard Foundation that benefits Rhett Syndrome, a neurodevelopmenal disorder that is characterized by normal early growth and development followed by a slowing of development, loss of purposeful use of the hands, distinctive hand movements, slowed brain and head growth, problems with walking, seizures, and intellectual disability.
Matt DiBenedetto supports 'Hope For The Warriors,' which provides assistance to combat wounded service members, their families and families of those killed in action.