Fifty-four Sonoma County non-profit organizations will benefit from nearly $380,000 in grants recently awarded by the Sonoma chapter of Speedway Children’s Charities (SCC), the charitable arm of Sonoma Raceway.
In total, $378,000 was distributed to youth-serving organizations in Sonoma County, bringing the chapter’s total distribution of funds to nearly $6.8 million since 2001. The amount raised this fiscal year includes $30,000 donated to the Fire Resilience Fund by Comcast after Sonoma Raceway President and General Manager Steve Page was named as a finalist for the 2018 Comcast Community Champion of the Year Award. The Fire Resilience fund supports youth-serving non-profit organizations that continue to work on recovery and rebuilding after the 2017 Northern California fires. The chapter’s Board of Trustees recently approved the distribution of 2019 funds at its annual meeting.
“The Sonoma Chapter of Speedway Children’s Charities grant for the Family Support Center is a key source of funding enabling us to provide preschool and educational support to the most vulnerable families in our community,” said Toni Horde Abraham, Children’s Resource Manager, Catholic Charities of Santa Rosa.
“Additionally, the Fire Resilience Grant will help fund the development of Catholic Charities’ Disaster Preparedness Plan for the Family Support Center, the largest family emergency shelter serving homeless families with children north of the Golden Gate to the Oregon border,” said Len Marabella, Executive Director, Catholic Charities of Santa Rosa. “Clearly, such a plan is needed now more than ever, especially for this highly-vulnerable population that lacks a safety net.”
SCC’s success was due to several fundraising events and partnerships in 2019, the majority of which are held during the raceway’s major-event weekends, including NASCAR and NHRA race weekends. The highlight of the year included the Speedway Children’s Charities NASCAR Banquet and its Fund-a-Need fundraiser at Viansa Sonoma, which combined to raise $145,000 during the Toyota/Save Mart 350 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series weekend in June. SCC’s NASCAR live auction at the banquet combined with its online charity auction raised more than $28,000 in donations prior to race weekend.
The 13th annual Eric Medlen Nitro Night, which is held Thursday evening prior to the NHRA Sonoma Nationals at Viansa Sonoma, honored Funny Car driver Jack Beckman with the Eric Medlen Spirit Award and generated another $20,000 for the Sonoma chapter. Additionally, SCC launched its first SCC Red Bucket Brigade sponsored by First Republic Bank on Friday evening. Volunteers from First Republic Bank and Sonoma Raceway filled the grandstands to pass red donation buckets through the crowds, which raised more than $9,300 for Sonoma County children.
SCC is also the beneficiary of the Classic Sports Racing Group’s (CSRG) Charity Challenge, which netted $20,000 for Sonoma County non-profits from its 2018 race weekend. This brings CSRG’s donations to SCC to more than $960,000 since 2004.
SCC is also supported by 14 businesses that serve as Children’s Champions sponsors, including Ahlborn Fence & Steel, Inc., American Asphalt, Beck Communications, Bleyco Inc., Blue Star Gas, CSW/Stuber Stroeh Engineering Group, ESP & Alarm Inc., LifeWest, Inc., Kaiser Permanente, Ramekins, Pacific Highway Rentals, Pacific Satellite Inc., United Site Services and Verizon.
“Thanks to Speedway Children’s Charities, over 400 children, including those in our county’s child welfare system and children impacted by the 2017 wildfires, will manage their grief and trauma through our horticulture-assisted therapy program, called Project HOME: Healthy Organic Meals & Education,” said Carol Rathmann, executive director of Forget Me Not Children’s Services. “The generosity of Speedway Children’s Charities will also allow us to provide animal- and horticultural-assisted therapy for 120 child fire survivors suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder. Most of these children lived in fire-affected areas or lost family members in the fire. By providing this therapy, we will be able to provide a unique and powerful form of healing and hope for these child fire survivors as they and their families and friends rebuild their lives.”
The Sonoma Chapter of Speedway Children’s Charities is part of a national non-profit organization dedicated to raising funds for qualified children’s organizations. Founded in 1984 by Bruton Smith, chairman of Speedway Motorsports, SCC originated at Charlotte Motor Speedway in North Carolina and the Sonoma chapter is one of eight chapters at Speedway Motorsports facilities throughout the country. Since its inception, SCC Chapters have cumulatively distributed more than $55.3 million nationally to youth-serving organizations.
The following Sonoma County youth groups will receive funding from Speedway Children’s Charities in 2019: 10,000 Degrees, Action Network, Art Escape; Boys & Girls Clubs of Central Sonoma County; Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Santa Rosa, Inc.; California Parenting Institute; Inc.; Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Santa Rosa; Ceres Community Project; Committee On The Shelterless; Community Action Partnership of Sonoma County; Conservation Corps North Bay; Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) of Sonoma County; Food for Thought; Forget Me Not Children’s Services; Friends in Sonoma Helping (F.I.S.H.); Girl Scouts of Northern California; Girls on the Run Sonoma County; Hanna Boys Center; Hope Counseling Services; Individuals NOW dba Social Advocates for Youth; Jewish Community Free Clinic; Kid Scoop News; Legal Aid of Sonoma County; LifeWorks of Sonoma County; LIME Foundation; Luther Burbank Memorial Foundation; Matrix, A Parent Network and Resource Center; Mentor Me; On The Move; Paws As Loving Support Assistance Dogs; Petaluma Health Center; Petaluma People Services Center; Petaluma Policing Foundation; Power to Soar Foundation; Presbyterian Church of the Roses; Redwood Empire Food Bank; River to Coast Children’s Services; Roseland Charter School; Santa Rosa Symphony Association; SEEDS (dba Seeds of Awareness); Sonoma County Public Library Foundation; Sonoma Ecology Center; Sonoma Valley Mentoring Alliance; Sonoma Valley Teen Services; Sunny Hills Services; Support Our Students; The Center for Social and Environmental Stewardship; The Living Room Center, Inc.; The Salvation Army; Transcendence Theater Company; Valley of the Moon Children’s Home Foundation; Verity – Compassion.Safety.Support; and the Young Women’s Christian Association.