Fifty-five Sonoma County non-profit organizations will benefit from nearly $450,000 in grants recently awarded by the Sonoma chapter of Speedway Children’s Charities (SCC), the charitable arm of Sonoma Raceway.
In total, $448,000 was distributed to youth-serving organizations in Sonoma County, bringing the chapter’s total distribution of funds to just over $6.4 million since 2001. The amount raised this fiscal year marks $40,000 more than 2017 and included $60,000 that was donated directly to the new Wildfire Relief Fund. This fund, which was the result of generous donations following the October 2017 wildfires, specifically funded youth-serving non-profit organizations that are continuing to work on recovery and rebuilding after the fires. The chapter’s Board of Trustees recently approved the distribution of 2018 funds at its annual meeting.
“Every student hired from our NextGen Trades Academy is working with a contractor working to rebuild Sonoma County,” said Letitia Hanke, president of The LIME Foundation, which received a grant from the Wildfire Relief Fund. “This funding is going to help us have an additional class of students, build a tiny house and give our students even more hands-on experience for our contractors, and it’s beautiful.”
SCC’s success was due to several unique fundraising events and partnerships in 2018, the majority of which are held during the raceway’s major-event weekends, including NASCAR, NHRA and INDYCAR. The highlight of the year included the Children’s Champions NASCAR Banquet and its live auction, which combined to raise $107,000 during the Toyota/Save Mart 350 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series weekend in June. SCC’s NASCAR online charity auction raised more than $24,000 in donations prior to race weekend.
The Grand Prix Salute Banquet, held prior to the INDYCAR Grand Prix of Sonoma, generated another $67,000 for the Sonoma chapter and the 12th annual Eric Medlen Nitro Night which honored Funny Car Driver Ron Capps held the Thursday prior to the Toyota NHRA Sonoma Nationals netted an additional $17,000 for SCC.
SCC is also the beneficiary of the Classic Sports Racing Group’s Charity Challenge, which netted $60,000 for Sonoma County non-profits in 2017. This brings CSRG’s donations to SCC to more than $920,000 since 2004.
The Wildfire Relief Fund was primarily supported by a generous donation from a Bay Area Fire Relief charity ice hockey game hosted by the San Jose Sharks Alumni Foundation and the Northbay Guns-N-Hoses Hockey Club, as well as a Fund-a-Need live auction at the NASCAR Charity Banquet in June. The wild and wacky 24 Hours of Lemons series donated another $23,000 to the SCC Wildfire Relief Fund following its event weekends.
SCC is also supported by 16 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, Monument Security Inc., Pacific Highway Rentals, Pacific Satellite Inc., Pacific Gas & Electric, United Site Services and Verizon.
“This grant helps us continue to provide evidence-based programing to the youth and families in our community,” said Elece Hempel, executive director of Petaluma People Services Center. “The support is truly upstream. If we are successful with the families we work with, PPSC may never have to work with that family again, which is sign that the ‘safety-net’ works!”
Speedway Children’s Charities is a non-profit organization dedicated to raising funds for qualified children’s organizations. Founded in 1984 by Bruton Smith, chairman of Speedway Motorsports Inc., SCC originated at Charlotte Motor Speedway in North Carolina and is one of eight chapters at SMI facilities throughout the country.
The following Sonoma County youth groups will receive funding from Speedway Children’s Charities in 2018: Art Escape; Boys & Girls Clubs of Central Sonoma County; Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Santa Rosa, Inc.; Boys & Girls Clubs of Sonoma Valley; California Parenting Institute; Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) of Sonoma County, 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; DeMeo Teen Club Inc.; Fence at the Top; 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 Inc. Social Advocates for Youth; Jewish Community Free Clinic; Kid Scoop News; La Luz Center; Land Paths; Legal Aid of Sonoma County; LifeWorks of Sonoma County; LIME Foundation; Luther Burbank Memorial Foundation; Matrix, A Parent Network and Resource Center; Mentor Me; North Bay Children’s Center, Inc.; On The Move; Paws As Loving Support Assistance Dogs ; Pediatric Dental Initiative of the North Coast; Petaluma People Services Center; Petaluma Policing Foundation; Presbyterian Church of the Roses; Redwood Empire Food Bank; River to Coast Children’s Services; Roseland Charter School; SEEDS (dba Seeds of Awareness); Sonoma County Public Library Foundation; Sonoma Ecology Center; Sonoma Valley Education Foundation; Sonoma Valley Mentoring Alliance; Sonoma Valley Teen Services; Sunny Hills Services; Support Our Students; The Living Room Center, Inc.; The Salvation Army; Verity – Compassion.Safety.Support; West County Community Services and the Young Women’s Christian Association of Sonoma County.