The NASCAR Foundation celebrates 15 years of giving
By Staff Report | Thursday, April 15, 2021
Tom Pennington | Getty Images
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The NASCAR Foundation celebrated its 15th anniversary Thursday, on the birthday of its founder and chairwoman emeritus, the late Betty Jane France. Scroll through the gallery to learn more about The NASCAR Foundation and how it has helped children over those years.
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Since 2006, The NASCAR Foundation has served more than 1.4 million kids and pledged nearly $40 million in support. This photo is from founder's day back in 2006.
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The Betty Jane France Humanitarian Award has been one of the most recognized programs for The NASCAR Foundation. The award, which is given annually to a NASCAR fan who is doing outstanding work in the area of helping children, celebrated its 10th year in 2020.
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The Speediatrics Children's Fund has also been a pillar of strength among The NASCAR Foundation's programs. Recently, the Speediatrics Fun Day Festivals, held at select NASCAR tracks around race weekends, have been part of that program and provided kids with healthy activities through the lens of NASCAR.
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The High Speed Hold 'Em Poker Tournament has been a key fundraiser for The NASCAR Foundation. Last year's event was held virtually due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
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Betty Jane France's vision was to bring the color and excitement of NASCAR into the hospital setting in order to provide an environment for kids that was more conducive to healing. Now her grandson, Ben Kennedy, is among those carrying on her legacy of helping children's causes.
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Children compete in the tire roll at the Speediatrics Fun Day Festival. The program started in three markets in 2017, but it is expanding into eight markets during 2021.
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The NASCAR Foundation has hosted children at NASCAR events and brought them into the garage area, where they get a firsthand look from crew members of how the sport works from behind the scenes.
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Part of that education includes a hands-on approach, where children get the feel for what it's like to be on a NASCAR pit crew.
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The Betty Jane France Humanitarian Award has granted $1,770,000 to the charities for 40 award finalists, who have in turn been able to help 354,647 children with those funds.
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NASCAR Hall of Famer Rusty Wallace is on the NASCAR Foundation's Board of Directors, along with NASCAR Vice Chairman Mike Helton.
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The NASCAR Foundation's Speedy Bear Brigade brings teddy bears to children in the hospital. Donate $25 and your bear will be on the way to make someone's day a little brighter as they continue along the path of healing. Visit The NASCAR Foundation's website to learn more.