Editor’s note: This is the second installment of a four-part series on the four finalists for The NASCAR Foundation’s 10th annual Betty Jane France Humanitarian Award.
While there are Boys & Girls Clubs across the United States and Charlene Greer would be the first to encourage anyone to volunteer, her work with the Boys & Girls Clubs of Volusia/Flagler is particularly extraordinary. She was first introduced to the organization in 2012 while volunteering for another local non-profit, Jeep Beach. That exposure led her to support “charity helping charity” and has since provided nearly $500,000 to the organization.
Greer lends nearly 120 hours each month in support of the Boys & Girls Club, and that isn’t just operational funding but also her vision and execution of special activities that directly benefit the students. She could be devoting time mentoring children at one of the club’s eight locations after school, which is her favorite role, participating in a board meeting or advocating for the cause while meeting with local elected officials and community leaders. Her fundraising efforts are likely the most widely recognized as her support wholly funds the Boys & Girls Club’s annual Honor Roll Banquet and Christmas party.
What drives Greer’s incredible passion for community service?
“It gives me hope in our future,” she said more than once.
Greer’s colleagues tout her can-do attitude and inherent ability to recognize a need and fill it.
She gets especially excited when discussing the Boys & Girls Club’s annual Christmas party for which she fulfills the students’ wish lists and delivers the gifts creatively every year. Whether it’s Santa bringing the toys on a wagon, the Budweiser Clydesdale horses parading for the children or taking hot laps around Daytona International Speedway, they’re sure to be delighted.
Greer, from Ormond Beach, Florida, is one of four most-deserving finalists for The NASCAR Foundation’s 10th annual Betty Jane France Humanitarian Award. The award, named in honor of the foundation’s late founder and chairwoman, honors NASCAR fans who are accomplished volunteers working for children’s causes in their communities throughout the United States.
A lifelong NASCAR fan, Greer grew up spending weekends at the track with her father, a motorsports mechanic. Some of her fondest memories are witnessing Bill Elliott go from being known as “Awesome Bill from Dawsonville” to “Million Dollar Bill” with his win at Darlington Raceway in 1985 over Labor Day weekend to her first time attending the Daytona 500, now her home track.
“When you have the opportunity to work with these children, it’s hope, it’s happiness and it’s encouragement for me and it drives me to work even harder for them,” Greer said. “… I would encourage anyone who has the time, the talents, the ability to mentor these children. … It is life changing.”
The winner of the Betty Jane France Humanitarian Award will be determined via an online fan vote that is ongoing through Nov. 4 until noon ET at NASCARfoundation.org/Award. The winner will be announced virtually Nov. 5. Each of the finalists is guaranteed a minimum donation of $25,000 from The NASCAR Foundation, with the overall winner receiving a $100,000 donation from The NASCAR Foundation.
If Greer wins, children living with disadvantaged circumstances will benefit. The resulting $100,000 donation would cover the costs to transport all of the more than 1,400 children safely to the eight clubs after school utilizing bus transportation. With 87 percent of its members on free or reduced lunch and the club’s motto to never turn any child away for their inability to pay, this would help the children to realize their full potential.