Sonoma Chapter of Speedway Children's Charities Distributes Nearly 380,000 Dollars to Sonoma County Youth Groups
Fifty-five Sonoma County non-profit organizations will benefit from nearly $380,000 in grants that were recently awarded by the Sonoma chapter of Speedway Children's Charities (SCC), the charitable arm of Sonoma Raceway.
In total, $379,357 was distributed to youth-serving organizations in Sonoma County, bringing the chapter's grand total to more than $5.1 million granted to Sonoma County youth groups since 2001.The chapter's Board of Trustees recently approved the distribution of 2015 funds at its annual meeting.
SCC raised $387,268 through 13 fundraising events in 2015, an increase of more than $130,000 from the prior year. The monies were primarily generated through events held during the raceway's major-event weekends, including NASCAR, NHRA and IndyCar. Highlights of the year included the Children's Champions NASCAR Grand Marshal's Banquet and the Ride of a Lifetime NASCAR Charity Auction, which combined to raise more than $95,000 during the Toyota/Save Mart 350 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series weekend in June. The 11th annual Classic Sports Racing Group's (CSRG) Charity Challenge generated another $37,300 for the Sonoma chapter and the 21st annual 3J's Motorcycle Track Day helped raise an additional $20,500.
"YouThrive greatly appreciates the support of Sonoma Raceway and Speedway Children's Charities over the past eight years," said Bob Florez, director of the YouThrive Program at Sunny Hills Services. "Through this support, we have been able to enrich and expose many young people to opportunities to develop more well rounded and pro-social skills. We have been able to do this through our counseling groups and outdoor wilderness trips and also through exposure to the racing community and its events at Sonoma Raceway."
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 now boasts eight chapters at SMI facilities throughout the country.
The following 55 Sonoma County youth groups will receive funding from Speedway Children's Charities in 2015: Big Brothers Big Sisters of the North Bay; Boys and Girls Club of Central Sonoma County; Boys and Girls Club of Sonoma Valley; California Parenting Institute; Committee on the Shelterless (COTS); Community Action Partnership of Sonoma County; Conservation Corps North Bay; Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) of Sonoma County; DeMeo Teen Club Inc.; Fence at the Top, Inc.; Forget Me Not Children's Services; Friends in Sonoma Helping; Girl Scouts of Northern California; Girls on the Run Sonoma County; Habitat for Humanity International Inc.; Hanna Boys Center; The Healthy Community Consortium; Hope Counseling Services; Jewish Community Free Clinic; La Luz Center; LandPaths; Legal Aid of Sonoma County; LifeWorks of Sonoma County; Loco Bloco; Martial Arts Youth Institute; Matrix, a Parent Network and Resource Center; McDowell Drug Task Force; Mentor Me Petaluma; New Vision Santa Rosa Foundation; North Bay Children's Center, Inc.; On the Move; Pediatric Dental Initiative of the North Coast; Petaluma Health Center; Petaluma People Services Center; Polly Klaas Foundation; Presbyterian Church of the Roses; Redwood Empire Food Bank; Redwood Empire Foster Parent Association; River to Coast Children's Services; Roseland Charter School; Santa Rosa Community Health Centers; Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital; Social Advocates for Youth (SAY); Sonoma County Family YMCA; Sonoma County Public Library Foundation; Sonoma Valley Education Foundation; Sonoma Valley Education Foundation (Sonoma Valley School Garden Project); Sonoma Valley Mentoring Alliance; Sunny Hills Services; Teen Services Sonoma; The Ceres Community Project; The Living Room; The Salvation Army; Valley of the Moon Children's Home Foundation; Verity and the Young Women's Christian Association of Sonoma County.
Sonoma Chapter Welcomes Gary Tennyson and John Burns to Speedway Children's Charities Board of Trustees
The Sonoma Chapter of Speedway Children's Charities (SCC) has named Gary Tennyson and John Burns to its Board of Trustees.
Gary Tennyson is the CEO of verihealth, Inc., which he founded in 2000. verihealth is a patient-focused and community-centered healthcare organization providing all levels of ground ambulance service, as well as education and training for healthcare workers and community members. verihealth is also the Official Emergency Services Provider of Sonoma Raceway, and in 2014, verihealth, Inc. became one of Speedway Children's Charities Children's Champions. Along with verihealth, the verihealth Foundation provides assistance to local charitable organizations. Gary is a longtime Sonoma County resident.
John Burns is publisher of the Petaluma Argus-Courier and Sonoma Index-Tribune. A 1980 graduate of Cal Berkeley, John began work as a reporter with the Sebastopol Times, later serving as that newspaper's editor before starting his own newspaper, the West County News, in 1984. John is currently serving as immediate past president of the California Newspaper Publishers Association, a trade organization representing more than 800 daily, weekly and campus newspapers across the state. A native of Connecticut, John has a strong interest in economic development and has served on the board of directors for the Sebastopol, Novato and Petaluma chambers of commerce. He was president of the Petaluma Chamber of Commerce in 2003-2004. A Sonoma County resident for more than 30 years, John is married to Jayne, and has two children, Harrison and Julia.
The Sonoma Chapter of Speedway Children's Charities is the charitable arm of Sonoma Raceway and has distributed more than $4.8 million to Sonoma County youth-serving organizations since 2001. For more information on the chapter, visit www.racesonoma.com/scc.
Forty-eight Sonoma County non-profit organizations will benefit from nearly $300,000 that was generated during the 2014 motor-racing season at Sonoma Raceway. The Sonoma Chapter of Speedway Children's Charities (SCC), the raceway's charitable arm, raised $294,158 to help children in need through 12 fundraising events in 2014, an increase of more than $58,000 from the prior year.
The monies were generated through events held during the raceway's major-event weekends, including NASCAR, NHRA and INDYCAR. Highlights of the year included the Children's Champions NASCAR Grand Marshal's Banquet and the Ride of a Lifetime NASCAR Charity Auction, which combined to raise more than $80,000 during the Toyota/Save Mart 350 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series weekend in June. The Indy Grand Prix Salute, a partnership between SCC and the Andretti Foundation, generated more than $30,000 for SCC. The 10th annual Classic Sports Racing Group's (CSRG) Charity Challenge generated another $39,800 for the Sonoma chapter and a 3J's Motorcycle Track Day raised an additional $21,846.
Forty-eight Sonoma County non-profits received grants totaling more than $266,846 from the Sonoma chapter, the majority of which were distributed to Sonoma County youth groups at the chapter's annual Board of Trustees meeting in mid-November. The chapter has distributed $4.8 million to Sonoma County youth groups since 2001.
In addition to financial grants, the Redwood Empire Food Bank received a donation of two truckloads of food, household necessities and personal-care items valued at $25,000 via SCC's partnership with Feed the Children.
Cheri Plattner has been named Community Events Manager at Sonoma Raceway, where she will take over responsibility for the raceway's charitable fundraising, grant distribution and other community outreach programs.
Cheri will oversee the planning and production of the raceway's fundraising events and administer the annual distribution of grants from the Sonoma chapter of Speedway Children's Charities. The local chapter has donated more than $4.5 million to youth-serving organizations in Sonoma County since 2001.
She will also serve as the liaison to the local chapter's Board of Trustees, as well as the National Chapter Director of Speedway Children's Charities in Charlotte, N.C.
Before joining the raceway team, Plattner worked for 13 years at Hospice of Petaluma, most recently as Fund Development and Event Coordinator. In that role, she helped raise more than $2.4 million through some of the organization's signature events, including Clo's Golf Classic and Light Up a Life.
"Cheri’s local roots and her years of experience in the Sonoma County non-profit community are going to be huge assets as she takes on this position," said Steve Page, Sonoma Raceway president and general manager. "We are very excited about the new energy and ideas she will bring to the raceway and our efforts to support youth-serving organizations in our community."
In her new role, she will also help organize and stage other community programs held at the raceway highlighted by the High-Speed Toy Drive and annual Race to the Holidays Children’s Christmas Party.
Cheri is also actively involved in several North Bay organizations, including the Benedetti Leadership Committee and the Petaluma Education Foundation Committee. She has been rooted in Sonoma County for more than 35 years.
Some of the upcoming Speedway Children’s Charities fundraisers she will facilitate include the upcoming NHRA Tour de Charity karting event (March 22), the NASCAR Grand Marshal’s Banquet, NASCAR Charity Auction, the Eric Medlen Nitro Night Dinner and the INDYCAR Grand Prix Salute.
Where has the time gone? Spring is flying by, and we’re in the midst of getting ready for a very busy season.
As mentioned in my last newsletter, the 10th annual NHRA Tour de Charity was held on March 24. This was the first Speedway Children’s Charities event of the season and was a huge success despite the rain. It was a sell out and all the drivers loved racing in the rain! We raised $12,300, bringing the 10-year total for the event to nearly $110,000.
Over the same weekend, we also participated in the 24 Hours of LeMons event. We collected close to $3,000 in “penalty” money from the drivers and will receive a percentage of the gate sales.
CSRG (Classic Sports Racing Group) was at the raceway the last weekend in March and we held a reception for them on Saturday, March 31. Needless to say, this organization has embraced Speedway Children’s Charities the past eight years and has donated more than $500,000. The group will return in October for the Charity Challenge.
We will soon take delivery of a brand new 2012 Kandi ATV! It was donated by some “Friends of SCC” and we will be selling raffle tickets for a chance to win the ATV throughout the entire racing season. We will draw the winning ticket on Sunday, August 26, of the Indy Grand Prix of Sonoma weekend.
Another event coming up is 3J’s Motorcycle Track Day on Wednesday, May 2. It is a fun day for motorcycle riders to enjoy the twists and turns of the race track while raising funds for Speedway Children’s Charities. The track day includes morning and afternoon sessions, catered lunch, T-shirt, evening reception and a very cool raffle. Over the past 16 years, this event has raised more than $115,000 for SCC.
I will be getting out the 2012 site visit assignments soon. Thank you in advance for taking the time to visit your organization.
Thank you, as always, for your participation with Speedway Children’s Charities.
Community Events Coordinator
Well it is only February and things are beginning to spring up here at the raceway. We began the month with Jon Norman from CSRG (Classic Sports Racing Group) sending us a check for $35,000!
CSRG, a vintage car racing group, held their event at the track last fall and donated all proceeds from their Charity Challenge weekend to Speedway Children’s Charities. This brings their contribution to SCC to more than $500,000 during the past eight years.
I have some other great news. We have won the prestigious Gordon Martin Award, distributed annually by the National Motorsports Press Association. This is one of the association’s highest honors and is named after the long-time San Francisco Chronicle motor-sports writer. We were chosen based on our charitable efforts and the great work we do in our community.
As we move on, we have two exciting events scheduled. The 10th annual Tour de Charity will be held on Saturday, March 24. This is our first SCC event of the season and has always been a sell out. The day includes a full day of karting on our 16 turn three quarter mile kart track, instruction, equipment and lunch plus a chance to “hang out” with NHRA Funny Car drivers Ron Capps and Jack Beckman. Feel free to contact me if you want to sign up for this very exciting event.
Also on the same weekend will be the 24 Hours of LeMons event. To say the least, this is a rather unique group of cars that come out to race and also donate to SCC. Their slogan is “where Halloween meets Gasoline”. You might want to check out their website: 24HoursofLeMons.com since you have to see it to believe it!
This brings you up to date for now!
Community Events Coordinator
The Infineon Raceway chapter of Speedway Children's Charities Board of Trustees met last month to review all the grant applications. We raised over $270,000 and were able to fund 38 Sonoma County non-profit organizations.
We are proud to report that our chapter of SCC has distributed more than $4 million since 2001!
We are now in the midst of getting our High-Powered Toy Drive and 7th annual Race to the Holidays Children's Christmas Party into gear. All items collected during the toy drive will be used at the Christmas Party, which we will host at the raceway for more than 250 Sonoma Valley children. Santa will be here with his elves to distribute toys. We will have face painting as well as balloon art and animals. Lunch will be served after all the festivities!
We are also hosting the third annual reception for our grant recipients in mid- December. This is an opportunity for all of our Trustees to meet the representatives from the various organizations that we have funded.
If you would like to get involved with our chapter, please feel free to contact me.
I wish you all a Happy Holiday season.
Community Events Coordinator
It may be October, but we are still busy and ready to throw the checkered flag on 2011 with a bang.
The Classic Sports Racing Group hosted its annual Charity Challenge event at Infineon Raceway, October 1-2, with a full weekend of vintage car racing on the road course. This group has generated close to $500,000 over the past seven years for Speedway Children's Charities, and all proceeds from this year's event will also come to the charity.
We do not have a final amount generated from the weekend events, but I am hopeful that it will be comparable to past years. In addition to the great race weekend, CSRG also had a reception on Friday night at the Simraceway Performance Driving Center building, which included a lively auction!
Speedway Children's Charities also hosted a reception for CSRG members and their families on Saturday evening here at the track. It was a chance for us to say thank you for their support. Needless to say, a good time was had by all!
Next on the SCC calendar is the return of 24 Hours of LeMons. They will be here over the weekend of Oct. 22-23 with their outrageous costumes and cars. So far this year, this group of wacky car enthusiasts has donated over $11,469.
Our grant applications were due on September 30, and this year we received 54 requests for funds. This is less than in past years but, we sent a letter to all of our non-profit organizations informing them that our main priorities for this year's funding would be health and nutrition, basic family services and leadership.
We also will be hosting the third annual reception for our grant recipients and Trustees in early December in the raceway's main office. This will be an opportunity for all of us to meet the representatives from the various organizations that we have funded.
In addition, as we head towards winter, we are also planning a Thanksgiving Food Drive, which will benefit Friends in Sonoma Helping and another local food bank as well as our toy drive and holiday Christmas party, complete with Santa and toys for needy Sonoma Valley children.
June begins with the Sonoma Historic Motorsports Festival. Due to the late spring rains, we had to cancel the Historic Race Car Festival in the Sonoma Plaza. In spite of the weather not cooperating, the activities at the track turned out to be buzzing. Also going on over the weekend was the 3rd annual Celebrate Sonoma Day.
Now onto NASCAR!
Kicking off the Toyota/Save Mart 350 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series weekend is the Children’s Champions Grand Marshall’s Banquet on Friday, June 24 at Cline Cellars. This year’s Grand Marshall is actor John “Cliff Clavin” Ratzenberger. In addition, the evening will include NASCAR legends Bobby Allison and Ned Jarrett as well as current drivers. Funds from the banquet will be divided between Speedway Children’s Charities and Boys & Girls Clubs of Sonoma Valley. On Sunday, the 9th annual KFOX Race-n-Rock Charity Auction will take place in the Wine Country Winner’s Circle. Items up for auction include a Dale Earnhardt Jr signed fire suit, Tony Stewart signed helmet, and signed Jeff Gordon sheet metal. SCC will also generate funds over the weekend from fans purchasing raffle tickets for a Tao Tao scooter.
Following NASCAR is the FRAM Autolite NHRA Nationals Full Throttle Drag Racing Series event weekend, July 29-31. Thursday, July 28 marks the 5th annual Autotrader.com Eric Medlen Nitro Night at the Stone Tree Golf Club in Novato. The event is named in memory of drag racer Eric Medlen who succumbed to injuries sustained from a testing accident in 2007. We also plan to have another fund raiser on Saturday, July 30, that will include special screening of the movie, “Heart like a Wheel” and will feature a Q&A session with legendary drag racers, Shirley Muldowney and Don Garlits. SCC will also be the recipient of funds donated at the Eric Medlen Ice Cream Social, which takes place on Sunday at the conclusion of the races.
Think that brings you up to date for now.
Well it is already March and things are beginning to spring up here at Infineon Raceway in the beautiful Sonoma Valley.
We began the month with Tom Franges from CSRG (Classic Sports Racing Group) bringing us a check for $33,377!
CSRG, a vintage car racing group, held their event at the track last fall and donated all proceeds from the weekend to Speedway Children’s Charities. This brings their contribution to SCC to more than $469,000 during the past seven years. I recently attended their annual meeting and was able to personally thank them for their generosity.
March is proving to be busy as we have two exciting events scheduled. The 9th annual Tour de Charity will be held on Saturday, March 26. This is our first SCC event of the season and has always been a sell out. The day includes a full day of karting on our 16 turn three quarter mile kart track, instruction, equipment and lunch plus a chance to “hang out” with NHRA drivers Ron Capps and Jack Beckman. Also on the same weekend will be the first 24 Hours of LeMons event of the season. This is a new and rather unique group of cars that come out to race and also donate to SCC. Their slogan is “where Halloween meets Gasoline”. You might want to check out their website: 24HoursofLeMons.com since you have to see it to believe it!
We continue to receive many requests for the S.H.A.R.E.S. (Supporting Humanities, Arts, Recreation, & Sports) card program. In fact, our 2010 totals are over double from 2009. All you have to do is give the card to the checker at any Lucky, SaveMart, or Food Max store and 3% of your qualified purchases are donated to SCC each quarter. I would be happy to send you more cards for your friends and family, just let me know.
This brings you up to date for now!
Community Events Coordinator