SONOMA, Calif. - The Infineon Raceway Chapter of Speedway Children's Charities will distribute a record $554,045 to 54 qualified youth organizations in Sonoma County for the 2005 season.

The figure represents the largest single-year distribution since the Sonoma chapter was formed in 1996 — the prior record of $458,000 was established in 2004. Moreover, the Sonoma chapter has distributed more than $1.2 million since 2003 to 121 youth groups in Sonoma County.

The chapter's Board of Trustees recently approved the distribution of funds at its annual meeting. Speedway Children's Charities is the primary charitable arm of Speedway Motorsports, Inc, which owns and operates Infineon Raceway.

"Speedway Children's Charities is making a significant difference to non-profits in Sonoma County, and as someone who struggles with city budgets and meeting the needs of the community, I appreciate the generosity of the motor racing community," said Jane Bender, who serves on the Speedway Children's Charities Board of Trustees and is also the mayor of Santa Rosa.

The monies awarded in 2005 were generated through a combination of Infineon Raceway events, plus a donation by Sonic Automotive Corporation. This year's fundraising events included the NASCAR Grand Marshal's Banquet, NHRA Tour de Charity, Sonoma Valley Vintage Race Car Festival, Classic Sports Racing Group's Charity Challenge and the IRL IndyCar® Series Grand Marshal's Banquet. The chapter also held memorabilia auctions at its AMA Superbike, NASCAR and NHRA events.

Speedway Children's Charities is a non-profit organization with the purpose of raising funds to be distributed to qualified children's organizations. Founded in 1984 by Bruton Smith, chairman of Speedway Motorsports Inc., Speedway Children's Charities originated at Lowe's Motor Speedway in North Carolina.

Fifty-four Sonoma County youth groups will receive funding from Speedway Children's Charities in 2005:

  • ANOVA Center for Education
  • Boys & Girls Club of Rohnert Park
  • Boys & Girls Clubs of Petaluma
  • California Parenting Institute
  • Canine Companions for Independence
  • Court Appointed Special Advocates
  • Climate Protection Program
  • Community Action Partnership
  • Every 15 Minutes
  • Giant Steps Therapeutic Equestrian Center
  • Grandparents Parenting Again
  • Horse Sense
  • Kenwood Education Foundation
  • Kid Street Learning Center
  • Kid's Scoop
  • KRCB Public Radio
  • La Luz Center
  • Loving Paws Assistance Dogs
  • Luther Burbank Center for the Arts
  • Matrix Parent Network
  • McDowell Drug Task Force
  • Northern California Center for Well Being
  • Camp Okizu Foundation
  • Old Adobe School
  • Operation Youth
  • Petaluma People Services Center
  • Redwood Empire Food Bank
  • Routes For Youth
  • Safari West Wildlife Foundation
  • Santa Rosa Symphony
  • Schell-Vista Volunteer Fire Assoc.
  • Social Advocates for Youth
  • Sonoma Children's Cancer Foundation
  • Sonoma Community Center
  • Sonoma County Public Library Foundation
  • Sonoma County Regional Parks Foundation
  • Sonoma Valley Education Foundation (7)
  • Sonoma Valley Mentoring Alliance
  • Soroptimist International
  • The Living Room
  • Salvation Army
  • Twin Valley Aquatics
  • Valley of the Moon Boys & Girls Club
  • Valley of the Moon Children's Foundation
  • Valley of the Moon Teen Center
  • Volunteer Center of Sonoma County
  • Willmar Center for Bereaved Children
  • YWCA of Sonoma County

"Small community-based non-profits greatly depend on the generosity and support of private foundations. Speedway Children's Charities has made it possible throughout the years for many of our riders to be able to change their lives through the extraordinary benefits of therapeutic horseback riding," said Robert Pope, Co-founder and Executive Director for Giant Steps Therapeutic Equestrian Center.