Chicagoland Speedway and Route 66 Raceway's charitable entity, Racing Advocates for Community Enrichment (R.A.C.E.), donated $52,809 in grants to 31 deserving Chicagoland community organizations in 2018 at today's seventh annual luncheon to honor those organizations.
In addition to the gifts mentioned above, $148,532 distributed by Chicagoland Speedway and Route 66 Raceway through contributions to 23 local service groups for their work during the NHRA and NASCAR event weekends.
Beyond that, Chicagoland Speedway and Route 66 Raceway's food and beverage partner, Levy Restaurants, contributed another $97,923 as it staffed its concession locations with yet another collection of charitable groups. In the end, the four entities provided a total of $299,264 in donations to deserving organizations within the region in 2018.
"It is incredibly humbling to reflect upon the impact Chicagoland Speedway, Route 66 Raceway, R.A.C.E. and Levy Restaurants has had in the local community through R.A.C.E.," said Scott Paddock, president of Chicagoland Speedway and Route 66 Raceway. "Since R.A.C.E.'s inception in 2012, we have collectively presented $2.1 million to deserving charitable organizations, athletic teams and clubs."
R.A.C.E. developed integral partnerships with a multitude of organizations which activated during major event weekends, including the NASCAR Stars and Stripes Weekend, the Route 66 NHRA Nationals and the D'Arcy Buick GMC Route 66 Classic.
The following 21 organizations were awarded grants Thursday.
• The Abraham Lincoln National Cemetery Memorial Squad is a group of men and women who provide military honors for veterans buried at the Abraham Lincoln National Cemetery. The grant awarded for $1,000 will aid in the continuation of honoring our veterans.
• The Abraham Lincoln National Cemetery Support Committee is a registered nonprofit organization founded by military veterans, family members and interested citizens to provide support for the maintenance, improvement and continued development of the Abraham Lincoln National Cemetery. The grant awarded for $1,000 will assist with maintenance of this regional landmark.
• Cheers to the Warriors is a nonprofit organization that does business as Warrior Vodka. Eighty percent of all Warrior Vodka sales made through an alcohol distribution company is deposited into a Cheers to the Warriors bank account with the only checks written out of that account going directly to combat injured veterans.
• Easterseals was selected by former Joliet Police Chief Brian Benton to benefit from his participation in the D'Arcy Buick GMC Route 66 Classic Grudge Matches. Easterseals received $1,000 to help children and adults with disabilities and special needs find the highest-quality services designed to meet their individual needs.
• GHQ Military Preservation Group provides a way to preserve United States of America military history and heritage. The group is challenged to offer all Americans, young and old, the opportunity to view, experience and learn about the nation's military services during peace time, war or conflict around the world. GHQ wants all of America to understand, appreciate, and respect all that have served our country and protected our freedom. One thousand dollars was presented to the organization for this purpose.
• Grundy County Community Foundation was selected by Grundy County Executive Chris Balkema to benefit from his participation in the D'Arcy Buick GMC Route 66 Classic Grudge Matches. The Community Foundation of Grundy County was presented with $2,000 to bridge people who care with causes that matter by facilitating grants, providing unique donor services and convening the community around issues of concern to develop plans of action.
• Grundy-Three Rivers Habitat for Humanity is part of a global, nonprofit housing organization operated on Christian principles that seeks to put God's love into action by building homes, communities and hope. Grundy-Three Rivers Habitat for Humanity was awarded $2,000 as a result of Grundy County States Attorney Jason Helland's participation in the D'Arcy Buick GMC Route 66 Classic Grudge Matches to assist in the elimination of substandard housing locally.
• The Illinois Patriot Guard Riders is a 100% volunteer, federally registered non-profit organization which ensures dignity and respect at memorial services honoring fallen military heroes, first responders and honorably discharged veterans. The Illinois Patriot Guard Riders received $1,000.
• Miracle League of Joliet was selected by the Mayor of Joliet, Bob O'Dekirk, to benefit from his participation in the D'Arcy Buick GMC Route 66 Classic Grudge Matches. The Miracle League of Joliet was presented with $2,000 to provide children and young adults with disabilities the opportunity to play and participate in the game of baseball.
• Morris Police Benevolent Society was selected by Morris Police Chief John Severson to benefit from his participation in the Route 66 Classic. The Morris Police Benevolent Society received $2,000 to assist the community through charitable donations, special events and award a $500 scholarship to a Morris Community High School student each year.
• Mulligan's Battery L is formally known as the First Regiment, Illinois Light Artillery which was an artillery battery that served in the Union Army during the American Civil War. Mulligan's Battery received $1,000 to continue traveling with a Civil War-era museum to educate the public on that specific war.
• Muscular Dystrophy Association was selected by Joliet Fire Deputy Chief Greg Blaskey to benefit from his participation in the Route 66 Classic. MDA received $1,000 to send children with neuromuscular disease to MDA's summer camp where they can discover a world created specifically for them, and meet many other kids sharing the same needs and experiences.
• Operation Care Package is a volunteer-based public charity located in Manhattan, Illinois, dedicated to their mission that no Hero serving the nation should be forgotten. Operation Care Package received $1,000 to support our soldiers, Marines, sailors and airmen through care packages and letters of encouragement.
• Pits for Patriots was the recipient of the Miss Classic Queen of Hearts competition. The ladies who competed in the Miss Classic Pin Up Contest were challenged to solicit donations during the Route 66 Classic event with the contestant that earned the most crowned as the Queen of Hearts. Pits for Patriots rescues and trains pit bulls to act as service dogs for veterans and first responders with physical and emotional needs at no cost to the recipient.
• Ronald McDonald House Charities of Chicagoland and Northwest Indiana is the sole beneficiary of the Chicago Brushmasters charity art auction. The Brushmasters is composed of over forty of the Midwest's top custom painters. These artisans attended the Route 66 Classic and held several auctions which generated $1,860 for Ronald McDonald House Charities. Ronald McDonald House Charities of Chicagoland and Northwest Indiana cares for families of children with complex medical needs by providing comfort, compassion and a sense of community.
• Senior Services Center of Will County provides a number of services including, but not limited to: coordination care, caregiving, safe at home, support programs, senior express and tax preparation services for individuals 60 years of age and older. Illinois State Representative Larry Walsh Jr. selected Services Center of Will County to benefit from his participation in the Route 66 Classic and thus the organization received a $1,000 grant.
• Team Make A Difference was selected by Morris Fire Chief Tracey Steffes to benefit from his participation in the Route 66 Classic. Team Make a Difference was presented with $2,000 to grant someone in need in their community with a place of serenity to rest comfortably, heal and restore hope.
• United Way of Will County was selected by Will County Executive Larry Walsh to benefit from his participation in the Route 66 Classic. United Way received $1,000 to help unite communities and resources by empowering people and creating positive, sustainable change.
• The Veterans Garage is a group of veterans and patriots who are proudly dedicated to the restoration, preservation, maintenance and display of Historic Military Vehicles and Equipment. Veterans Garage received $1,000 to continue honoring the men and women of the armed services by providing their vehicles at veteran-related events such as parades, welcome home escorts, dedications and more.
• Will County Children's Advocacy Center was selected by the Mayor of Channahon, Missy Moorman Schumacher, to benefit from her participation in the Route 66 Classic. The Advocacy Center also partnered with Chicagoland Speedway for their Men Who Cook fundraiser and thus received $1,541 to provide services to young victims of sexual and physical abuse.
• Each December on National Wreaths Across America Day, Wreaths Across America remembers, honors and teaches by coordinating wreath-laying ceremonies at Arlington National Cemetery, as well as at more than 1,400 additional locations in all 50 U.S. states, at sea and abroad including the local Abraham Lincoln National Cemetery. One thousand dollars was provided to Wreaths Across America honor an American hero with a hand-crafted all-American balsam, hand-tied with a red velvet bow at Christmas.
• Lastly, the Dominican University Softball Team and the Lewis University Softball Team were recognized for their outstanding efforts in staffing and executing 50/50 raffles at Chicagoland Speedway and Route 66 Raceway events.
R.A.C.E. is a donor advised fund of The NASCAR Foundation, a 501c3 charitable entity. With a focus on youth, safe driving and the military, R.A.C.E. raised funds over the course of the year through community events, raffles and auctions. The three principles guided the seven-member R.A.C.E. Advisory Committee, which was responsible for evaluating grant applications throughout the year.
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