Comcast Community Champion of the Year Award

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2019 Comcast Community Champion of the Year Award finalists announced

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Comcast has announced the three finalists for this year’s Community Champion of the Year Award, which recognizes the philanthropic efforts of individuals within the NASCAR industry.

Through the award Comcast has donated $600,000 to 15 different NASCAR-affiliated organizations to honor their efforts and help further the impact of their causes.

The three finalists are:

  • Artie Kempner, NASCAR on FOX Coordinating Director and Co-Founder of Autism Delaware
  • David Ragan, Cup Series driver and Ambassador for Shriners Hospitals for Children
  • Mike Tatoian, President and CEO of Dover International Speedway and USO Delaware Chairman

The award winner will be selected by a panel composed of Comcast and NASCAR executives, as well as defending Cup Series champion Joey Logano, who won the award in 2018. Comcast will award $60,000 to the winner’s affiliated charity, and $30,000 to each of the two remaining finalists’ selected charities.

The winner will be announced Nov. 14 at W. South Beach Hotel in Miami in conjunction with the NASCAR Championship Weekend.

Artie Kempner (Wilmington, Delaware) – In 1998, a small group of parents got together in the living room of Marcy and Artie Kempner’s house in Wilmington, Delaware. The Kempner’s had three boys and their middle son, Ethan, had been diagnosed with autism a year earlier. All of the parents at the table had children on the autism spectrum. That gathering was the beginning of Autism Delaware and Artie became the group’s first president. The organization started as a simple support group, but 20+ years later it’s a statewide service agency, fielding more than 1,500 calls from families annually, offering lifespan services, as well as social and recreational program for families in a safe and welcoming environment.

Kempner’s work on the Drive for Autism Celebrity-Am Golf Outing, helped the group raise the necessary money to launch its critically acclaimed adult vocational and employment program known as POW&R, Productive Opportunities for Work & Recreation. Now in its 11th year, POW&R assesses an individual’s strengths and vocational goals, and matches them with community-based employment, volunteer and recreational opportunities. Today, the program serves over 150 adults with autism in paid employment.

David Ragan (Unadilla, Georgia) – Since 2012, Front Row Motorsports driver David Ragan has been dedicated to supporting Shriners Hospital for Children as a part of their ambassador program. Ragan spends much of his off-time visiting hospitals, fundraising, as well as inviting patients to the race track for once-in-a-lifetime experiences at NASCAR events. Ragan’s passion for the hospital goes beyond just the bare-minimum appearance, he makes an effort to remember each patient’s name + story and will continue to stay in touch long after he meets them. Ragan knows the children and families he meets are likely struggling and wants to do what he can to put a smile on their face. His association with the Shriners, as well as being a Shriner himself, has not only brought attention to the hospitals and the great work they are doing, but has increased donations from race fans and team partners. Many people aren’t aware of the great work that the Shriners do, but Ragan has been a strong voice for them for the past 10 years and has changed countless lives because of his great work.

Mike Tatoian (Dover, Delaware) – Mike Tatoian has been a staple of the Delaware and mid-Atlantic charitable communities, particularly with local military organizations at Dover (Del.) Air Force Base, since he began his tenure at the “Monster Mile” in 2007. One of his longest commitments has been with United Service Organizations. Established during World War II, the USO supports U.S. service members wherever they are, including on-base, deployed abroad, passing through an airport or in local communities at more than 200 locations around the world. One-particular duty that distinguishes USO Delaware is it’s the only USO in the world that shares the responsibility of bringing home fallen service members, working alongside other units such as the Air Force Mortuary Affairs, Armed Forces Medical Examiner System, the Joint Personal Effects Depot and the Families of the Fallen. For 13 years, Tatoian has assisted USO Delaware with countless programs and currently serves as the Chairman of the Advisory Council for the organization.

Joey Logano, Ryan Newman among Comcast Community Champion of the Year finalists

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On Wednesday, Comcast NBCUniversal announced the three finalists for the 2018 Comcast Community Champion of the Year Award, which includes Team Penske’s Joey Logano, Richard Childress Racing’s Ryan Newman and Sonoma Raceway President Steve Page.

Comcast, which owns NBCSN and NBC and sponsors NASCAR’s Xfinity Series, presents the award annually to recognize the philanthropic efforts of individuals within the NASCAR industry.

The award is in its fourth year and gives $60,000 to the winner’s affiliated charity and $30,000 on behalf of the two remaining finalists’ selected charities. The 2018 winner will be announced on Nov. 15 at W South Beach Hotel in Miami as part of the NASCAR Championship Weekend.

Below are profiles on each finalist. Watch the above video for more on Newman’s charity.

Ryan Newman – Newman and wife Krissie founded Rescue Ranch, an 87-acre facility that works to promote respect for all animals, the earth and the environment through a wide variety of educational programs in the community, in 2012. The Ranch is home to more than 85 animals that receive around-the-clock care, and serves as host to various school curriculum-based field trips, Scout badge programs, summer camps and more. In an effort to increase programs available to children and adults with special needs, Ryan and Krissie raised $500,000 for an inclusive playground where kids of all abilities can play together. The Ranch also incorporated additional Special Needs Summer Camp weeks to create more opportunities for children to have a successful camp experience.

Most recently, Rescue Ranch provided Search and Rescue aid to animals affected by Hurricane Florence in the Carolinas, and is continuing to gather and donate items needed for their care to the community. When he’s not on the track, Newman dedicates his time to maintaining the Rescue Ranch grounds to provide a safe environment for the animals, as well as a fun and educational atmosphere for the children who visit. Outside of Rescue Ranch, Newman plays an active role in supporting the NASCAR Green initiative, helping to plant trees with the Arbor Day Foundation in various regions across the country to honor fallen soldiers.

Joey Logano – Founded the Joey Logano Foundation in 2013 to support organizations across the United States that provide aid to children and young adults during times of crisis offering them a second chance. Since its inception, the Joey Logano Foundation has invested more than $2.7 million to hundreds of organizations through a multitude charitable programs. The Joey Logano Foundation created the JL Kids Crew to help provide opportunities for children with serious illnesses to spend time at the race track and be part of the No. 22 race team. Part of this special race package includes Logano gifting each JL Kids Crew recipient with their own matching fire suit and placing their names on his No. 22 Ford Fusion.

Through JLF’s Grant Funding Program, the Foundation delivers grants to organizations dedicated to helping families that care for sick children, foster children and children of veterans. Over the course of the NASCAR season, the Joey Logano Foundation also has a program that brings Comfort Care Backpacks to multiple race markets. The Joey Logano Foundation has donated over 600 backpacks filled with essentials to underprivileged, foster and terminally ill children. The Joey Logano Foundation also uses its powerful platform during NASCAR’s playoffs to aid 10 non-profit organizations in 10 different NASCAR markets, via their Chasing Second Chances program, an effort to help racing communities prosper.

Steve Page – Page has shown long-standing commitment to the people of Northern California through his work with the Sonoma chapter of Speedway Children’s Charities, along with his efforts to assist in supporting and rebuilding areas affected by last October’s devastating wildfires. To help provide relief to those impacted by widespread fires, Page opened the gates of Sonoma Raceway to provide a refuge for those who were evacuated from their homes, hosting more than 100 campers and serving as a temporary evacuation center.

Page, whose family was also evacuated, served meals and sorted donations to provide clothing and necessities to evacuees. He also helped mobilize the local community in thanking public safety personnel, spearheading a “Laps of Appreciation” fundraiser that generated more than $72,000 for the Sonoma County Resilience Fund and the Redwood Valley and Santa Rosa Community Recovery Fund. Throughout the raceway’s NASCAR race weekend in June, Page oversaw “Sonoma Rising,” an initiative designed to honor fire survivors, salute first responders and lend support to the North Bay’s ongoing rebuilding efforts.

As part of that effort, the raceway distributed more than 1,100 tickets to allow fire survivors to attend the 2018 race at no cost. Since 2001, Page and Speedway Children’s Charities have distributed more than $6 million to Sonoma County organizations that serve local youth. This year the Sonoma chapter of Speedway Children’s Charities established a ‘Fire Resilience Fund’ to distribute grants to youth-serving groups that have increased or created programs to support the amplified needs after the fires.

Wade Jackson Named 2016 Comcast Community Champion of the Year

Photo by Jonathan Ferrey/NASCAR via Getty Images
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At the Xfinity Series and Camping World Truck Series awards banquet Monday night, the 2016 Comcast Community Champion of the Year awards was given to Wade Jackson, a fabricator with JR Motorsports.

Following the passing of his son Jacob at 17 to a congenital heart defect after open heart surgery, Wade Jackson and his wife Kim founded Camp LUCK (Lucky Unlimited Cardiac Kids).

Camp Luck’s mission is to provide a place for kids with heart disease to gather together and experience community. Among the programs the camp provides are Baby LUCK, Youth Board, Parent Support Network, Camp LUCK Cares, Camp LUCK Closet and Hug ‘n Heal Pillows.

“For Comcast to come right in and offer this award and get the word out, that means as much as anything – to bring attention toward our cause and continue to do good,” said Wade Jackson after receiving the award, which also comes with a $60,000 donation from Comcast.

“The Comcast Community Champion of the Year Award is so invaluable to Camp LUCK, as it will provide funding for the camp for an entire year,” continues Jackson. “The work that Comcast does to recognize all of the good that people do in the NASCAR community is just so impressive.”

Jackson and Camp LUCK were one of three finalists for the award, including Samantha and Kyle Busch’s Bundle of Joy Fund and Ray Wright’s Pit Stops for Hope. Both organizations will receive $30,000 donations.

“It is an honor to select Wade Jackson as our 2016 Comcast Community Champion of the Year, as he represents the selfless and giving attitude toward helping others that Comcast values so deeply,” said Matt Lederer, executive director of sports marketing at Comcast. in a press release. “So many of those in the NASCAR industry have a passion for giving back to their communities, and we’re proud to play a part in celebrating their passion with this award.”

NASCAR America: Ray Wright makes a difference with ‘Pit Stops for Hope’

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Ray Wright, the pit crew coach for Richard Childress Racing and founder of “Pit Stops for Hope,” shares how a childhood trip to the Smithsonian influenced him to make a difference in the lives of children in need. The program is one of the nominees for Comcast Community Champion of the Year award.

Comcast announces finalists for Comcast Community Champion of the Year Award

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Announced on Thursday’s episode of NASCAR America, Comcast has named the three finalists for the 2016 Comcast Community Champion of the Year Award.

Created to recognize charitable efforts by members within the NASCAR industry, the award will be presented for just the second time this year.

The finalists are Ray Wright, the pit crew coach at Richard Childress Racing in the Sprint Cup Series; Wade Jackson, a fabricator in the Xfinity Series at JR Motorsports; and Samantha Busch, co-owner of Kyle Busch Motorsports in the Camping World Truck Series.

“Each year, it is both humbling and empowering to hear so many examples of how NASCAR is making a difference beyond the track,” said Matt Lederer, Executive Director of Sports Marketing at Comcast. “The Comcast Community Champion of the Year Award was created to extend our Xfinity partnership with NASCAR outside of the competitive space to reinforce the importance of bringing positive change to one’s own community, and it’s an honor to recognize this year’s finalists.”

Comcast will award $60,000 to the winner’s charity, as well as $30,000 to each of the two remaining finalists’ charities.

In 2015, Joey Gase was named the winner of the inaugural Comcast Community Champion of the Year Award for his work with the Iowa Donor Network, which is an organization that provides education on the importance of organ donation.

About the 2016 finalists:

Ray Wright (Welcome, North Carolina) is the founder of Pit Stops for Hope. The organization serves youth in America by providing food for children while helping create a positive classroom environment. Wright collects old pit crew items and sells them on pit road where fans make a donation toward the organization with their purchase. Wright also reached an agreement with Richard Childress Racing drivers to collect donations based on top-performing pit stops. Working with other organizations such as the Salvation Army and Second Harvest Food Bank, Pit Stops for Hope donates thousands of dollars to educators each year. A number of fundraising events are also held annually.

Wade Jackson (Mooresville, North Carolina) lost his son, Jacob Jackson, at 17 years old following congenital heart defect after open heart surgery. Wade and his wife Kim have since created Camp LUCK (Lucky Unlimited Cardiac Kids), which is a camp that provides a place for kids suffering heart disease to gather and experience the community. The Jackson’s put in countless hours promoting the organization’s mission that stretches across many other programs Camp LUCK offers, such as Kids Camp, where campers can bring one of their siblings to enjoy the experience with them. Family camp allows families to spend a long weekend together. Baby LUCK, Youth Board, Parent Support Network, Camp LUCK Cares, Camp LUCK Closet and Hug ‘n Heal Pillows is also offered by the organization.

Samantha Busch (Mooresville, North Carolina) and her husband, Kyle, discovered the expenses, lack of awareness on infertility and the rarity in insurance coverage associated with in vitro fertilization (IVF) when they turned to the REACH Clinic in 2014 for help conceiving their son. The Busch’s then created the Kyle and Samantha Busch Bundle of Joy Fund, which works to empower families to overcome the hardship by providing the essential tools to do so. Thirteen couples have benefited from the program in the last year and more than $140,000 have gone toward IVF treatments at the REACH Clinic. Samantha Busch also puts time into her annual Prom Dress Drive, where dresses are collected for young girls who cannot afford formalwear, in addition to working with the Pretty in Pink Foundation, which raises money for uninsured or under-insured breast cancer patients. Busch also spends each holiday season shopping for items she can provide to underprivileged families.

The winner of the 2016 Comcast Community Champion of the Year Award will be announced during the Xfinity Series and Camping World Truck Series awards banquet on November 21. He or she will be selected by a panel of Comcast and NASCAR executives, as well as former driver Kyle Petty, and NASCAR.com reporter Holly Cain.

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