DALLAS, TX, (April 7, 2016) – This week 3-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Champion Tony Stewart is being honored by Speedway Children’s Charities for helping them raise more than $1.0 million through his annual “The Smoke Show” driving experience. Well-deserved kudos to this racer who has wowed NASCAR fans but rarely gets recognized for his philanthropic efforts.
One such effort which will fly under the radar but is aligned perfectly for this week’s race at Texas Motor Speedway is Tony’s support of Children’s Craniofacial Association (CCA) – http://tonystewartfoundation.org/childrens-craniofacial-association/ – based in Dallas. For the 2nd year, Tony has made sure funding was awarded to the “Wonder~Choose Kind” program. This innovative program spreads the #ChooseKind message to schools throughout the United States using the book, Wonder, the WonderKids newsletter and engaging teaching curriculum to promote kindness and anti- bullying. The materials are distributed to schools free-of-charge with grants from funders such as the Tony Stewart Foundation.
Stewart – personally unfamiliar with being ostracized – embraced the programs of CCA to help these special children be loved and accepted for who they are rather than how they look. Children’s Craniofacial Association provides programs and services to both empower and give hope to individuals and families affected by facial differences.
TONY STEWART, Driver of the No. 14 Chevrolet SS for Stewart-Haas Racing & President of The Tony Stewart Foundation:
What motivated you to start your foundation to help children, animals and drivers injured in the sport of motor racing?
I’ve been extremely lucky to pursue a racing career in its many forms. My foundation provides the vehicle to give back to others experiencing difficulty or trauma. It was easy to select children with critical illness or physical disabilities along with animals that are at-risk as I’m a big “softie” for both. And, including drivers injured in the sport of motor racing was essential as I certainly know the risks involved.
What is unique or special about the CCA “Wonder~Choose Kind Program?
Being a kid is hard enough. Being a kid with a facial abnormality can be isolating. I’m not a parent but I understand that every parent probably envisions having a “perfect” child. But, often, that perfect child is one with physical flaws but a huge heart and spirit. Helping CCA fund their program helps widen the circle of acceptance for these great kids. The program’s structure helps regular kids and CCA kids discover what they have in common rather than letting a physical barrier separate them. 2
How, exactly, does your foundation assist a program like CCA’s Wonder~Choose Kind Program?
My foundation exists solely to provide funding grants to outstanding organizations throughout the United States. Since 2004 when the first grant was awarded, we have provided $6.5 million in funding. We receive a large number of applications and are able to select about 100 of the very best charities serving children, animals and drivers.
To be selected a “TSF Grant Partner”, the organization must present a unique program or service along with solid financial stability and a way to measure success. Our TSF Slogan is “Accelerating Change” which mostly means that our funding grant is intended to help move a program or service to the next level.
Specific Information for the #ChooseKind Initiative: http://www.ccakids.org/wonder-4-schools.html