Comcast Announces Finalists For 2016 Community Champion Of The Year Award
Today Comcast announced the finalists for the company’s 2016 Comcast Community Champion of the Year Award, which was created to recognize the charitable efforts of select members associated with NASCAR race teams. Comcast’s Xfinity brand has been a major NASCAR sponsor since 2015.
This year’s finalists were selected from each of the top-three national series in NASCAR:
Ray Wright, pit crew coach at Richard Childress Racing, for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series™
Wade Jackson, fabricator at JR Motorsports, for the NASCAR XFINITY Series™
Samantha Busch, co-owner of NASCAR Camping World Truck Series™ team Kyle Busch Motorsports
"It is both humbling and empowering to hear so many examples of how individuals within NASCAR are making differences 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 partnership with NASCAR beyond the competitive space and reinforce the importance of bringing positive change to one’s own community. Giving back is foundational to Comcast and the NASCAR family, and it’s an honor to recognize this year’s finalists."
The winner will be selected by a panel comprised of Comcast and NASCAR executives, as well as former NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver Kyle Petty and NASCAR.com reporter Holly Cain. Comcast will award $60,000 to the winner’s designated charity, and $30,000 to the two remaining finalists’ selected charities. The recipient will be announced at this year’s NASCAR XFINITY Series and NASCAR Camping World Truck Series banquet on Monday, November 21, 2016, which will air on NBC Sports Network on Sunday, November 27 at 8 p.m. ET.
"I’m so honored to be a member of the panel for the Comcast Community Champion of the Year Award once again this year," said Holly Cain. "We saw such great stories come to light in the first year of this award and the finalists from this year once again well-represent the heart and generosity that the NASCAR family is all about. Community investment is something that’s so close to my heart and I’m thankful we are able to join Comcast in honoring individuals who do so much for others."
Joey Gase, the 2015 Comcast Community Champion of the Year, was awarded $60,000 to continue his work with Iowa Donor Network, an organization that provides education on the importance of organ donation. This cause became close to Gase’s heart after learning that his mother, whom he lost at the age of 18, helped save the lives of 66 people simply from choosing to donate her organs. With Comcast’s support, Iowa Donor Network has seen registered donor numbers rise significantly in the areas that Gase has invested in throughout the past few years.
"It was an honor to be the first recipient of the Comcast Community Champion of the Year Award," said Gase. "Since receiving the award, I’ve had people come up to me almost every race weekend to tell me how they are now organ donors because of my mom’s story, which many learned of thanks to the publicity from Comcast and this award. To me, this further motivates me and reinforces my commitment to this great cause."
Comcast has a long track record of community service, aiding in the advancement of local organizations, developing programs and partnerships, mobilizing resources to connect people and inspiring positive and substantive change. To learn more about the Comcast Community Champion of the Year award, please visit: ComcastCommunityChampion.com.
The 2016 Comcast Community Champion of the Year finalists are:
NASCAR Sprint Cup Series:
Ray Wright (Welcome, North Carolina) is the founder of Pit Stops for Hope, an organization that serves youth in America by providing food for children and helping to create a productive classroom environment. An effort that is well known throughout the NASCAR garage, Ray achieves PSFH’s mission by collecting old pit crew items and selling them on pit road where fans are able to choose items and make a donation toward the organization as their purchase. To further his fundraising efforts, he also reached an agreement with drivers at Richard Childress Racing to collect donations based on top-performing pit stops. Pit Stops For Hope works with organizations like the Salvation Army and Second Harvest Food Bank, and donates thousands of dollars to teachers and educators each year. The group also hosts a number of annual fundraising events, all culminating to unite the team, organization and NASCAR fan base around one goal: to end child hunger.
NASCAR XFINITY Series:
Wade Jackson (Mooresville, North Carolina) lost his son, Jacob Jackson, to a congenital heart defect following open heart surgery when his son was only 17 years old. Since Jacob’s passing, Wade and his wife Kim have channeled their grief into the creation and continued growth of Camp LUCK (Lucky Unlimited Cardiac Kids). Developed for kids like Jacob, the camp seeks to provide a place for kids with heart disease to gather together and experience community. The couple volunteers countless hours to spreading the organization’s mission, which stretches across the many programs that Camp LUCK has to offer, including Kids Camp and a family camp, where families can spend a long weekend together at the site. During Kids Camp, campers are able to bring one of their siblings to enjoy the camp experience with them. The organization also offers Baby LUCK, Youth Board, Parent Support Network, Camp LUCK Cares, Camp LUCK Closet and Hug ‘n Heal Pillows, among others.
NASCAR Camping World Truck Series:
Samantha Busch (Mooresville, North Carolina) found the heart of her and husband Kyle Busch’s mission within their own personal story. When the couple was unable to conceive a child on their own and turned to the REACH Clinic in 2014, they suddenly realized the high expenses, lack of awareness on infertility and rarity in insurance coverage associated with in vitro fertilization (IVF). Their response was the Kyle and Samantha Busch Bundle of Joy Fund, which heralds a commitment to empowering children, families and communities to overcome hardship by providing the essential tools to do so. In the past year, 13 couples have benefited from the team owners’ efforts, with more than $140,000 going toward IVF treatments at the REACH Clinic. Outside of this organization, Samantha’s efforts range from her annual Prom Dress Drive for young girls who can’t afford formalwear, to working with the Pretty in Pink Foundation to raise money for uninsured and under-insured breast cancer patients. Each holiday season, she spends endless hours shopping for items that she can provide to underprivileged families for the Christmas season.