Comcast Announces 2019 Community Champion Finalists
Comcast announced today the finalists for the 2019 Comcast Community Champion of the Year Award, an annual award created to recognize the philanthropic efforts of individuals within the NASCAR industry.
From 2015, when Comcast began its entitlement sponsorship of the NASCAR Xfinity Series, to 2019, Comcast has donated $600,000 to 15 different NASCAR-affiliated organizations to honor their efforts and help further the impact of their causes.
The 2019 finalists are:
“Community service is one of Comcast’s core values, and from the beginning of our partnership with NASCAR, we wanted to find a way to tell the amazing stories of how individuals within the sport are giving back to their communities in remarkable ways,” said Matt Lederer, Vice President of Brand Partnerships at Comcast. “In the fifth year of the program, we have another inspirational group of NASCAR industry members who are using their platforms to make a positive impact on so many lives. We want to extend a heartfelt thank you to them for their tireless efforts.”
The 2019 Comcast Community Champion of the Year will be selected by a panel comprised of Comcast and NASCAR executives, as well as defending Monster Energy NASCAR 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 2019 award winner will be announced on Thursday, November 14 at W. South Beach Hotel in Miami in conjunction with NASCAR Championship Weekend.
Comcast has a long track record of community service, aiding in the advancement of local organizations, developing programs + 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.
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, 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.