Betty Jane France lived a privileged life. As the wife of Bill France Jr., the longtime NASCAR CEO and chairman, she was well-known in the racing community. She worked hard, rising to the position of executive vice president for NASCAR. Despite all of that success, France felt the need to do more. She dedicated herself to a cause close to her heart: children’s health. In 2006, with needy children in mind, she launched the NASCAR Foundation.
The NASCAR Foundation’s Mission
The NASCAR Foundation has a simple mission. Its goal is to help the neediest children in the community by focusing on health and wellness issues. So far, it has provided more than $36 million in aid to 1.4 million kids. It’s a registered 501c(3) charity, which means that those who donate can deduct the amount from their taxes.
The NASCAR Foundation’s Programs
The Speediatrics Children’s Fund is the NASCAR Foundation’s main program. Through it, the foundation works with hospitals, clinics, and other programs focused on child health. For example, it supports the Halifax Health Medical Center’s Speediatrics Unit. This special unit seeks to boost children’s spirits while they’re admitted to the hospital. It’s filled with unique NASCAR-inspired decorations. NASCAR drivers make regular visits to the patients.
The fund also works with Florida’s Homestead Hospital. It provided them with funds for new equipment, which has helped hundreds of women in need of cesarean sections.
Other youth-focused programs, such as camps, receive financial support as well. In addition, the NASCAR Foundation hosts special Speediatrics Fun Day Festivals. These take place in various racing communities around the United States. There are entertaining and educational activities for kids to participate in. The focus is on healthy living and habits.
The Betty Jane France Humanitarian Award
Each year, the NASCAR Foundation honors fans who spend time doing good. The award, named after the foundation’s founder, goes to someone who has volunteered his or her time to help children. Worthy fans go through a nomination process with a panel of finalists selected. At NASCAR’s annual awards ceremony, an ultimate winner is named. Along with the award and recognition, NASCAR gives the winner’s chosen charity a large donation. The other finalists receive smaller donations for their charities.