DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. — Jimmie and Chandra Johnson announced Saturday the creation of the “Jimmie Johnson Foundation” to aid charities that work with children and families.
“This is the culmination of a lot of hard work and a lot of thought by a lot of people,” Johnson said. “Chandra and I have been very blessed in our lives. We get to do what we enjoy doing in life. Not everyone is as fortunate. So we wanted to give something back. Chandra and I decided we wanted to help families, particularly children.”
Johnson said the mission of the foundation is to fund five existing charities: the American Red Cross, Victory Junction Gang, Randy Dorton Memorial Fund, Make-A-Wish and the Hendrick Marrow program.
“These aren’t the only charities that we plan to support but these are the ones we are concentrating on as we begin the foundation,” Chandra Johnson said. “We hope this grows in the coming years and will be a vehicle to promoting a lot of good in the community.”
The foundation’s first activity is an eBay online charity auction that started at the beginning of the year. The auction includes racing and sports memorabilia, but will separate itself from most online auctions by offering fans the chance to bid on experiences with celebrities and professional athletes.
Mike Rucker of the Carolina Panthers as well as Marcus Giles and Mike Hampton of the Atlanta Braves joined the Johnsons in Daytona Beach for the foundation announcement.
“This is a really neat deal and I’m proud that I can come help Jimmie and Chandra launch this foundation,” said Rucker, an All-Pro defensive end who is active in numerous charitable causes.
Giles and Hampton said they have become race fans and did not hesitate to support the Johnsons’ efforts.
“This is a no-brainer,” Giles said. “We have a lot of fans in baseball, and NASCAR has a lot of fans as well. If Jimmie and Chandra can combine both worlds, I think this foundation will do a lot of good.”
Fans can bid on the souvenir items and experiences at http://www.ebay.com/jimmiejohnsonfoundation.
“We plan to continue updating the auction with items and experiences,” Johnson said. “One of the firsts initiatives we hope to complete is a bowling alley for the Victory Junction Gang Camp.”
The auction includes tickets to sporting events, impressive experiences from Hendrick Motorsports’ Jeff Gordon, Brian Vickers and Rick Hendrick. The experiences and items also include donations from Marcus Giles, Mike Hampton, Russ Ortiz and Cal Ripken Jr. (Major League Baseball); Mike Rucker, Howie Long, Brandon Short and Mark Rypien (NFL); Chicago Bulls (NBA); Parker Bohn III (PBA); Mario Lemieux (NHL); Olympic gold medalists Dan Jansen and Mary Lou Retton; celebrities Nick Lachey, Tracy Lawrence, Freddy Holliday and Kendra Bentley Holliday from the Amazing Race 6; and professional poker player Annie Duke.
In addition to the auction, 1,000 commemorative coins were produced. The coins have the foundation logo on one side and “Inaugural Fundraiser” with the official launch date “2-11-06” on the other. The coins may be purchased for a donation of $50 or more athttps://jimmiejohnsonfoundation.org. All proceeds will benefit the foundation.