CONCORD, N.C. (June 24, 2011) – The Jimmie Johnson Foundation has added the Ronald McDonald House of Charlotte and Els for Autism to the 2011 Helmet of Hope, which Johnson will wear in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series event at Richmond International Raceway in September.
Each organization will also receive a grant of $10,000.
Yahoo! Sports’ Jay Hart nominated Els for Autism, which funds scientific research aimed at understanding Autism and developing knowledge-based treatments with the intention of finding a cure.
According to Hart, his nephew is autistic. Hart says, “He’s a great kid but needs help – now and in the future. Els for Autism is focused on both researching autism and providing programs for kids and adults who are autistic. Both are important.”
Frances Williams, from Charlotte, N.C., nominated the Ronald McDonald House of Charlotte, whose mission is to create, find and support programs that directly improve the health and well being of children.
“For 25 years I worked with children with cancer,” offered Williams on her nomination. “I watched families with no money have to stay at the hospital watching over their sick child. But with the (Ronald McDonald) house they can take a break, get a good night’s sleep and a good meal.”
In its fourth year, the Helmet of Hope program gives fans and media members across the country the opportunity to nominate their charity of choice to be featured on Johnson’s helmet for a select race. Each charity also receives a grant of $10,000. To date, the program has contributed close to $200,000 to 37 different charities.
Johnson will draw one winner from a list of media submissions and one from a list of fan submissions each race weekend through the New Hampshire event in July. The Ronald McDonald House of Charlotte and Els for Autism joins 24 Hours of Booty, the Flagler County Education Foundation, Lollipop Theater Network and the Tennessee Chapter of the ALS Association as charities that will be featured on the Helmet of Hope. The American Red Cross, which was placed on the helmet to kick off the event in response to recent tragedies across the nation, and Lowe’s Toolbox for Education, which the Jimmie Johnson Foundation partners with to fund Champions Grants, which are awarded to K-12 public schools in the hometowns where the Johnsons grew up and currently live, will also be featured.
Fans and media members may nominate their charity by visiting www.helmetofhope.org.
For more information about the most recently selected charities, visithttp://www.ernieels.com/els_for_autism and www.rmhofcharlotte.org.