CHARLOTTE, N.C. (Oct. 24, 2011) –Partners both on and off the race track, Jimmie Johnson and Lowe’s are coming together again to support Charlotte’s newest education initiative.

For the past three years, the Jimmie Johnson Foundation/Lowe’s Toolbox for Education Champions grants have been offered to K-12 public schools in the Johnsons’ hometowns of El Cajon, Calif., Muskogee, Okla. and Charlotte, N.C.. This year, the Jimmie Johnson Foundation and Lowe’s Charitable and Educational Foundation will expand their work in education by committing $750,000 to Project L.I.F.T.

Project L.I.F.T. (Leadership and Investment For Transformation) is designed to address the achievement gap in Charlotte‐Mecklenburg Schools. The program, housed at Foundation For the Carolinas, seeks to provide $55 million in private funding over five years, which will support additional services and educational enhancements for students in the West Charlotte corridor, defined as West Charlotte High School and the middle and elementary schools that feed into it.
 
“This is a new type of funding initiative for the Jimmie Johnson Foundation,” said reigning five time Sprint Cup champion Jimmie Johnson.  “We have typically focused on brick and mortar projects in the past. When we were approached about this idea, we were excited about the opportunity to be a part of transforming a portion of the school district, and of potentially creating best practices that could be rolled out across the country.”

“By funding Project L.I.F.T., Lowe’s is helping enable an entire school district to make a difference for students, increase graduation rates and close achievement gaps,” said Marshall Croom, chairman of Lowe’s Charitable and Educational Foundation. “Lowe’s commitment to giving back to deserving projects, just like this one, makes me proud to be a part of this company.”

The multi-year commitment includes $250,000 in funding from the Jimmie Johnson Foundation and $500,000 from the Lowe’s Charitable and Educational Foundation.  These organizations join The Leon Levine Foundation, C.D. Spangler Foundation, Bank of America Charitable Foundation, Duke Energy Foundation, Wells Fargo Foundation, Foundation For The Carolinas and The Belk Foundation in support of this initiative.  To date, Project L.I.F.T. has reached $43 million of its $55 million goal.  For more information on the program, please visit http://www.projectliftcharlotte.org.

ABOUT THE JIMMIE JOHNSON FOUNDATION
Chandra and Jimmie Johnson launched the Jimmie Johnson Foundation in February 2006.  Johnson, the five-time reigning Sprint Cup champion, drives the No. 48 Lowe’s Chevrolet in NASCAR’s premiere series.  The mission of the foundation is to assist children, families, and communities in need throughout the United States.  The foundation has committed more than $4 million to various charities.  For additional information on the Jimmie Johnson Foundation, please visitwww.jimmiejohnsonfoundation.org.
 
ABOUT LOWE’S
Lowe’s supports the communities it serves through programs that focus on K-12 public education and community improvement projects. The company’s signature education grant program, Lowe’s Toolbox for Education, has donated nearly $5 million in grants to K-12 public schools every year since its inception in 2006. Lowe’s Heroes employee volunteers support local community projects and our national nonprofit partners such as Habitat for Humanity  and the American Red Cross. In 2010, Lowe’s and the Lowe’s Charitable and Educational Foundation together contributed more than $30 million to support communities in the United States, Canada and Mexico.  To learn more, visitwww.Lowes.com/SocialResponsibility.