MARTINSVILLE, VA (March 30, 2012) –  The Nature Conservancy and The Chill Foundation are the first two charities selected for the 2012 Jimmie Johnson Foundation Blue Bunny Helmet of Hope, which Johnson will wear in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series event at Infineon Raceway on June 24, 2012.

Each organization will also receive a grant of $10,000 and a special Blue Bunny ice cream party.

Mike Hembree, of SPEED.com, nominated The Nature Conservancy, an organization whose mission is to protect ecologically important lands and waters in all 50 states.

“The Nature Conservancy protects important and endangered lands and waters across the globe, primarily by purchasing at-risk sites and conserving and enhancing their resources,” Hembree wrote on his nomination form.  “This allows all people to appreciate and enjoy some of Earth’s special places.”

The Chill Foundation, which provides opportunities for at-risk and underserved youth to build self-esteem and life skills through board sports, was nominated by Manuel Zetino of Tustin, Calif.

Manuel had an opportunity to serve as a coordinator for The Chill Foundation’s Los Angeles program last winter.  “Chill serves kids from inner city neighborhoods, foster care, youth in recovery and many other amazing groups,” he wrote.  “Once a week for six weeks, they hop on a bus to Mountain High to learn to snowboard as well as lessons they can use at home.  For some of these kids it’s their first time seeing snow and for some their first time playing outside at night.  Seeing the progression in their riding and attitudes was an absolutely humbling experience.”

The Helmet of Hope program, which began in 2008, allows fans, consumers and media members across the country to nominate their favorite charity to receive a $10,000 grant, special recognition on Johnson’s race helmet and a Blue Bunny ice cream party. To date, the program has contributed more than $300,000 to 49 different charities across the United States.

This year’s Blue Bunny Helmet of Hope campaign will run for six consecutive Sprint Cup race weekends beginning at Martinsville (Va.) Speedway in April.  Johnson will draw one winner from a list of media submissions and one from a list of fan submissions each race weekend through the Darlington (S.C.) event in May.  Nature Conservancy and Chill Foundation join the United Way of Siouxland, which was selected by the program’s title sponsor, Blue Bunny Ice Cream, as charities that will be featured on the Blue Bunny Helmet of Hope.

Fans and media members may nominate their charity by visiting www.helmetofhope.org. For more information about the most recently selected charities visit www.nature.org and www.chill.org.

About the Helmet of Hope
In its fifth year, the Helmet of Hope program gives fans and media members across the country the opportunity to nominate their favorite charity to be featured on five-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion Jimmie Johnson’s helmet for the June 24 Sprint Cup race at Infineon Raceway in Sonoma, Calif. This year’s title sponsor for Helmet of Hope is Blue Bunny Ice Cream. In addition to being featured on the helmet, each charity selected also receives a grant of $10,000 and a Blue Bunny ice cream party. To date, the program has contributed more than $300,000 to 49 different charities.

About the Jimmie Johnson Foundation
Chandra and Jimmie Johnson launched the Jimmie Johnson Foundation in February 2006. Johnson, the five-time Sprint Cup champion, drives the No. 48 Lowe’s Chevrolet Impala in NASCAR’s top 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 $5 million to various charities. For additional information on the Jimmie Johnson Foundation, please visitwww.JimmieJohnsonFoundation.org.

About Blue Bunny
Blue Bunny, founded in 1913, is a brand of Wells Enterprises, Inc. — the largest family-owned ice cream manufacturer in the United States. Today, more than 500 Blue Bunny-branded ice cream and frozen novelty products can be found across the U.S. Always committed to quality, Blue Bunny products are made with only real ice cream. Wells is headquartered in Le Mars, Iowa, the Ice Cream Capital of the World. Become a Blue Bunny fan on Facebook (facebook.com/BlueBunnyIceCream) for ice cream news and updates.