The Sonoma Chapter of Speedway Children’s Charities will distribute $273,072 to 38 qualified youth organizations in Sonoma County for the 2011 season.

The chapter's Board of Trustees recently approved the distribution of funds at its annual meeting. Speedway Children's Charities is the charitable arm of Speedway Motorsports, Inc., which owns and operates Infineon Raceway.            

The monies awarded in 2011 were generated through a combination of events held during the raceway’s major-event weekends, including the Children’s Champions Grand Marshal’s Banquet and the KFOX Race & Rock Charity Auction, which combined to raise more than $85,000. Both were held during the Toyota/Save Mart 350 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series weekend in June. The 7th annual Classic Sports Racing Group’s (CSRG) Charity Challenge generated an additional $42,000.

The chapter has distributed more than $3.9 million since 2001. In all, the chapter hosted 11 events in 2011.

“Because of organizations like Speedway Children’s Charities, we at the Petaluma People Services Center are able to extend services to teens who have a variety of issues, whether it’s abuse, alcohol or drug issues, family issues or gang intervention and prevention,” said Elece Hempel, Executive Director of Petaluma People Services Center. “Speedway Children’s Charities is a great group and we are happy to be affiliated with it.”

Speedway Children's Charities is a non-profit organization with the purpose of raising funds to be distributed to qualified children's organizations. Founded in 1984 by Bruton Smith, chairman of Speedway Motorsports Inc., Speedway Children's Charities originated at Charlotte Motor Speedway in North Carolina.

Thirty-eight youth groups will receive funding from Speedway Children’s Charities in 2011, some of which include:

Boys and Girls Club of Sonoma Valley; California Parenting Institute; California Youth Outreach; Catholic Charities; Committee on the Shelterless (COTS); Community Action Partnership; Conservation Corps/ North Bay; Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA);  DeMeo Teen Club; Individuals Now (SAY); Hanna Boys Center; La Luz Center; LifeWorks of Sonoma County; Martial Arts Youth Institute; Matrix A Parent Network & Resource Center; McDowell Drug Task Force; Mentor Me Petaluma; North Bay Children's Center; PDI Surgery Center; Petaluma People Services; Redwood Community Health Coalition; Redwood Empire Food Bank; River to Coast Children's Services; Roseland Charter School; Sonoma Teen Center; Sonoma Valley Education Foundation; Sonoma Valley Education Foundation (Kid Scoop); Sonoma Valley Education Foundation (Police Dept Program); Sonoma Valley Mentoring Alliance; Southwest Community Health Center; Sunny Hills Services; The Living Room; The Salvation Army; Verity; Valley of the Moon Children's Foundation; Willmar Center; Worth Our Weight; and the YWCA of Sonoma County.

For more information on the Sonoma Chapter of Speedway Children’s Charities, visit or contact Denise Silver at or 707-933-3950.