The Las Vegas Chapter of Speedway Children's Charities held its annual Grant Distribution and Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony at Las Vegas Motor Speedway on Tuesday evening.  The Las Vegas chapter presented checks in the total sum of $228,000 to 31 local children's charities at the ceremony.

At a time when most charities have experienced decreases in donations, the Las Vegas Chapter of Speedway Children's Charities was able to grant $31,000 more than 2001.  Last year, the Las Vegas chapter awarded a total of $196,500 to 17 causes.

"We held our very first strategic planning session last January and we set some aggressive goals for the Las Vegas chapter for 2002," said Dan Stark, chairman of SCC's Las Vegas chapter.  "We're very pleased that we were able to meet and exceed those goals as evidenced by the amount of money we were able to grant this year to those charities which help the needy children of southern Nevada."

Fundraising events for the 2002 season included the annual NASCAR Driver Auction at Sam's Town Live! (which raised $89,000), Bob & Mike's Third Annual Birthday Bash (a street rod and race car show held in Eldorado Park) and an NHRA Jr. Dragster event held at The Strip at LVMS. 

The evening's festivities included a performance by the Culture Shock Las Vegas inner city dance troupe and a visit from Santa Claus.  Chris Powell, president and general manager of Las Vegas Motor Speedway, lit the traditional SCC Christmas tree.

Charities receiving grant checks at the ceremony include: Amerindian ($15,000), Assistance League of Las Vegas ($4,000), Boulder Dam Area Council ($5,000), Boys & Girls Club of Henderson ($5,000), Boys & Girls Club of Las Vegas ($5,000), Candlelighters for Childhood Cancer ($15,000), Children's Services Guild ($16,000), Classroom on Wheels Inc. ($12,000), Culture Shock Las Vegas ($11,000), Girls & Boys Town of Las Vegas ($9,000), Hemophilia Foundation of So. Nevada ($12,000), I Have A Dream Foundation ($4,000), Learning For Life -- Boulder Dam ($5,000), Lied Discovery Children's Museum ($4,000), Las Vegas Sun Summer Camp Fund ($15,000), Make-A-Wish Foundation ($5,000), Miracle Flights for Kids ($6,000), Muscular Dystrophy Association ($4,000), Nellis AFB Youth Programs ($2,000), Nevada Ballet Theatre ($4,000), Nevada Childhood Cancer Foundation ($4,000), Nevada Children's Center ($2,000), New Horizons Academy ($10,000), Olive Crest ($4,000), Opportunity Village ($12,000), Shade Tree shelter ($4,000), Spread The Word Nevadaids ($4,000), St. Jude's Ranch for Children ($4,000), The Foundation for Positively Kids ($10,000), Westcare Foundation ($12,000) and YMCA of Southern Nevada ($4,000).

Speedway Children's Charities (www.speedwaycharities.org) is a non-profit foundation based in Charlotte, N.C., that distributes funds to charities and foundations providing medical, emotional and social services to children in need.  Founded in 1984 by O. Bruton Smith, chief executive officer of Speedway Motorsports, Inc., Speedway Children's Charities has grown into a national foundation with chapters located at each of the six Speedway Motorsports Inc., facilities, including Las Vegas Motor Speedway, Infineon Raceway in Sonoma, Calif., Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway, Lowe's Motor Speedway in Charlotte, N.C., Texas Motor Speedway in Dallas-Ft. Worth and Atlanta Motor Speedway. Each chapter's objective is to assist as many children as possible.  In 2001, SCC awarded over $1.3 million to 286 non-profit children's groups, representing an impact to more than 190,000 children in need.