NASCAR driver Jimmie Johnson’s charitable foundation is giving $100,000 to Northwest School of the Arts in Charlotte to build an outdoor health and fitness trail.
The six-time NASCAR Sprint Cup champion and his wife, Chandra, announced the Champions Grant at the NASCAR Hall of Fame in uptown Charlotte on Wednesday.
The grants are awarded annually to K-12 public and charter schools in and around the couple’s hometowns in San Diego and El Cajon, Calif., and Muskogee and Tulsa, Okla., and their current home in Charlotte. Since 2006, the foundation has committed more than $9.5 million to charities that help children, families and communities nationwide.
“As an arts magnet school, all of our before- and after-school activities, as well as elective classes are in the arts,” said Robin Pacifico, a health and physical education teacher at Northwest. “Therefore, we do not have any tracks, weight rooms, fitness fields, exercise rooms, sports teams, and physical education elective classes.”
Pacifico said Northwest’s highly competitive arts programs increases stress and anxiety in students, leading to more absences and visits to the guidance department and school nurse.
“The fitness trail will compensate for the lack of athletic facilities and fitness time, while creating a positive, activity-based environment for all students,” Pacifico said.
Johnson said he and wife were impressed by the applications submitted this year for Champions Grants. “Schools have such wide-ranging needs, and, thanks to our partner Lowe’s, we are thrilled to be able to support so many great projects,” Johnson said in a statement. More than $4.8 million has been contributed through the Champions Grant program since 2009.
The grant to Northwest is in partnership with the Lowe’s Toolbox for Education grant program. Johnson’s foundation funds the Champions Grants and Lowe’s, his race team’s sponsor, helps administer them.