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NASCAR Champ Jimmie Johnson Donates $550,000 to 12 Schools

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Last week, six-time NASCAR champion Jimmie Johnson was in the spirit of giving.

On Thursday, Johnson and his wife, Chandra, announced that they were donating more than $550,000 in grants to 12 traditional public and charter schools in three states. The grants went to schools in their respective hometowns—El Cajon, Calif., and Muskogee, Okla.—along with schools in Charlotte, N.C., where they currently live.


"Chani and I are very excited for this year's projects to get off the ground," said Johnson in a statement. "The Champions Grant program is great because we get to see the impact of the projects from start to finish.  We appreciate being able to play a role in the education of students in our hometowns and here in Charlotte."

The breakdown of the grants was as follows:

  • $257,750 toward science and technology needs
  • $168,316 for health and fitness activities
  • $80,458 for arts programs
  • $49,979 for literacy initiatives

Jenna Fryer of The Associated Press shared more details about some of the projects:

Among the projects funded this year were: $49,840 to River Elementary School in Concord to purchase LEGO EV3 robots to aid with learning engineering skills, problem solving and collaboration; $78,000 to Sadler Arts Academy in Muskogee to build a walking/running path to enhance student fitness; $80,458 to Grossmont High School in El Cajon to integrate technology and foster collaboration between the arts and core academic classes.

You can read about all 12 of the winners here, including how much each school has won and what the grant money will go toward.

"The majority of our grant requests are STEM-related, and as I was a boy in school, I tuned out so quick, so easy, especially in English or any of those other classes," Chandra Johnson told Fryer. "If I had something captivating with a computer or building a robot, any of these projects, it would have kept me tuned in a lot more in school."

The Johnsons have donated more than $3.7 million to schools since 2009. Their charitable foundation, the Jimmie Johnson Foundation, is currently focused on improving K-12 education.

Photo: Jimmy Johnson greets race fans before the NASCAR Sprint Cup championship series auto race on Nov. 16, 2014, in Homestead, Fla. (J Pat Carter/AP)

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