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Johnsons pledge commitment to Charlotte, N.C., education

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (Aug. 24, 2009) – Jimmie and Chandra Johnson announced a $150,000 commitment for K-12 education in the Charlotte area today through the Jimmie Johnson Foundation.

The foundation has partnered with Lowe’s, Johnson’s primary sponsor in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, and its Lowe’s Toolbox for Education program to offer a competitive grant opportunity to four local school districts in the city where the Johnsons currently reside.  The Johnsons also have announced similar initiatives in their hometowns in California and Oklahoma and have raised more than $500,000. 

“This year we felt that education was the right place to focus our fundraising efforts,” said Johnson, the three-time reigning Sprint Cup champion. “Education is something that is very important to Chani and me. Even when I first started out, my parents made me keep my grades up or I wasn’t allowed to race. I think it’s important to make sure we give teachers and students the best tools possible and hopefully, these grants will help.”

Public K-12 programs or 501c(3) parent group associations in the Charlotte-Mecklenburg School District, Mooresville Graded School District, Iredell-Statesville Schools, and Cabarrus County School District may apply for a Champions Grant through the Jimmie Johnson Foundation Web site, www.jimmiejohnsonfoundation.org.  The Champions Grants will range from $25,000-$100,000.  The grant application process closes Oct. 16. 

The Johnsons were joined at the announcement by the superintendents and representatives from the four school districts including Dr. Peter C. Gorman, Dr. Mark Edwards and Dr. Barry Shepherd.

“We are pleased to have the opportunity to compete for the Champions Grants,” said Dr. Peter C. Gorman, superintendent of Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools. “It’s a great opportunity for our teachers and principals to exercise creativity and flexibility, and it will give our students access to more resources. We appreciate the generosity of Chandra and Jimmie Johnson and Lowe’s in making these grants happen.”

Additional K-12 programs or 501c(3) parent group associations not included in these districts still may apply for a standard grant directly through the Toolbox for Education grant program at www.toolboxforeducation.com.

“Through our Toolbox for Education grant program, Lowe’s recognizes parent-initiated efforts to enrich the lives of children in our communities,” said Larry D. Stone, chairman of Lowe’s Charitable and Educational Foundation. “By partnering with the Jimmie Johnson Foundation, we will be able to give extra support to the Charlotte community through Toolbox for Education grants during the upcoming school year. We are contributing to a cause that’s important to our customers and employees and helping build a stronger foundation for the children who will be tomorrow’s employees, homeowners and community leaders.”