BRISTOL, Tenn. – Six-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion Jimmie Johnson announced Friday the launch of the 2014 edition of the Blue Bunny Helmet of Hope campaign, which this year includes new criteria for being named one of the five $25,000 grant recipients.
During a press conference this morning at Bristol Motor Speedway in Bristol, Tenn., Johnson, along with Mike Wells, president and CEO of Wells Enterprises, maker of Blue Bunny Ice Cream, revealed that not-for-profit (501c3) organizations supporting K-12 public education will be eligible to compete for one of the five available grants of $25,000 – an increase in the individual grant amount from 2013.
“The foundation’s goal is to provide funding for K-12 public education and we wanted this year’s Blue Bunny Helmet of Hope program to reflect on that mission,” Johnson said. “(Wife) Chandra and I are really proud of our relationship with Blue Bunny and the Wells Family. We think it’s great that we can work together to provide these important programs with financial support.”
The Blue Bunny Helmet of Hope program, which began in 2008, allows fans and consumers across the country to nominate their favorite education-focused charities, including Parent/Teacher Associations, to receive a $25,000 grant, a Blue Bunny ice cream party, and special recognition on Johnson’s race helmet. Nominations will be accepted at www.helmetofhope.org through April 4. Ten semifinalists will be selected from these nominations. The public vote to choose the final five grant recipients will take place April 17 through 24.
“Chandra and I can’t wait to see how the semifinalist organizations mobilize their networks to vote,” Johnson said. “The popularity of social media platforms creates the potential for a lot of digital buzz about the Blue Bunny Helmet of Hope campaign while shining a light on the importance of programs that support K-12 public education. It’s very exciting and we are encouraging everyone to nominate and then vote. Let’s have some fun for a good cause.”
To date, the program has contributed more than $560,000 to 71 different charities.
“At Blue Bunny we believe that it’s not just what we do, but how we do it that differentiates us from other companies,” Wells said. “As title sponsor of the Jimmie Johnson Foundation’s Helmet of Hope program we have the opportunity to demonstrate one of our core fundamentals of doing the right thing and giving back. It is an honor to serve as title sponsor once again and we look forward to supporting education-focused grants through this year’s initiative.”
Johnson will take to the track this weekend at Bristol in the No. 48 Lowe’s Chevrolet SS. He will wear the actual Blue Bunny Helmet of Hope during the Sprint Cup Series race July 27 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
For additional information and to nominate your favorite charity, visit www.helmetofhope.org.