CHARLOTTE, N.C. - Bank of America, the Official Bank of NASCAR and Charlotte Motor Speedway, recently announced $1 million in educational grants to nonprofit organizations in Charlotte and a series of programs that provide area students with NASCAR-themed curriculum and career opportunities, in conjunction with its title sponsorship of the Bank of America 500 on Saturday, October 15. The grants, made through the Bank of America Charitable Foundation, along with the additional programming will help address the increasing educational achievement gap and high school dropout rates that continue to impact the economic vitality of Charlotte and its surrounding communities, while showcasing the variety of career opportunities that NASCAR has to offer the region's young people.
Additionally, the bank, which is a partner of Hendrick Motorsports, announced exclusive ticket package offers so customers may experience Bank of America's signature race and one of the crown-jewel events in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Chase to the Championship. The offers include exclusive access to the Bank of America Turn 4 Club at Charlotte Motor Speedway, along with limited edition merchandise.
"Our continued support of NASCAR and the Bank of America 500 provides us with a powerful connection to the community, our heritage with racing and an opportunity to showcase the ways we are delivering value to our customers and fueling the continued growth and transformation of Charlotte and the region," said Charles Bowman, North Carolina and Charlotte market president, Bank of America.
Continuing to support education in Charlotte
The Charlotte-based nonprofit organizations receiving funding include: Communities in Schools, Central Piedmont Community College, Citizen Schools, and Freedom School Partners. The $1 million in combined grants are part of the bank's ongoing support of local academic achievement, dropout prevention and mentoring programs.
Providing students with a math- and science-enriched experience
Bank of America also is providing continued support for its NASCAR-related education program, Students at the Speedway, which highlights the importance of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) and connects success on the track with success in the classroom. A NASCAR personality will lead a variety of activities for 100 middle school students from Ranson Middle School, Martin Luther King Jr. Middle School, James Martin Middle School and Thomasboro K-8. The activities are designed to demonstrate the critical role that STEM plays in NASCAR, while exposing them to the exciting careers they can pursue by concentrating on these important subjects.
Bank of America employees, Charlotte Motor Speedway and a team of engineer-educators from Ten80 Education have organized the event activities, which include:
•"Bank of America STEM 500," a racing-themed interactive game demonstrating how math is applied to the daily operations and finances of a race team.
•Tour of the track to showcase how STEM applies to track banking, refueling strategies, drive lines and other racing strategies.
•A variety of interactive exhibits, including the FastTrack RC National STEM League, in which students authentically apply STEM to optimize performance of remote-control cars just like NASCAR professionals.
•Two tickets to the Bank of America 500 for each participating student.
"Teachable moments don't always happen within the confines of the classroom," Bowman added. "It is our hope that through what students learn about STEM and the diverse career paths in NASCAR, we can provide encouragement and a practical application of how productive educational choices in science, technology, engineering and math can lead to rewarding and lucrative careers."
"From drivers to highly specialized mechanics to sales, marketing, operations and finance, the NASCAR industry offers a variety of paths to well-paying career choices," said Marcus Smith, president, Charlotte Motor Speedway. "Our team continues to be impressed with the many ways Bank of America supports our industry, especially the bank's recent emphasis on helping to educate NASCAR's next generation workforce."
Showcasing NASCAR's diverse career opportunities
Bank of America will showcase the diverse career opportunities offered by Charlotte's motorsports industry by holding an inaugural career day for high school students at the NASCAR Hall of Fame on Sept. 28. The event will provide 500 students from 12 Charlotte-area schools an opportunity to learn about several core career NASCAR disciplines, including engineering, marketing, safety and competition; to help develop appreciation of the different career paths available to them; and provide opportunities to meet with members of the NASCAR community to network and answer questions. Additionally, Bank of America and its partners at NASCAR, Charlotte Motor Speedway and Hendrick Motorsports have teamed up to expand internship opportunities for college students to gain real-world experience. More information about the expanded internship and how students can apply will be announced at a later date.