CHARLOTTE, N.C. (Dec. 16, 2010) – In what is surely a fitting end to an amazing season, reigning five-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion Jimmie Johnson and wife, Chandra, announced the recipients of more than $650,000 in education grants. For the second consecutive year, the Jimmie Johnson Foundation/Lowe's Toolbox for Education Champions Grants were awarded to deserving K-12 public schools in the Johnsons' hometowns and where they currently reside. "We continue to see the huge need in public education," said Chandra Johnson, co-founder of the Jimmie Johnson Foundation. "There was a substantial increase in the number of applications and the amount of funding requested this year. We are honored that we are able to fund 13 new projects in our second year." The Johnsons announced the recipients of the donations totaling $688,087 at a special ceremony at Collinswood Language Academy in Charlotte, N.C. Collinswood was one of three Charlotte area schools awarded a grant. The school, a full magnet offering the Dual Language Spanish Immersion program, was awarded $45,947 for the construction of a playground for first through eighth grade students. "Chani and I have been able to visit several schools, and I think that's when you really see the impact these grants can have on the students," said Jimmie Johnson, a native of El Cajon, Calif. "Chani and I are proud that we are able to make an impact in our hometowns as well as in Charlotte, at schools such as Collinswood." The new playground will replace the run-down existing equipment and will meet the needs of the growing population as Collinswood adds seventh and eighth grades over the next two years. Collinswood also was the recipient of a 2009 Champions Grant for the installation of a SMART Board. "We are so honored that Jimmie and Chandra not only selected Collinswood as a recipient of a 2010 Toolbox for Education Grant, but also selected our school as the site of this year's announcement," said Nicolette Grant, Principal at Collinswood Language Academy. "In this difficult economic time, it is so rewarding to know that our local heroes are taking an active interest in education and providing much needed financial support. This gift will have a positive impact on the social and physical development of our students for years to come." This year, the Jimmie Johnson Foundation/Lowe's Toolbox for Education Champions Grants program received more than 100 applications from eligible school districts in California, Oklahoma, and North Carolina. Grant awards included $198,554 toward science and technology needs, $133,845 for playgrounds and athletic facilities, $88,097 toward trade-based programs, $82,455 for experiential learning, $72,000 for performing arts programs, $68,098 toward literacy initiatives, and $25,038 in school improvements. "Jimmie and Chandra Johnson have proven to be great partners with Lowe's in supporting education," said Larry D. Stone, chairman of Lowe's Charitable and Educational Foundation. "We know the grants will fulfill some important needs for these schools." In two years 40 Champions Grants have been awarded to 35 schools totaling more than $1.5 million. The 2010 Champions Grants were awarded to the following schools: California •Chase Avenue School (El Cajon) •Emerald STEM Magnet Middle School (El Cajon) •Grossmont High School (El Cajon) •Fulton K-8 School (San Diego) •Marston Middle School (San Diego) •Mission Bay High School (San Diego) •San Diego Unified School District (San Diego) North Carolina •Collinswood Language Academy (Charlotte) •KIPP Charlotte (Charlotte) •Pressly School (Statesville) Oklahoma •Cherokee Elementary (Muskogee) •Tony Goetz Elementary (Muskogee) •Mitchell Elementary (Tulsa) For a complete list of 2010 grant recipients and projects, please visit www.jimmiejohnsonfoundation.org. K-12 programs or 501c(3) parent group associations still may apply for a Lowe's Toolbox for Education grant of up to $5,000 directly at www.toolboxforeducation.com. The spring cycle closes February 18, 2011. For more information on Toolbox for Education, join their facebook page at www.facebook.com/toolboxforeducation.