Giving back

2010 Community Luncheon at MIS

MIS Cares, Michigan International Speedway’s charitable arm, was in another giving mood this holiday season, granting more than $30,000 to area organizations at its annual community luncheon Thursday.

MIS Cares, a partner with the NASCAR Foundation, has donated more than $48,000 to area charities during its annual holiday luncheon the past two years. MIS’ non-profit effort started in the spring of 2009 to raise money and distribute the charitable dollars through grants to non-profit groups in the region.

This year, local organizations that will benefit from MIS Cares are:
• Smiles on Wheels ($7,000)
• The Nature Conservancy ($5,000)
• Therapeutic Riding Inc. ($5,000)
• St. Mary of Good Counsel ($4,800)
• City of Jackson Human Relations Commission/MS Challenge Project ($2,500)
• Family Counseling & Children’s Services/Catherine Cobb Domestic Violence Shelter ($2,000)
• Hillside Middle School in Northville ($1,900)
• Columbia Middle School Transitions Class ($1,800)

“We had a great year raising money through MIS Cares and being able to give the money back to local charitable organizations during the holiday season is the most rewarding part,” MIS Director of Government and Community Affairs Alisha Cottrell said. “We had to make some tough decisions, but our board felt that these organizations would benefit a great deal from our donations. Hopefully we can continue to grow our fund-raising efforts year after year and give even more back to more groups in the future.”

All of the MIS Cares grant recipients had amazing stories to tell. Smiles on Wheels, for example, provides preventative dental services to 33 elementary schools in Jackson, Branch, Ingham, Lenawee and Hillsdale counties. The $7,000 grant will go a long way to this organization and touch many lives, Cottrell said.

And with a $5,000 grant to Therapeutic Riding Inc. in Ann Arbor, MIS Cares will adopt a horse named Maizy for a year, covering her expenses at the stable. Disabled riders, aged 3 to 60, many of whom have Down Syndrome or have been diagnosed with autism, participate in programs at Therapeutic Riding. Horseback riding helps the riders gain personal growth by helping them develop physical, cognitive and emotional capabilities, all while building self-esteem.

The success of the Fish Your Bass Off fishing tournament in August, which raised more than $27,000, and other fund-raising campaigns throughout the year, including the sales of NASCAR Day pins, helped MIS Cares earn money. The board hopes to continue that financial growth so it can have the flexibility to spread among many area charitable organizations.

MIS Cares donated more than $15,000 in grant donations to a number of area organizations and charities in 2009, including the American Red Cross, Michigan United Conservation Clubs (MUCC) and the Salvation Army’s Toys for Tots campaign.

But that’s not all. Throughout the year, MIS Cares and Michigan International Speedway donate money, tickets and the use of the facility to area organizations, charities and service groups. In 2010 alone, the amount donated to these groups totaled more than $220,000.

Nestled in the lush Irish Hills of Southeastern Michigan, Michigan International Speedway is the Great Escape, a venerable NASCAR national park where fans can get away and enjoy the very best in racing and camaraderie. It’s the love of racing and the thrill of a great time for race fans and drivers alike.  

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