THE DALE EARNHARDT FOUNDATION NAMES ANNUAL LEGEND LEADERSHIP AWARD WINNERS
MOORESVILLE, NC (May 24, 2007) – The Dale Earnhardt Foundation has named two individuals and organizations to receive its annual Legend Leadership Award.
The Dale Earnhardt Legend Leadership Award was established to recognize deserving individuals and/or charitable organizations that offer outstanding solutions to problematic issues we all face, either in our local communities or daily lives.
The Dale Earnhardt Foundation believes the solutions for many of society’s problems rests in the imagination of individuals, who are simply looking for a means to express them. “We seek to recognize individual leaders and courageous organizations that are successfully tackling tough problems in their local community,” said Dick Baker, Executive Director of the Foundation. “They are bringing people together to create new and innovative programs, improve access to services and challenge inequality and unfair practices,” Baker added.
The 2006 winners are:
“My Own Book” – Kyle and Brady Baldwin – Green Valley, California
Kyle and Brady Baldwin are 14 and 16 year old brothers from Green Valley, California who love to read, among other things. Being raised in a home surrounded with books, they were shocked to learn that some children never have a book of their own. Just over a year ago, they conceived a plan to collect and give away new or gently used books to under privileged children in their community. Through the support of local businesses, book publishers, bookstores and individuals, their program began to take shape. Once enough books were collected for one classroom, they arranged a visit to an area school to give away the books.
During their classroom visit, they read an age appropriate story to the children; tell them about the local library and how to get a library card of their own. Books are then laid out on tables and each child in the classroom can select a book to keep. A special book plate with the child’s name is then placed inside the cover – and it then becomes that child’s book.
Kyle and Brady’s original goal was to give away 750 books by the end of this school year. As of this past December, they had already collected and distributed 2,762 books and to date they have distributed over 4,800 books and still going. Their long term goal is to make “My Own Book” continue to grow and expand to more communities and to help people realize that the simple act of reading to a child can make their community a better place for all.
Nicole Donant of Bolivar, Ohio
Nicole Donant is not your typical 14 year old girl. What started out as a Girl Scout community service project to conduct a book drive with a goal of collecting 1,000 books turned into something bigger – something much bigger - a brand new library for a neighboring community.
Nicole collected, cleaned, repaired and sorted over 6,000 books and the town of Mineral City, Ohio was grateful, but it had been over 30 years since the town had a library and it would cost $350,000 to build a new one. Undaunted, Nicole kept collecting books for her project knowing that someday they would have a home.
In 2005, the NBC-TV Show “Three Wishes” hosted by Amy Grant came to town and Nicole and her father Steve went to the first casting call so Nicole could tell them about her wish for a new library for Mineral City. Thanks to Nicole’s perseverance and determination, her wish was granted and just over a year ago, the ribbon was cut to open the new library which the grateful city named in her honor. The new facility has over 10,000 books, eight computers with public internet access and a very special place called “Nicole’s Corner” where she reads stories to children on a weekly basis. Nicole’s selfless wish and efforts has given endless resources to enrich the lives of an entire community for many years to come.
What makes her story even more special is that Nicole has Cerebral Palsy. But rather than making a wish for herself, she put others first, which makes her truly deserving of this special award in the eyes of the judges.
The Legend Leadership Award highlights the importance of leadership in improving people’s lives and to showcase resourceful leaders that are bringing about positive change. By recognizing and sharing the stories of these leaders, The Dale Earnhardt Foundation hopes to inspire others to become leaders in their own communities.
In honor of Dale Earnhardt’s record seven NASCAR Cup Championships; The Dale Earnhardt Foundation will annually award up to seven grants of up to $7,000 each. The winners were honored during a special ceremony at the corporate headquarters of Dale Earnhardt, Inc. on Dale Earnhardt Day, April 29, 2007. Each winner will also receive a signature trophy and have their names prominently displayed at Dale Earnhardt Inc. for the following year. The cash award will be in the form of a grant to a winning charitable organization. In the case of an individual winner, the cash award is restricted for the educational support and/or tuition assistance of the winner, or a member of the winner’s immediate family, in pursuing a secondary education at an accredited institution.
For more information and to obtain an entry form, visit the Dale Earnhardt Foundation website at www.TheDaleEarnhardtFoundation.org. Founded in 2002, The Dale Earnhardt Foundation was established to carry on Dale’s name and good works through charitable causes he supported during his lifetime.
In addition to the Legend Leadership Award, the Foundation has a number of charitable initiatives underway that focus on the needs of Children, Education and Wildlife Preservation.