CARA Charities turns 25

CARA CHARITIES CELEBRATES 25 YEARS IN 2006 Top Racing Charity Organization Has Donated Over $4 Million, Sets Stage For Big Year SPEEDWAY, Ind. (Jan. 24, 2006) -- In 2006, one of motorsports' top charity organizations turns twenty-five. CARA ...

CARA CHARITIES CELEBRATES 25 YEARS IN 2006
Top Racing Charity Organization Has Donated Over $4 Million, Sets Stage For Big Year

SPEEDWAY, Ind. (Jan. 24, 2006) -- In 2006, one of motorsports' top charity organizations turns twenty-five.

CARA Charities, started by Betty Rutherford and a group of racing drivers' wives in 1981, has developed into a driving force in the racing community with more than 500 members and over $4 million donated to needy causes in its 25-year history.

Children's health and safety issues have been a primary focus for CARA Charities and a variety of causes have benefited from the group's charitable work. The mission of CARA Charities since 1981 has been to serve the auto racing community and promote friendship throughout the motorsports family.J

CARA, with its special projects and fundraising activities, has raised and donated funds to many organizations including children's hospitals, scholarship funds, ministries and research groups. Popular projects such as "Bridgestone/Firestone Buckle Up Baby," "Soap Is Hope," CARA/Shirley Bettenhausen Children's Fund, Open Wheel Ministries and the special "Drivers" Christmas Ornament have helped produce millions of dollars for charity. The Hurricane Katrina Relief Fund was a big CARA project in 2005.

"It is hard to believe that CARA Charities is 25 years old," said Rutherford, CARA founder and wife of three-time Indy 500 champion Johnny. "CARA has expanded tremendously from those first meetings in 1981 to the great fundraising events and activities we experience now. CARA continues to further the mission of improving the lives of children as well as those members of the racing community. It has been fun to see the growth of CARA Charities and relationships that have been established. I'm proud to have been a part of it since the inception. "

CARA Charities annually produces some of the biggest social events in racing with a variety of special activities including the Indy 500 Fashion Show, Raceway Rendezvous, shop tours, progressive dinners through the paddock areas, casino and poker extravaganzas, online racing memorabilia auctions and even music CD promotions with drivers like Kenny Brack and his rock band.J

The popular CARA theme projects will continue during the 2006 open-wheel racing season with activities such as the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach Casino Cruise, the 25th annual Indy 500 Fashion Show, special shop tours, the Taste of Champ Car dinner and racetrack walks. New events also have been scheduled this year.

"The programs CARA Charities run are consistent with our corporate goals," said Al Speyer, motorsports director, Bridgestone/Firestone. "We have found great value in supporting CARA Charities and its many great events and projects."

CARA Charities' growth and contributions in its 25 years has been nationally recognized with awards and tributes.

In 2000, CARA was awarded the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's Buckle Up America Champion's Award in recognition of the "Buckle Up Baby" children's car seat program. Established in 1993, the Bridgestone/Firestone "Buckle Up Baby" project has donated nearly $800,000 in car seats to needy families and services.

In addition, the Baptist Health South Florida Foundation honored CARA Charities with the Benefactor's Award for its donations and dedications to children's safety issues.

"Dreams are often difficult to promote and achieve," said Rutherford, who currently holds the position as CARA's Director Emeritus. "And CARA's was no exception. But I feel so proud that CARA Charities has endured and become an important part of the racing landscape. As we acknowledge the entire racing community's contribution to CARA's successes, I sincerely hope that everyone will share in the celebration knowing that their contributions have helped so many children. With the leadership of (executive director) Mary Lou Bogner, dedicated board members, volunteers and sponsors, CARA will continue to grow in numbers, in events, and in charitable causes for the next 25 years."

-cara

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