THE DALE EARNHARDT FOUNDATION NAMES ANNUAL LEGEND LEADERSHIP AWARD WINNERS

MOORESVILLE, NC (May 24, 2006) – The Dale Earnhardt Foundation has named the individuals and organizations to receive its annual Legend Leadership Award.  (See attached list for winner’s names, locations and a brief description of their winning entry). 

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 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, 2006.  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 by Teresa Earnhardt, 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, including a partnership with merican Forests, which has announced the Dale Earnhardt Forest project in support of our environment and wildlife preservation. 

2005 LEGEND LEADERSHIP AWARD WINNERS

Suitcases for Kids (Aubyn Burnside) – Hickory, NC
In 1995, at the age of 10, Aubyn Burnside conceived and launched a local project to provide foster children with dignity and self respect through the simple gift of a suitcase for their belongings rather than being shuttled from foster home to foster home with their belongings sometimes carried in black trash bags.  Her idea spread quickly with individuals and organizations helping out.  Today, she is a junior in college and still serves as CEO of Suitcases for Kids.  The organization now has chapters in all 50 states and 83 foreign countries.  The program also provides luggage to scholarship campers, adult daycare centers and victims of natural disasters.   www.suitcasesforkids.org

Cribs for Kids Program – Maternity Care Coalition – Philadelphia, PA
Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) is the leading cause of death among healthy infants under the age of one year.  While the rate of SIDS is dropping nationally, it is nearly twice the national average in the Philadelphia area.  Since 2003, the Cribs for Kids program has supplied, free of charge, over 6,000 cribs to needy and at risk families in its service area.  Additionally, the family receives education and training on proper sleep position and sleep environment for their infants along with referral services to other health and human services providers.  www.momobile.org/programs/cribs.html


Operation Caring Through Sharing (Brenda George) – Ormond Beach, FL
As one of 10 children, Brenda George has personally suffered from homelessness and hunger during her lifetime.  From that experience, Operation Caring Through Sharing was formed.  The program provides nutritional assistance to families in need on a continual basis of no less than one year in an effort to promote stability for the family.  School classes act as “sponsors” for needy families within their own community and commit to monthly collection and delivery of food boxes for an entire year.  In less than 16 months of existence, over 51,000 pounds of food have been delivered to over 160 families and 350 children in the local community.  www.octs04.org

Animals for Alex (Welland Burnside) – Murrells Inlet, SC
Welland Burnside conceived this program following the loss of his young friend Alex, who died of cancer.  He asked friends to honor Alex by placing a stuffed animal on his grave on his birthday every year.  The animals were then donated to local law enforcement agencies to be given to children on traumatic situations such as automobile accidents, domestic violence, etc.  Today the program has grown into organized stuffed animal collections in 37 states and 8 foreign countries.  In addition to law enforcement agencies, the animals are distributed to hospitalized children and those who are victims of natural disasters.

The Child Connection – Louisville, KY
Organized in 1992, The Child Connection was founded to assist in the recovery of missing and exploited children throughout the US and Canada.  The organization uses certified dogs and handlers to locate evidence, DNA matter and missing children.  In addition, the organization conducts a Stranger Safety Education Program for children 4-18 years of age through school assemblies and public appearances.  Over one million children in Kentucky and Southern Indiana have been reached through their program and K-9 demonstrations.  www.childconnection.org