INDIANAPOLIS – INDYCAR and SeriousFun Children’s Network joined forces today to reignite the legacy of actor, philanthropist, race car driver and team owner Paul Newman.
SeriousFun is a natural charitable partner for INDYCAR due to Newman’s rich history with the sport and the incredible work the organization has done to enrich the lives of children living with serious illnesses and their families.
In 1983, Newman teamed with Mario Andretti and Carl Haas to begin building the long, successful Newman/Haas Racing empire. Five years later, Newman planted the seeds for a different type of empire, opening The Hole in the Wall Gang Camp in Ashford, Connecticut – a free camp where kids could escape the fear and isolation of their medical conditions and, in his words, kick back and "raise a little hell."
The concept sparked a movement that led to the creation of SeriousFun Children’s Network, a global community of 30 camps and programs that have delivered more than one million life-changing camp experiences to children with serious illnesses and their family members, completely free of charge.
One of the critical goals of the partnership is to create opportunities to support more children with serious illnesses by raising funds and awareness. With the help of the INDYCAR community, SeriousFun will continue to drive forward Newman’s vision to empower kids to reach beyond illness to discover their potential and help families find new strength.
"There were two places where my dad loved to spend his time and could truly be himself, at the track and at camp," said Clea Newman, daughter of Paul Newman and ambassador for SeriousFun. "He started the camps because he knew that giving kids with serious illnesses the chance to just be kids, if even for a little while, could help them see beyond the limits of their condition and see the possibilities for their futures. That’s the magic of camp. Having INDYCAR and SeriousFun partner to continue and grow this mission is a dream come true."
With today’s announcement, INDYCAR is underlining the significant contributions of the sport to fans and the INDYCAR community. INDYCAR highlights the power of the INDYCAR community to support causes important to its drivers, teams, fans and communities. Newman’s legacy is part of that drive to serve others.
Campers are being hosted at this weekend’s INDYCAR Grand Prix at Indianapolis Motor Speedway and at select races throughout the season. Reigning Verizon IndyCar Series champion Josef Newgarden and former Newman/Haas driver Graham Rahal are among the drivers in support of the SeriousFun effort.
"With Paul’s contributions to our sport and his extraordinary charitable work, we see SeriousFun Children’s Network as a natural partner for INDYCAR," said C.J. O’Donnell, chief marketing officer for INDYCAR and Indianapolis Motor Speedway. "But in the end, this initiative is about doing special work for the children and their families."
To support SeriousFun, INDYCAR has launched a public service announcement (PSA) paired with a text-to-give program for races throughout the remainder of the season. This promotion urges fans to donate by texting KIDS to 900900, which will provide a link to make an online donation.
Fans can also contribute to providing life-changing experiences to children with serious illnesses by donating directly to SeriousFun at www.SeriousFunNetwork.org/indygiving.
INDYCAR will also develop select merchandise items for on-site retail stores and via INDYCAR.com. All net proceeds will benefit SeriousFun and its invaluable work.
About SeriousFun Children’s Network
SeriousFun Children's Network is a global community of 30 camps and programs serving children with serious illnesses and their families, always free of charge. With the first camp founded by Paul Newman in 1988, SeriousFun camps and programs have now delivered more than one million life-changing camp experiences to children and family members from more than 50 countries. Each member camp is an independent, not-for-profit organization dependent upon private funding to serve all children at no cost to their families. To learn more about SeriousFun, visit www.seriousfunnetwork.org.