More than 50,000 children in the Charlotte region will benefit from the $505,728 distributed by Speedway Children's Charities Tuesday night during the annual Tree Lighting Ceremony at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

O. Bruton Smith, founder of Speedway Children's Charities and chairman and chief executive officer of Speedway Motorsports, Inc., was joined by North Carolina Secretary of State Elaine Marshall and Scott Smith, president of the Charlotte Motor Speedway chapter of Speedway Children's Charities, in awarding the grants to 68 local organizations.

The money, raised through various activities along with individual and corporate donations throughout the year, aids the organizations in meeting the emotional, medical or educational needs of area children.

Many area agencies are direct benefactors of Speedway Children's Charities, including Camp CARE (summer camp for children with cancer), Armed Services YMCA (mentoring and tutoring program for children of servicemen), and Holy Angels (residential services and innovative programs for children who have varying degrees of mental retardation and physical disabilities).

"It's our way of putting something back into the community," said Bruton Smith. "Children are a wonderful gift and there are so many special needs that can enrich young lives right here in our backyard. It seems we never have enough money to help everyone in need, but we keep trying. Every way you turn, there is a need to help children."

Speedway Children's Charities is dedicated to providing funds to nonprofit charities that make a direct and significant impact in the lives of children in need. SCC acknowledges that many organizations providing the most basic care for children in crisis are those that have limited budgets, staff and name recognition, but are often making the most impact in their neighborhoods, communities and regions. It is Speedway Children's Charities' mission to provide the tools necessary for these organizations to continue to make a difference.

"On behalf of the children we assist. I would like to thank our volunteers, sponsors, donors and Charlotte Motor Speedway employees," said retired Air Force Maj. Gen. Tom Sadler, executive director of Speedway Children's Charities. "We could never accomplish what we do each year without their help and support."

Bruton Smith founded Speedway Children's Charities in 1984. The organization has since expanded to each of the six Speedway Motorsports, Inc. tracks across the country and has dispersed more than $15 million.

This year, Speedway Children's Charities distributed approximately $2.4 million to 399 organizations.

Speedway Children's Charities
2005 LMS Chapter Grant Recipients:

A Child's Place
Academic Learning
Alexander Youth Network
Allegro Foundation
Alliance for Children & Youth
Arby's Foundation
Assistance League of Charlotte
Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Charlotte
Boy Scouts of America-Mecklenburg County
Boys & Girls Club of Cabarrus County
Boys & Girls Club of Greater Charlotte
Boys & Girls Club of York County
Cabarrus Partnership for Children
Calvary Home for Children
Carolina Youth Commission
Chapel of Christ the King Weekday School
Charity League
Charlotte Boxing Academy
Charlotte Emergency Housing
Charlotte Pregnancy Care Center
Charlotte Attention Home
Children's Scholarship Fund
Communities in Schools of Charlotte-Meck.
Communities in Schools of Lancaster Co.
Cystic Fibrosis Foundation
Florence Crittenton Services
Girl Scouts of the Pioneer Council
Girl Scouts, Hornets' Nest Council
Group Homes for the Autistic
Hendrick Foundation for Children
Holy Angels
Hospice & Community Care
Hospice & Palliative Care
Hospice of Cabarrus County
Johnston YMCA
Joni and Friends
JOYRide Therapeutic Riding Center
Junior Charity League of Concord
Keystone Substance Abuse Service
Lancaster Children's Home
LifeSpan Incorporated
Misty Meadows Mitey Riders
Motor Racing Outreach
North Mecklenburg Child Development
NorthEast Medical Center
Palmetto Citizens Against Sexual Assault
Prevent Blindness North Carolina
Reach Out and Read-Charlotte
Room At The Inn
Salvation Army of Cabarrus County
Seigle Avenue Partners
Special Olympics Cabarrus Co.
Special Operations Warrior Foundation
The Family Center
The Girls' Home
Thompson Child & Family Focus
Trey and Tia Dodson Memorial Scholarship
United Family Services
Victory Junction Gang Camp
YMCA Armed Services YMCA Camp
Thunderbird York Place Youth Homes