Speedway Children's Charities donated in excess of $725,000 to organizations in the Charlotte, N.C., region benefiting area children during the grand opening of Carolina Christmas, Nov. 22 at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

In a special presentation Monday night, the dollar amount donated was unveiled in a LED, or light emitting diode, display as more than 75 children from area charities were on hand for the program.

Marcus Smith, president and general manager of Charlotte Motor Speedway and president of Speedway Children's Charities Charlotte Chapter, joined Santa Claus in awarding grants to 75 local organizations Monday evening. Throughout the course of the year Speedway Children's Charities has donated to 92 organizations, directly impacting more than 45,000 children.

"We are honored to be able to assist in helping so many children this year," said Smith. "It is such a blessing to give back to the community and see all of the lives that have been impacted through these donations this year."

Speedway Children's Charities raised the money through various fundraising activities along with individual and corporate donations throughout the year.

A number of area agencies will directly benefit from the funds, including A Better World (helps provide finances to operate after-school programs), Birthday Blessings (Shelter Party Program hosts birthday parties for homeless children and their families), Northeast Foundation, Inc. (helps fund Camp Open Airways and Camp Sweet Freedom for asthmatic and diabetic children to attend a summer day camp under medical supervision to control their asthma and diabetes while participating in typical camp activities) and Thompson Child & Family Focus (provides comprehensive early childhood education where typically developing and special needs children learn together).

In addition to the grant distribution, Charlotte Motor Speedway celebrated the opening night of Carolina Christmas, a spectacular new 2.5-mile drive-through Christmas light park and village located on the track and infield of the legendary superspeedway. The celebration included fireworks and the simultaneous lighting of the entire Carolina Christmas display, which features more than a million lights and 500 different light displays.

About Speedway Children's Charities
The mission of Speedway Children's Charities remains true to the ideals it was founded upon in 1982: To care for children in educational, financial, social and medical need in order to help them lead productive lives. SCC provides funding for hundreds of non-profit organizations throughout the nation that meet the direct needs of children. Our vision is that every child has the same opportunities no matter what obstacle they are facing. For more information visit www.charlotte.speedwaycharities.org.

2010 Charlotte Chapter Grant Recipients

A Better World
A Child's Place of Charlotte, Inc.
A Place for Hope, Inc.
Abilities Unlimited of the Carolinas, Inc.
Adolescent and Family Enrichment Council Alexander Youth Network Allegro Foundation American Heart Association Arts for Life Assistance League of Charlotte Autism Foundation of the Carolinas Barium Springs Home for Children Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Charlotte Birthday Blessings Boys and Girls Club of Cabarrus County, Inc.
Cabarrus County Partnership of Children
Camp CARE, Inc.
Catherine's House, Inc.
Charity League, Inc.
Charlotte Emergency Housing
Charlotte Speech and Hearing Center
Children's Home of Lancaster County
Children's Home Society of N.C.
Classroom Central, Inc.
Communities in Schools of Cabarrus County Communities in Schools of Charlotte Communities In Schools of Rowan County Cookies for Kids Cancer Crisis Assistance Ministry Crisis Pregnancy Center of Gaston County, Inc.
Dilworth Center for Chemical Dependency
Family Services Inc./Children's Advocacy Center Florence Crittenton Services, Inc.
Freedom School Partners
GATE Pregnancy Resource Center
GHA, Inc.
Hispanic Learning Center of Cabarrus County Holy Angels, Inc.
Hometown Heroes
Hospice & Palliative Care - Charlotte Region Hospice & Palliative Care of Iredell County Jeff Gordon Foundation Jonie and Friends/Charlotte Family Retreats Junior League of Charlotte, Inc.
KinderMourn, Inc.
Legacy of the Vine Ministries, Inc.
Leukemia and Lymphoma Society
Levine's Children's Hospital
Logan Community Day Care Association, Inc.
Make A Wish Foundation
March Forth with Hope Foundation, Inc.
Mecklenburg Guardian ad Litem Advocacy Foundation Minter Community Misty Meadows Mitey Riders, Inc.
NASCAR Foundation
NFL Alumni Community
Northeast Foundation, Inc.
Philips Academy of North Carolina, Inc.
Piedmont Mediation Center, Inc.
Piedmont Residential Development Center, Inc.
Pregnancy Resource Center of Charlotte
Residential & Support Services, Inc.
Ronald McDonald House of Charlotte
Saving Grace Farm, Inc.
Seigle Avenue Preschool Cooperative
Shelter Health Services, Inc.
Silent Images, Inc.
Special Olympics North Carolina
Special Olympics
Specialized Alternatives for Families and Youth of S.C.
Stanley County Family YMCA
Swargabhoomi-Heaven on Earth, Inc.
The Academic Learning Center, Inc.
The Arc of Cabarrus County, Inc.
The Arc of Mecklenburg County, Inc.
The Arc of Rowan County, Inc.
The Dale Jr. Foundation
The Junior Charity League of Concord, Inc.
The Parker Autism Foundation, Inc.
The Salvation Army of Greater Charlotte
The Salvation Army- Concord, N.C.
Thompson Child & Family Focus
Tony Stewart Foundation
United Family Services, Inc.
University City Fellowship
Victory Junction
With Friends, Inc.
YMCA of Greater Charlotte
York County Council on Alcohol & Drug Abuse, Inc.
Youth Commission International