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Jimmie Johnson Foundation Helping Rev Up Grossmont Performing Arts

Donation of $72,000 will buy new risers for the stage, sound equipment and recording studio for high school, thanks to Johnson and wife, Chandra.


NASCAR legend Jimmie Johnson didn't attend Grossmont High School (he went to Granite Hills), but his foundation is friendly to Foothillers.

The Jimmie Johnson Foundation on Thursday announced that the school in his hometown of El Cajon has won a 2010 Champions Grant worth $72,000.

"The grant will fund new risers for the stage," said Catherine Martin of the high school district. The money also will go toward sound equipment to be shared by all performing arts teachers—dance, theater, band, guitar and choir.

Money also will go toward what Martin called a "high-tech recording studio that the music teachers will use."

Mary Barr, executive director of the foundation, based in Charlotte, NC, said this was the group's first award to Grossmont High School.

"The grant winners are selected through a competitive review process including a written application and site visit," Barr said.

More than $650,000 in education grants were announced Thursday in Charlotte by Johnson and his wife, Chandra.  The awards target K-12 schools in the Johnsons' hometowns and where they now live.

"We continue to see the huge need in public education," said Chandra Johnson, co-founder of the Jimmie Johnson Foundation. "There was a substantial increase in the number of applications and the amount of funding requested this year. We are honored that we are able to fund 13 new projects in our second year."

The Johnsons announced the recipients of the donations totaling $688,087 at a special ceremony at Collinswood Language Academy in Charlotte, N.C.

Collinswood was one of three Charlotte area schools awarded a grant. The school, a full magnet offering the dual language Spanish immersion program, was awarded $45,947 for the construction of a playground for first through eighth grade students.

"Chani and I have been able to visit several schools, and I think that's when you really see the impact these grants can have on the students," said Jimmie Johnson.  "Chani and I are proud that we are able to make an impact in our hometowns as well as in Charlotte, at schools such as Collinswood."

This year, the Jimmie Johnson Foundation/Lowe's Toolbox for Education Champions Grants program received more than 100 applications from eligible school districts in California, Oklahoma, and North Carolina. 

Grant awards included $198,554 toward science and technology needs, $133,845 for playgrounds and athletic facilities, $88,097 toward trade-based programs, $82,455 for experiential learning, $72,000 for performing arts programs, $68,098 toward literacy initiatives, and $25,038 in school improvements.

"Jimmie and Chandra Johnson have proven to be great partners with Lowe's in supporting education," said Larry D. Stone, chairman of Lowe's Charitable and Educational Foundation. "We know the grants will fulfill some important needs for these schools."

In two years 40 Champions Grants have been awarded to 35 schools totaling more than $1.5 million. The 2010 Champions Grants were awarded to the following schools:


  • Chase Avenue School (El Cajon, CA)
  • Emerald STEM Magnet Middle School (El Cajon, CA)
  • Grossmont High School (El Cajon, CA)
  • Fulton K-8 School (San Diego, CA)
  • Marston Middle School (San Diego, CA)
  • Mission Bay High School (San Diego, CA)
  • San Diego Unified School District (San Diego)

North Carolina

  • Collinswood Language Academy (Charlotte, NC)
  • KIPP Charlotte (Charlotte, NC)
  • Pressly School (Statesville, NC)


  • Cherokee Elementary (Muskogee, OK)
  • Tony Goetz Elementary (Muskogee, OK)
  • Mitchell Elementary (Tulsa, OK)

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