Comcast is honored to announce the finalists for the 2022 Comcast Community Champion of the Year Award, an annual award created to recognize the philanthropic efforts of individuals within the NASCAR industry. Whether through spreading cheer at children’s hospitals, inspiring those battling cancer, or impacting lives through the world of adoption, the 2022 class of honorees has gone above and beyond in creating positive change throughout the year. For the first time, Comcast opened the eligibility for anyone in the NASCAR community with a 2022 annual credential or NASCAR full season license, with this expansion, Comcast is now able to share these exceptional stories.
The 2022 finalists are:
- Josh Williams, NASCAR Xfinity Series driver for DGM Racing (Ryan Seacrest Foundation)
- Sherry Pollex, Longtime Partner of Martin Truex Jr. (Sherry Strong)
- Jes Ferreira, Senior Director, Live Shows at CSM Production (Foster Village Charlotte)
“We are honored to be able to recognize these three champions within the sport who do so much good for the world each and every day,” said Matt Lederer, Comcast’s vice president of branded partnerships. “Josh, Sherry and Jes have all made a significant impact on their communities in their own unique ways, and Comcast is proud to be able to celebrate their efforts.”
Comcast’s Xfinity brand entered NASCAR as entitlement partner of the NASCAR Xfinity Series in 2015 and is now also Premier Partner of the NASCAR Cup Series. Since then, the company has donated $840,000 to more than 21 different NASCAR-affiliated organizations to honor their efforts and to help further the impact of their worthy causes. Fans can visit ComcastCommunityChampion.com to learn more about past and present finalists and their acts of selflessness.
The 2022 Comcast Community Champion of the Year will be selected by a panel of Comcast and NASCAR executives, as well as Curtis Francois, Owner of World Wide Technology Raceway, who received the award in 2021 for his work with The Raceway Gives Foundation, which focuses on STEM education and diversity. The organization seeks to create a larger STEM footprint by bringing an expanded and unique curriculum to area youth. Of note is the foundation’s relationship with the Jackie Joyner-Kersee Center via the “Racing in the Classroom” program that introduces motorsports education and career opportunities to an underserved community for local youth ages 8-18.
“There are so many incredible stories and people within the NASCAR community, it is an honor to be able to be included and recognized as a Comcast Community Champion of the Year Award recipient, thanks to Comcast’s commitment, so many people and organizations will have a long-lasting impact,” said Curtis Francois, who owns and operates World Wide Technology Raceway, and was named the 2021 Community Champion of the Year.
Comcast will award $60,000 to the champion’s affiliated charity, and $30,000 to each of the two remaining finalists’ selected charities. The 2022 Comcast Community Champion will be announced at a reception during NASCAR Champions Week.
2022 Comcast Community Champion of the Year finalists:
Josh Williams (Port Charlotte, FL) — Many would argue that despite his NASCAR resume, Josh Williams – driver of the #92 DGM Racing car for the Xfinity Series – has even more impressive accomplishments off the track. Throughout his career, Josh has dedicated his time by visiting over 150 hospitals in person and, recently, even more via Zoom during the pandemic. Through these visits, he’s had the opportunity to meet with countless children, as well as their families, to show his support.
As an extension of these visits, Josh enlisted the help of OhmniLabs to use their Telepresence robots, which provide the opportunity for some of these children to virtually experience at-track garage tours right from their hospital beds. Josh’s efforts have also formed a relationship with the Ryan Seacrest Foundation, which builds closed circuit TV and radio studios in children’s hospitals throughout the country to increase experiences for patients who can’t make the trip out to the track.
To show his support for these children to the world, Josh collects a painted handprint of each child that he visits. For his last race of each NASCAR season, his race car is wrapped with a composite image of each of those children’s handprints, honoring them and the work of children’s hospitals around the world.
Sherry Pollex (Brighton, MI) — After being diagnosed with stage 3c ovarian cancer, Sherry Pollex knew she wanted to help others who would one day be blind-sided by this terrible disease. In 2016, Sherry launched SherryStrong.org; a website created to empower women to know their bodies and recognize the symptoms of ovarian cancer with a focus on healthy living through holistic and integrative medicine. However, the launch of Sherry Strong wasn’t the start of Sherry’s community outreach efforts, rather a continuation of them. Sherry Strong serves as an arm of the Martin Truex Jr. Foundation, a 501(c)(3) organization she developed with her longtime partner, Martin in 2007. The foundation was originally formed to help children with cancer. When Sherry received her diagnosis, the mission of the foundation was then refocused to raise awareness, boost advocacy, and generate financial support for underfunded cancer initiatives specific to childhood and ovarian cancers; two of the most prevalent and underfunded diseases affecting children and women in America today.
Through SherryStrong.org, social media channels, and appearances across the country, Sherry has spent years educating women about choices they have for their bodies, integrative and holistic medicine, self-care practices such as yoga, acupuncture, exercise, meditation, supplements and more. Sherry inspires women daily to find joy amidst the trials of life and to not let illness steal their gratitude or peace. Sherry educates women about the symptoms of ovarian cancer and how to advocate for themselves continuously until answers are found.
Jes Ferreira (Nashua, NH) — Among all the turmoil of the pandemic, CSM Production’s Senior Director of Live Shows, Jes Ferreira looked for an opportunity to give back. Despite her heavy workload, she decided to take on an even heavier challenge, becoming a foster parent to two young girls, ages 5 and 8. Jes originally earned a foster license to become a foster parent for one child but, a few months later, the child's younger sibling needed a new foster home. Although Jes already had a crazy work schedule which included traveling to the race track most weekends on top of fostering one child as a single parent, she knew without a doubt these two siblings deserved to be together while in foster care. Now two young siblings who are going through the most trying time in their lives have been reunited thanks to Jes' unselfishness and big heart.
On any given day, there are nearly 424,000 children in foster care in the United States. In 2019, over 672,000 children spent time in U.S. foster care. On average, children remain in state care for over a year and a half, and five percent of children in foster care have languished there for five or more years. Now Jes has given two of those nearly half a million children a safe home as well as new experiences that will help shape their lives for the better.
Jes’s affiliated charity is Foster Village Charlotte, an organization that allows foster parents to connect with and support each other. FVC collaborates with 16 private foster parent licensing agencies, local government, child welfare organizations and the community to serve families holistically and represent the foster family voice to Mecklenburg County Department of Social Services (DSS).
Comcast has a long track record of community service, aiding in the advancement of local organizations, developing programs and partnerships, mobilizing resources to connect people and inspiring positive and substantive change. To learn more about these efforts, visit the Comcast Community Impact site.