When four-time NASCAR Cup Series champion and three-time Daytona 500 winner Jeff Gordon gets behind something, he gives 100 percent—whether he’s racing around a track or rushing to grant wishes to critically ill children. Jeff discovered his life’s work after his crew chief’s son was diagnosed with leukemia in 1992, and he took on the cause with no less love and passion than he would have shown if it had been his own child. Inspired to make a difference in the lives of children, he established the Jeff Gordon Children’s Foundation, which has granted millions to children’s charities.
Jeff’s vision is that there will be a day when no child will face the uncertainty of cancer. To that end, the foundation partners with organizations that are committed to children’s health. In 2006, Jeff opened the Jeff Gordon Children’s Hospital at Carolina’s Medical Center-Northeast. The state-of-the-art facility serves children in the community by providing primary and specialty care, regardless of families’ ability to pay. The foundation recently launched its first global initiative in Rwanda, helping deliver cancer relief to children through a partnership with Partners in Health and the Dana Farber Cancer Institute.
Jeff, who reached 50 wins faster than any other driver and was the first to reach $100 million in career earnings in the Cup series, is tied for the most wins in the modern era of NASCAR and is the only Athletes for Hope founder still competing. Jeff argues that racing, seen by many as an individual sport, relies on a team as much as any sport. He is undeniably one of the greatest drivers in NASCAR history, but will try to make an even more significant impact through his philanthropic work. Although he says he will never fully disengage from the sport of racing, he looks forward to stepping out from behind the wheel and being able to commit further to children’s health. “When I have more time, I would love to do more, and I think that I can make a bigger impact,” he says. “Right now I feel like we’re just scratching the surface with a lot of the things as it relates to children.”