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Jimmie Johnson Foundation announces 2016 Blue Bunny Helmet of Hope initiative

Jimmie Johnson kept busy in Las Vegas both on and off the track. The No. 48 driver shows off his leadership capabilities by participating in a home build with Habitat for Humanity.

The Jimmie Johnson Foundation announced Friday its 2016 edition of the Blue Bunny Helmet of Hope campaign to grant money to non-profit organizations.

Since the Foundation and Blue Bunny Ice Cream formed their charitable partnership in 2008, more than $810,000 has been raised and distributed to 81 different charities.

The 2016 campaign will raise the stakes with five $25,000 grants to be awarded to non-profits. The grants will be announced in May.

Fans and consumers can nominate their favorite education-focused charities, including Parent/Teacher Associations, for the five grants.

Nominations can be made at through April 14.

After that, 10 semifinalists will be selected for a public vote from April 29-May 6. The top five vote-getting organizations will then be awarded one of the grants.

“We always look forward to learning about the great charities that are nominated and the amazing work they do in support of K-12 public education across the country,” Johnson said in a media release. “It’s an exciting opportunity, and we encourage everyone to nominate and then vote. We feel fortunate to have the ability to use my helmet to raise awareness for these causes and have a little fun in the process.”

One of the 2015 grant winners, Bo Whittenton of The Be Kind People Project, was also on hand to discuss how winning the grant impacted its program.

“The generosity and uniqueness of the Jimmie Johnson Foundation Blue Bunny Helmet of Hope program engaged and involved our volunteers, our schools, and our community in a way that no other effort has ever done,” Whittenton said. “Thousands of teachers and students were impacted because of this grant. The program was easy, fun, and something that everyone felt they could be a part in helping to promote our work.”

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