Comcast has selected Artie Kempner, an Emmy Award-winning coordinating director for NASCAR on Fox, the founder of Autism Delaware and the parent of a young adult with autism, one of three finalists for the Comcast Community Champion of the Year award, which recognizes individuals in the NASCAR industry for community service efforts to make the world a better place.
Autism Delaware has been supported for many years from corporate partners like NASCAR. The Delaware agency has raised millions of dollars through such events as the Drive for Autism, a celebrity-am golf tournament featuring noted NASCAR drivers; Track Walk at the Monster Mile, when families gather with NASCAR celebrities to walk the one-mile track; and Autism Day at the Races, an opportunity for people with autism to enjoy Race Weekend in a sensory-friendly environment created by Dover International Speedway.
Kempner is the man behind this longstanding relationship. His years of work on behalf of Autism Delaware since he helped establish the agency more than 20 years ago caught the attention of ComcastNBC Universal, which, honoring his philanthropic work on behalf of Autism Delaware, made a $30,000 donation to Autism Delaware.
“Many thanks to Comcast for its commitment to the nonprofit community and to the work of Artie and NASCAR that led to this generous gift,” said Brian Hall, Autism Delaware executive director. “The funds will go a long way toward advancing our mission to help individuals and families throughout Delaware who are affected by autism.”
These programs and services include the agency’s adult vocational program, known as Productive Opportunities for Work & Recreation that has placed more than 90 people with autism in paying jobs throughout the state; and the Autism Care Team Program, through which certified family support providers work one-on-one with families of children and adults with autism.
Deanna Principe, Autism Delaware’s fund development and engagement manager, nominated Kempner for the award, noting he has actively maintained a threefold connection to the agency as an autism advocate, parent of an individual with autism and as the Drive for Autism’s chair.
“We are grateful to Artie for his continuing effort on behalf of Autism Delaware’s programs and services. None of them existed before him,” said Principe.
The other two Community Champion Award finalists were David Ragan, a Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series driver and ambassador for Shriners Hospitals for Children; and Dover International Speedway president and chief executive officer Mike Tatoian, who ultimately was given the award for his volunteer efforts on behalf of the USO as well as for his work with the U.S. Air Force Civic Leader Program, the Military Bowl Foundation, and Dover Air Force Base.
The three men all know each other through their connection to NASCAR and Dover fundraising events.