‘We’re scrambling’: Lack of fans at Indy 500 impacts Speedway nonprofits

Big Race - Indy

INDIANAPOLIS – The lack of fans at the Indy 500 this year has non-profits scrambling.

They rely on the hundreds of thousands of visitors for support every year and the organizations we spoke with tell us race fans are like family and they are still relying on that support.

No race means Joshua Clay’s organization is missing out on thousands of dollars in donations.

“60,000 dollars is our typical revenue from one of these events,” Clay explained.

The Exchange Club of Speedway holds Golf 4 Kids every year at the track.

“This is going to have a 2-3 year impact on the organizations in our town,” he added.

It’s an impact felt by all nonprofits in Speedway. Volunteers help with clean-up or park cars in hopes of getting donations. Town officials say groups raise more than $272,000 in a typical year. And that funds projects and events all year for community groups.

“That impacts everything from student scholarships, to our robotics club and extracurriculars for the kids, to we’re not a busing community – our kids walk to school,” said Kelly Turner, the Director of Communications for the Town of Speedway, “So, if they need a bus for an athletic event, we have to fundraise to pay for that.”

“We’re scrambling now to try and figure out a way to replace some of these lost funds,” added Tammy Smith, the Director of the Parks and Recreation Department for Speedway.

Her group usually relies on parking cars and summer concerts for fundraising.

“When you look at a town of 12,000 people and see the donations are typically coming from the 350,000 plus visitors that come to town every year,” added Turner, “It’s a huge gap to fill.”

There is a way fans can help, the COVID Community Relief Fund. The website shows impacted organizations and how you can help.

“We all love each other; we all support each other, and we’ll get through it somehow. But any support we can get from our race fan family that show up once a year,” added Smith.

All of the money donated will go directly to the organizations. If you’d like to help, click here.


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