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Racing great stuns Fletcher Place Community Center with $100,000 gift

Racing great Dale Earnhardt Jr. is celebrating a social media milestone with surprise donations of $100,000 (Image provided by the Dale Earnhardt Jr Foundation)

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — A local organization that helps people facing poverty is getting an unexpected jolt of support from one of the biggest names in racing, and his fans are driving the decision.

Dale Earnhardt Jr. says his foundation will donate $100,000 to Fletcher Place Community Center, which serves people facing poverty in neighborhoods near downtown Indianapolis.

Earnhardt’s support is a celebration of social media success; the longtime NASCAR star just reached a milestone.

“To celebrate reaching 1M(illion) Instagram followers we are going to donate $1 million to charities across the United States,” he says in a new post. “@dalejrfoundation has identified a charity located in each of the top-10 cities where my followers reside.”

Adding excitement to the announcement, leaders at the community center say they had absolutely no idea it was coming.

“I just happened to be in my office Tuesday, looking at email, and my phone rang,” says operations manager Tereasa Mill. “It was a lady from the foundation, and we just started talking. It was a total surprise.”

Mill says that the dollars are a “turbo boost” for an organization that relies almost solely on donations.

“It’s going to help immensely,” she says. “It will provide sack meals, hot meals, scholarships, food for preschoolers.”

Mill also says the gift is meaningful because it furthers a bond with central Indiana formed over the four left turns at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

“It’s awesome because I know Junior and his dad (NASCAR Hall of Famer Dale Earnhardt) loved racing at Indy,” she explains. “I’m happy to be able to celebrate this with them.”

Dale Earnhardt raced seven times in the Brickyard 400, including a victory in the 1995 running. Earnhardt Jr. competed in the 400 17 times.

The Dale Jr. Foundation says all of the charities chosen for the donation align with the group’s goals for giving empowerment, education, wellness, hunger, hope.

The full list of organizations getting the surprise donation:

  • Fletcher Place Community Center (Indianapolis)
  • Regional Food Bank of Northeast Florida (Jacksonville, Fla.)
  • Armer Foundation for Kids (Phoenix)
  • Kids Meals, Inc. (Houston)
  • Nashville Angels (Nashville, Tenn.)
  • New York Common Pantry (New York)
  • Nationwide Children’s Hospital (Columbus, Ohio)
  • Heart of Los Angeles (Los Angeles)
  • Hope of Mooresville (Mooresville, N.C.)
  • Classroom Central (Charlotte, N.C.)