2023 Comcast Community Champion of the Year finalists announced



Comcast is honored to announce the finalists for the 2023 Comcast Community Champion of the Year Award, the prestigious annual award created to recognize the philanthropic efforts of individuals across the NASCAR industry. 

Whether through providing at-risk youth with resources to thrive during childhood, supporting those affected by craniofacial anomalies or advocating for all children with disabilities, the 2023 class of honorees has shown tremendous dedication to creating positive change in their communities. 

The 2023 finalists are:

  • Jessica Friesen, Wife of Truck Series driver Stewart Friesen (Crossroads Center For Children) 
  • Max Siegel, Team Owner, Rev Racing (Max Siegel Inc. Youth Foundation)
  • Ryan Vargas, Driver, OnPoint Motorsports (FACES: The National Craniofacial Association)

Comcast’s Xfinity brand entered NASCAR as entitlement partner of the NASCAR Xfinity Series in 2015 and is now also Premier Partner of the NASCAR Cup Series. Since the inception of the program, Comcast has donated to 24 different nonprofit organizations, furthering the impact of the philanthropic efforts of all finalists and champions. This year, Comcast will reach the milestone of donating $1 million to deserving organizations associated with individuals within the NASCAR family in a nine-year span.  

“Each year, we are inspired by the numerous submissions we receive highlighting the philanthropic work from individuals across the NASCAR industry,” said Matt Lederer, Comcast’s Vice President, Brand Partnerships and Amplification. “Max, Ryan and Jessica are outstanding examples of the positive impact the NASCAR family has in their local communities throughout the country.”

The 2023 Comcast Community Champion of the Year will be selected by a panel of Comcast and NASCAR executives, as well as Jes Ferreira, Vice President of Live Shows for CSM Production, who received the award in 2022 for her work with Foster Village Charlotte, an organization that allows foster parents to connect with and support one another. 

“Comcast continues to invest the time and resources to help the NASCAR family and affiliated organizations make significant positive changes in communities across the nation. I’m proud to call myself a past Comcast Community Champion of the year and am inspired by the work of Max, Ryan and Jessica,” said Jes Ferreira, the 2022 Comcast Community Champion of the Year.

Comcast will award $60,000 to the champion’s affiliated charity and $30,000 to each of the two remaining finalists’ selected charities. The 2023 Comcast Community Champion of the Year will be announced at a reception during NASCAR Champions Week.

2023 Comcast Community Champion of the Year finalists:

Jessica Friesen (Sprakers, NY) – As a devoted mother to a child with autism, Jessica witnessed the remarkable progress her son made at home and in school after undergoing ABA therapy at Crossroads Center for Children. Inspired by her son’s growth, Jessica channeled her boundless energy and passion into the fundraising arena to make a significant difference.

One of her most impactful contributions was organizing the annual Autism Awareness Day at Fonda Speedway, which has been a resounding success since 2018. Through her relentless dedication, Jessica’s efforts raised an impressive $70,000 during its first year for the Crossroads Center for Children. 

Jessica and her husband Stewart have been instrumental in supporting Crossroads financially, making vital contributions to bridge the funding gap for families. 

Max Siegel (Concord, NC) – As an entertainer executive, multicultural activist, attorney, CEO of USA Track & Field and owner of Rev Racing – which is a development race team for female and minority drivers – it’s safe to say Max Siegel wears many hats. Within those roles his goal is to provide everyone, no matter their circumstances, the opportunity to excel in whatever they may choose.

The mission of the Max Siegel Youth Foundation is to provide at-risk youth with “hope, empowerment and show them that regardless of their circumstances, they can grow into healthy, productive adults and have careers in exciting fields. 

Max created Rev Racing, an “academy-style” auto racing team, to provide opportunities for minority and female competitors. Many of NASCAR’s top drivers and pit crew members graduated from this program and continue to excel.

Ryan Vargas (Huntersville, NC) – Ryan Vargas was born with Craniosynostosis, a birth defect diagnosed in one in every 2,000 to 3,000 births in which the bones in a baby’s skull join together too early, causing problems with normal growth. While Ryan’s condition was caught early and repaired with one surgery, that isn’t always the case with many requiring several surgeries. Ryan utilizes his platform to raise awareness to the kids that require multiple surgeries and suffer from all kinds of Craniofacial Differences with the goal of lifting up those who struggle and need the encouragement to take on life and its challenges.

To support those who continue to struggle with this birth defect, Ryan became involved in FACES: The National Craniofacial Association. FACES is a 501(c)(3) organization that provides resources for those with craniofacial anomalies such as financial assistance for medical travel, as well as a support network for teens and children through FACES camp.

In addition to his PR consulting and board member responsibilities, Ryan had an opportunity to volunteer at the FACES summer camp in Tennessee this past year. FACES camp is a place where children with facial differences can enjoy being themselves and meet others with similar medical issues.

Comcast has a storied history of strengthening communities each and every day of the year providing education opportunities and digital skills training to help create more pathways to economic mobility for young people and adults alike, most recently through its Project UP initiative. For more information on Project UP and the latest news on efforts to address digital inequities, visit https://corporate.comcast.com/impact/project-up

— Comcast —

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