BRISTOL, TN — Serving Orphans Worldwide (SOW), which supports orphanages and children’s homes across the globe, accepted a $40,000 donation on behalf of Stevens-Enders Motorsports at the completion of the 60th annual Chevrolet Performance U.S. Nationals.
NHRA Pro Stock drivers Richie Stevens and wife Erica Enders-Stevens helped raise awareness of the non-profit organization with branding on their race cars and on-air promotion during the ESPN2 television coverage. Backed by anonymous donors who came forward during the race weekend, drag racing’s latest power couple presented Serving Orphans Worldwide Chief Operating Officer Richard Baker with the donation in the Stevens-Enders Motorsports pit.
“That’s just amazing,” Baker said. “I’m trying to fight the tears back. That’s enough money to fund an orphanage for an entire year.”
Serving Orphans Worldwide was founded in 2010 to help “rescue” orphanages that need help and funding to continue to operate.
“Richie and I are proud to be associated with such an incredible organization that helps so many children around the world,” Enders-Stevens said. “The fact we were able to raise $40,000 to help some children warms our hearts and shows how caring people are out here in the NHRA community.”
As part of the donation, Stevens and Enders-Stevens plan to travel to Thailand after the NHRA season to select the first orphanage they will officially “adopt.”
“We only get involved with orphanages that are in rescue mode and we elevate them,” Baker said. “We’ve got three stages: Rescue, Train, Sustain. We understand that orphanages will probably never be 100 percent sustainable and that they are not the ideal solution to the orphan crisis, but we’re meeting kids where they are and helping them get the love and care they deserve.”
With the help of Serving Orphans Worldwide, several orphanages have already begun income-generating or farming projects to help sustain themselves. Serving Orphans Worldwide is involved with orphanages in 25 countries on five continents, most in third-world countries that lack the government and private sector safety nets that are present in the United States.
“There’s a great need out there,” Baker said. “We’re just scratching the surface, but we are making a difference.”
SOW became involved in NHRA through Stevens’ long relationship with businessman Tom Pierson, a supporter of Serving Orphans Worldwide and sponsor of Steven’s Camaro.
“We’re excited about the partnership with Richie and Erica,” Baker said, “and amazed and humbled by their willingness to give.”