The Erik Jones Foundation Announces Massive New Initiative

Erik Jones

Getty Erik Jones has announced a new initiative in North Carolina.

Petty GMS Motorsports driver Erik Jones and his Erik Jones Foundation have announced a massive new initiative. They will partner with North Carolina Humanities to promote a statewide reading initiative involving North Carolina-based authors.

The Erik Jones Foundation announced the news on Wednesday, December 8, with a press release. This new partnership with NC Humanities will feature Jones reading North Carolina-centric books out loud to encourage reading at all levels. He will kick off the initiative on December 8 at 7 p.m. ET by reading “Ty’s Travels: Zip, Zoom” on his Facebook page. This book will highlight author Kelly Starling Lyons, who hails from Raleigh, N.C.

“I’ve always been an avid reader and it’s helped me so much in life,” Jones said in a press release. “It made me smarter and a little more worldly, to where I could carry on conversations with people from all different backgrounds on a variety of topics. That’s definitely helped me get to the NASCAR Cup Series, where relationships are just as important as what you can do behind the wheel of a racecar.

“Plus, reading can be a great escape. Whenever I’ve faced challenges, sitting down with a good book has helped me relax and refocus, to where whatever I was dealing with before, I at least had a game plan of how to attack it and find a solution. Reading gives me confidence, mainly because I always know more after I finish a book than I did when I started.”

The Initiative Will Continue the #READwithErik Series

Jones put his love of reading on full display in 2020 during the COVID-forced 10-week break in the NASCAR schedule. He began reading books on his Facebook page to promote reading, and he has continued this trend with over 40 books and more than 200,000 views.

As part of the new initiative, the NC Humanities will provide a book to #READwithErik each month that will either feature a North Carolina author or will highlight the regions’ cultures and traditions. NC Humanities is the official North Carolina affiliate for the Center for the Book, a Library of Congress program that promotes reading and literacy nationwide, so this partnership is a perfect match for the Erik Jones Foundation.

“The work that NC Humanities does aligns really well with what we’re trying to do with our Foundation,” Jones added. “They appreciate the value books provide and are genuinely interested in getting more people to read, especially kids. We’re very proud of this partnership and I’m looking forward to the events we’ll have together.”

Jones Launched His Foundation Prior to the Michigan Race

The driver of the No. 43 Chevrolet unveiled his foundation during a Back to the Bricks event in Flint, Mich., on August 20. He made a donation to the Genesee District Library, a public library system serving the residents of Genesee County, Mich. He then spent time prior to the Cup Series race on August 22 by reading to kids and their families at Graves Family Campground.

According to the press release on August 20, there are three main points of emphasis for the Erik Jones Foundation. The Cup Series driver uses the foundation to ignite children’s passion for reading, encourage early cancer detection and care, and promote animal welfare.

The partnership with North Carolina Humanities will help Jones further pursue this goal. He will continue his #READwithErik series on social media while also supporting NC Humanities by promoting and participating in activities surrounding the 2022 North Carolina Reads statewide book club. He will also support other book-centric programs in the state.

“NC Humanities is very pleased to partner with the Erik Jones Foundation,” said Sherry Paula Watkins, Executive Director, NC Humanities, in the press release. “When we saw what Erik was doing online to promote reading, we knew the potential was there to not only support a good cause, but to also further our message of making sure more kids and adults are aware of the benefits of reading.”

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