IndyCar team owner George Steinbrenner IV will take a major step forward tonight with his new George 4 Foundation. Joining forces with fellow team owner Michael Andretti, whose foundation has been active for years in supporting a variety of causes, the duo will host their first virtual fundraiser to benefit the Gleaners Food Bank of Indiana.
As seen throughout the 2020 season with the Gleaners branding carried on Colton Herta’s No. 88 Andretti Harding Steinbrenner Honda, the #NoOneRunsOnEmpty campaign continues as an extension of their efforts to solve the food supply shortage facing more than 1 million residents in Indiana.
At a time where most 24-year-olds are focused on selfish endeavors, Steinbrenner (pictured above, with Herta) — IndyCar’s youngest entrant — continues to defy expectations by choosing benevolence as a core priority in his life.
“Philanthropy has always been a huge deal in my family, starting with my grandfather,” he told RACER. “My great grandfather always preached to us: ‘If you do something good, and more than one person saw it, then you did it for the wrong reasons.’ So philanthropy and charitable action has always been stressed in my family for as long as I’ve been alive, and now we have the Yankee foundation and we have a family foundation as well and does a lot of work in the Tampa Bay area as well as in New York city. And I thought that after being in Indianapolis for four years now, it was a perfect time to try and branch out into a new community and do a lot of good work here with my own foundation.”
The majority of the Andretti Autosport team, along with broadcaster Jamie Little, will take part in the #NoOneRunsOnEmpty event as one of IndyCar’s biggest operations mobilizes to eradicate hunger.
“A big thing for me has always been trying to support those in need, primarily children, but chief among that is underprivileged children or trying to get kids the education they need,” Steinbrenner continued. “I’ve always been a big supporter of the Boys & Girls Club and pediatric medical research, helping underprivileged kids they’re really our chief missions and underprivileged families in general. So the big thing which helped expand our scope was coming into contact with Gleaners through the racing program.
“It’s a great opportunity and a great platform for our first event, and to find a charitable space that we were looking to fit with an organization that does a lot of good in Indiana. Especially during the coronavirus pandemic, food supply is something that has a much greater need than has been in the past. The mission is feeding families that said can’t afford to feed themselves.”
Once the fundraiser is finished, Steinbrenner might find that running an IndyCar program has been an easier task.
“It has been a bit of a challenge trying to figure everything out, especially being new to the philanthropic space,” he said with a laugh. “And I’ve never thrown an in-person event, either, so thankfully, I have many people around me who I’ve been able to work with in this process, but from a personal standpoint, it’s all been new to me. And with the coronavirus, trying to figure out the best way to hold a virtual event has been a process. It’s difficult when you can’t have people in the room, at the tables with the silent auction items there. It’s been interesting trying to find a way to best do it.
“Do we do it live or pre-recorded? How do we figure out the process of the auction items? Is it all assigned one auction? Do we have some sort of live auction? Somehow going through all those things was fascinating.”
Drawing from a passionate base of support from people and companies that are both familiar and new to the IndyCar world, Steinbrenner has been encouraged by all who’ve joined in to make his foundation’s fundraising debut a success.
“When we were looking to start this first event from the George 4 side, having a four-year relationship with Michael Andretti, and having attended several of his charitable events, made partnering with the Michael Andretti Foundation a priority,” he said. “So it all came together perfectly to have this event together and do things together as we have in racing.
“And we’ve had some great support on the sponsorship side. Brightmark, who are a plastics recycling company with a huge plant that they’re building out nationally in Indiana, will be the country’s largest plastics recycling facility, and they come on as our title sponsor. And we also have Firestone on board as well, and Hanley Investment Group. We’ve been fortunate to find a good number of corporate sponsors who’ve wanted to come on board. An initiative that helps people directly like Gleaners always makes sense, and it’s always something good, but especially during these trying times, it’s more important than ever.”
The free event, which starts at 6:00 p.m. ET, will be live-streamed at www.G4MAFVirtual20.givesmart.com.
More information on the #NoOneRunsOn Empty campaign is available here.