INDIANAPOLIS - Indiana Sports Corp will present the 2019 National Pathfinder Award to four-time NASCAR Cup Series champion and NASCAR Hall of Famer Jeff Gordon. Cindy Simon Skjodt will be honored alongside Gordon as the Indiana Pathfinder Recipient. The Pathfinder Awards, presented annually since 1988 by Indiana Sports Corp, honors individuals who have demonstrated a commitment to improving the lives of America’s youth. These champions for America’s youth will be recognized at The Crane Bay Event Center during a luncheon on Friday, September 6.
Gordon, one of the most iconic names in racing, dedicated his life off the track to Jeff Gordon Children’s Foundation. Formed in 1999, the Foundation supports pediatric cancer research and treatment, and has gifted nearly $19 million to support children battling cancer. Jeff Gordon Children’s Foundation joined forces with Riley Children’s Hospital of Pediatrics in Indianapolis to establish a pediatric cancer research fund, Jeff Gordon Children’s Foundation Pediatric Cancer Research Lab, as well as an innovative Physician Scientist Training Program to guide the next generation of oncology-focused pediatric physician scientists.
Gordon ended his racing career third on NASCAR’s all-time wins list with 93 victories. His victory lane celebrations include three Daytona 500 wins and he is the winningest Cup Series driver at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway with five victories - including the inaugural Brickyard 400 in 1994. He was a first-ballot candidate for the Hall of Fame in 2018 receiving votes in 96-percent of the ballots, the highest total ever. He returns to NASCAR on FOX in 2020 as a race analyst for the fifth-consecutive year.
“Indiana Sports Corp is honored to present Jeff Gordon this year’s Pathfinder Award,” said Ryan Vaughn, president of Indiana Sports Corp. “Jeff is an incredible advocate for America’s youth and a Hoosier that continues to make us all proud through his philanthropic efforts. He has used his platform as a Hall of Fame NASCAR driver to not only improve the lives of youth but create a lasting legacy in sports and communities.”
Simon Skjodt, a philanthropic leader both locally and nationally, has spent most of her adult life serving the Marion and Hamilton County communities. Simon Skjodt is frequently asked to lead philanthropic initiatives and campaigns because of her unparalleled track record of success as a leader and her fierce determination to make a difference. She dedicates her time, attention, leadership and financial resources to Central Indiana nonprofit charity boards, in addition to national and international charities. Simon Skjodt has a strong commitment to community and has improved the lives of underserved youth, filled the shelves of food pantries, championed for youth sports activities, advocated for animal wildlife and conservation efforts and has been a true exponent for the needs of education for all, mental health and psychotherapy.
Throughout her philanthropic career, Simon Skjodt has served on 38 local boards of directors, 27 action committees and eight advisory councils. She has received the highest honor in the State of Indiana by the governor, the Sagamore of the Wabash, on three occasions in 2004, 2013 and 2017. She was appointed to the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum Council in Washington D.C. by President Obama. Simon Skjodt is also the leading funder and namesake of the new Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall on the Indiana University Bloomington campus where she attended and received her bachelor’s degree. Additional honors include the Profiles in Leadership, Woman of the Year, Anne Frank Award, Living Legacy, Herman B. Wells Visionary Award and the Major Benefactors Award.
“Cindy exemplifies all of the qualities we look for in a Pathfinder Award winner,” said Vaughn. “Part of Indiana Sports Corp’s mission is to positively impact the youth in our community and to recognize others that have a similar impact. Cindy’s philanthropic impact is exemplary and goes well beyond the state of Indiana. She encompasses all that it means to be a servant leader and a community advocate.”
This is the 32nd year Indiana Sports Corp has bestowed the Pathfinder Award. Over the years, the Pathfinder Award has honored a tremendous list of recipients including Dr. Condoleezza Rice, Jeff and Karen Saturday, John Wooden, Larry Bird, Governor Mitch Daniels, Tony Dungy, Peyton Manning, Jack and Barbara Nicklaus, Bill Russell, Oscar Robertson, and Dick Vitale, among others.
For sponsorship information or to purchase tables for the 2019 Pathfinder Awards Luncheon, please contact Mike Karnuta at firstname.lastname@example.org or (317)237-5004.
Founded in 1979 as the nation’s first sports commission, Indiana Sports Corp is a not-for-profit organization focused on bringing premier sporting events to Indiana to drive economic vitality, facilitate a vibrant community with civic pride and garner positive media attention. Because of this, Indiana Sports Corp is able to provide positive, sports-related opportunities for youth in the community. For more information, please visit IndianaSportsCorp.org.