Tony Stewart Foundation Accelerator Grant brings more Dogs On Call to Pediatrics

April 1, 2016

Helping Children through Animals

MARTINSVILLE, VA., (March 30, 2016) – When 3-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Champion Tony Stewart established his named charitable foundation in 2003, even “Smoke” couldn’t predict the far-reaching impact the TSF Grants Program would make repeatedly for organizations serving critically ill children.

For this weekend’s NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Martinsville Speedway, Tony Stewart will be participating as an owner rather than a driver due to his January 31 back injury which has him sidelined for the start of the 2016 season. But, Tony is wearing more than his “owner’s hat” this weekend as he also is proud to recognize an outstanding Tony Stewart Foundation (TSF) Grant Partner located in Richmond and providing emotional support to children.

“Dogs On Call” - a program of The Center for Human-Animal Interaction housed at Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond (VA) - is partly sponsored by a grant from Tony’s foundation. One of Dogs On Call’s smallest members – a 6 pound snow-white Maltese named “Stewie” and his owner, Joan Nuttle, visit children in the ASK Pediatric Hematology and Oncology Clinic at VCU Medical Center on a weekly basis.
Stewie always comes prepared to provide both entertainment and comfort to these young patients. From playing a tiny piano to expertly knocking down 6 colorful plastic pins, Stewie is sure to bring smiles and laughter to children facing serious illness.
Twenty-seven (27) new teams were recruited and trained into the Dogs On Call program under the 2015 Tony Stewart Foundation Grant.
Dogs On Call is a VCU Medical Center program which last year provided over 7,000 therapy dog visits to children and adults hospitalized throughout the VCU Medical Center. Dogs like Penny, Winnie and Stewie – making a difference one furry visit at a time.

TONY STEWART, Driver of the No. 14 Chevrolet SS for Stewart-Haas Racing & President of The Tony Stewart Foundation:
What motivated you to start your foundation to help children, animals and drivers injured in the sport of motor racing?
I’ve been lucky to pursue a racing career in its many forms. My foundation provides the vehicle to give back to others experiencing difficulty or trauma. It was easy to select children with critical illness or physical disabilities along with animals that are at-risk as I’m a “softie” for both. And, including drivers injured in the sport of motor racing was essential as I certainly know the risks involved.

What is unique or special about “Dogs On Call”?
Dogs on Call provides the best of all elements – helping children heal through dogs and providing volunteer opportunities for some folks with really big hearts.

How, exactly, does your foundation assist a program like “Dogs On Call”?
My foundation exists solely to provide funding grants to outstanding organizations throughout the United States. We receive a large number of applications and are able to select about 100 of the very best charities serving children, animals or drivers. To be selected as a “TSF Grant Partner”, the organization must present a unique program or service along with solid financial stability and a way to measure success. Our TSF Slogan is “Accelerating Change” which mostly means that our funding grant is intended to help move a program or service to the next level.

Dogs On Call therapy dog Stewie, a white maltese, sits on a bed with a young patient who is sitting behind Stewie and smiling. A second child is standing beside the bed petting Stewie and is also smiling.