What We’re Up To
The 500 Festival Foundation helps advance programs and events that foster positive impact within our community and celebrate the legacy of the Indianapolis 500. 500 Festival KidsFit Program
In an effort to fight childhood obesity, KidsFit is a free program for Indiana classrooms grades K-6 that teaches Indiana youth the importance of a healthy lifestyle through a mix of in-class lessons and running activities.
The goal is for students to run 13.1 miles over the course of the program, the equivalent of a half-marathon. The culmination of the KidsFit Program occurs on the morning of the OneAmerica 500 Festival Mini-Marathon, where students are invited to Indianapolis to finish their final 3.1 miles along the Mini-Marathon course.
Students can also experience the fun and excitement of a 500 Festival running event through a KidsFit Mobile Run. Mobile Runs bring the pageantry and fanfare of a 500 Festival running event to schools around Indiana. Mobile Run are offered to schools free of charge and the 500 Festival provides all resources, including a Start Line, Finish Line, and décor. Foundation Funds raised for this program assist with:
- Expansion of Mobile Runs and Final 5K, including subsidizing of travel expenses of participating schools, materials for mobile runs, participant awards and more
- Participant T-Shirts and medals
- Development and distribution of the curriculum and supporting materials (certificates, mileage tracking charts, awards)
The 500 Festival and Indianapolis 500® Education Program, presented by Indiana University Health, uses the history of the Indy 500 as a teaching tool to enhance and assist learning in the core subjects of Social Studies, Language Arts, Science, Math, Health, Physical Education and Visual Arts. This award winning program uses an Indiana Academic Standards-based curriculum. Each year, the Education Program impacts more than 25,000 fourth-grade students from 300+ schools around the state.
The 500 Festival provides all the materials including lesson plan kits, student study guides and companion DVDs necessary to effectively teach the program at no cost to the schools or students. All schools have the opportunity to attend a Study Trip to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, where students will engage in lessons that further the in-class curriculum. Schools also have the option of hosting a Mobile Trip, which features many of the same lessons that are taught during Study Trips – including an actual IndyCar! Both opportunities are provided at no cost to schools. Foundation Funds raised for this program assist with:
- Funding would allow the 500 Festival to continue to provide these materials to schools for free and the opportunity to serve new schools who would like to participate. Recognizing the budget limitations in most school districts, schools attending the Study Trips receive a stipend to offset transportation costs. The compensation is based on the distance the school travels. Funding would allow the 500 Festival to ensure that schools wanting to attend the hands-on learning day at IMS would be able to do so without negative impact on the school’s budget.
- It would also provide the necessary resources to include more schools in the on-site, experimental learning part of the program by increasing the number of Study Trip days at the track as necessitated by demand.
The 500 Festival Princess Program
celebrates Indiana’s most civic-minded, academically driven young women. Each year, 33 college-aged women are selected as 500 Festival Princesses and serve as ambassadors of the 500 Festival, their hometowns, and their colleges/universities. The Princess Program as evolved from a beauty pageant into an ambassadorship program, and the 500 Festival has significant plans to build on that change moving forward focusing primarily on scholarship, professional development and diversity inclusion—all which are dependent on each other. By offering more chances of educational scholarships, as well as numerous professional growth opportunities, we will achieve a more accurate depiction of how diverse Indianapolis and Indiana are through the representation of the Princess Program. Foundation Funds raised for this program assist with:
- Funding will allow for more of these professional development activities. Through these initiatives and tactics and upon the completion of the Princess Program, the 33 young women who were chosen to serve the 500 Festival are stronger personally and professionally—and continue to give back to the 500 Festival and Indiana.
- Each 500 Festival Princess receives a $1,000 college scholarship. Funding will support continuing and expanding the scholarship opportunities for Princesses.
The 500 Festival Intern Program is designed to allow each intern to experience the month of May in Indianapolis in a new and exciting way. This program, which offers hands on experience across all events and programs, is offered during the spring semester of the academic year and is only open to college students. They each get to work with community leaders and volunteers as well as being provided with professional development opportunities.
As we continue to grow this program, support for their monthly stipend and expenses would be of great assistance to the organization and those individuals. In the future, we may look to fully support 1-2 interns with additional housing and/or relocation assistance for those who might be unable to do so themselves.