With the holiday season in full swing, New Hampshire Governor Maggie Hassan and Manchester Mayor Ted Gatsas provided kind words and warm compliments during today's fifth annual Speedway Children's Charities Grant Distribution at the Palace Theatre. New Hampshire Motor Speedway and the New Hampshire Chapter of the SCC distributed nearly a quarter million dollars to 52 nonprofit organizations throughout New England.

The grand total of $283,722, which will benefit over 118,000 children in the Northeast, is the largest one-year total since the SCC N.H. Chapter began this holiday tradition back in 2010. In five years, NHMS and the SCC have donated nearly a million dollars, supporting more than 250,000 children in the region.

"This is sincerely, from the bottom of my heart, the best day of the year for me," said Cheryl LaPrade, director of the SCC's New Hampshire Chapter. "All of the hard work that we put in all year truly comes to life today. To be able to provide help to these wonderful organizations is an amazing feeling, and I think I can speak for everyone at SCC when I say that."

This year's event welcomed more than 160 representatives from the 52 organizations to the Palace Theatre in downtown Manchester, a historic Granite State landmark that's celebrating its 100th anniversary this year. In an area that once had 22 theatres, the century-old playhouse is the only that remains. And with its current production of "A Christmas Carol" gracing the stage daily through Dec. 21, it served as the most festive and idyllic setting to spread the holiday cheer.

"What a perfect location for this. The Palace Theatre is a fun and historical landmark with so much New England tradition as it celebrates its 100th anniversary and we prepare for an anniversary of our own," said NHMS executive vice president and general manager, Jerry Gappens, noting the speedway's upcoming 25th anniversary in 2015. "This is truly all about the children, and to be able to see so many happy faces here today makes me realize the happy faces we are providing for children across New England."

Both Hassan and Gatsas stressed the importance of what this money will do for the Granite State as a whole and the Queen City, respectively.

"This day makes me so happy because I realize the benefit of nonprofit programs and critical services they provide communities across not only our state but our region," said Hassan. "Kids, especially at this time of year, need to know that people care about them and know that they have an adult in their corner."

"I can't say thank you enough to the Speedway Children's Charities for the work that they do throughout the year," said Gatsas. "This is always one of my favorite events of the year and it's a pleasure to be here."

Since 1982, the eight SCC chapters across the country have raised over $43 million dollars.

Money raised through the New Hampshire Chapter includes events such as the Laps for Charity, Ricky Craven's "One for the Kids" Golf Tournament, Champions Breakfast, Track Walk presented by PPG, Ride of Lifetime, D.A.R.E. 5K, Clay Shoot presented by the NRA Foundation, SYLVANIA Media Lobster Fest, Driver Memorabilia Auction, Red Bucket Brigade presented by PPG, Gift of Lights, "Yule Light Up The Night" track run/walk, as well as the 2014 Camping World RV Sales 301 and SYLVANIA 300 NASCAR weekends.

The 52 non-profit organizations include:

The Avielle Foundation, Sandy Hook, Conn.

Susan L. Curtis Charitable Foundation, Portland

Boys & Girls Club of Greater Lowell, Lowell
Boys & Girls Club of Metro West, Inc., Marlborough
The Children's Study Home, Springfield
Family Services of the Merrimack Valley, Lawrence
Groundwork Lawrence, Inc., Lawrence
Lazarus House, Lawrence
Merrimack Valley Food Bank, Inc., Lowell
Roca, Inc., Chelsea

New Hampshire
Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Manchester, Inc., Manchester
Big Brothers Big Sisters of Western New Hampshire, Keene
Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Seacoast
Boys & Girls Club of Greater Concord, Concord
Boys & Girls Club of Greater Nashua, Nashua
Capital Region Food Program, Concord
Children's Dyslexia Centers, Inc., Nashua
Children's Hospital at Dartmouth-Hitchcock (MHMH), Lebanon
Circle Program, Plymouth
Concord Community Music School, Concord
Concord Hospital Trust, Concord
Copper Cannon Corporation, Franconia
David's House, Lebanon
Easter Seals New Hampshire, Inc., Manchester
The Friend's Program, Concord
Good Beginnings of Sullivan County, Claremont
Granite State Children's Alliance (Merrimack County Advocacy Center), Nashua
Injury Prevention Center, Lebanon
Inti-Soccer Academy, Manchester
Lil'Iguana's Children's Safety Foundation, Nashua
Manchester Community Music School, Manchester
Mary And John Elliot Charitable Foundation, Manchester
Mayhew, Bristol
McAulliffe-Shepard Discovery Center Corporation, Concord
Muscular Dystrophy Association, Inc., Bedford
New Generation, Inc., Greenland
New Hampshire Catholic Charities, Manchester
New Hampshire Kids Count, Concord
On Belay, Inc., Durham
Ossipee Children's Fund, Tuftonboro
Palace Theatre Trust, Manchester
Special Olympics New Hampshire, Inc., Manchester
Tilton-Northfield Recreation Council, Northfield
UpReach Therapeutic Riding Center, Goffstown
Webster House, Manchester
YMCA of Concord, Concord
YMCA of Greater Manchester, Manchester

Race to Read, Waterbury
Children's Literacy Foundation, Waterbury Center