SEMA Cares Raises $138K to Benefit Children in Need

By Ashley Reyes

SEMA Cares, SEMA's collective charity fundraising group, raised $138,064.33 in 2023. The funds will benefit the association's three partnering children's charities: Austin Hatcher Foundation for pediatric cancer, Childhelp for prevention and treatment of child abuse, and Victory Junction camp for children with serious medical conditions and illnesses. 

Established in 2007, SEMA Cares provides a forum from which SEMA members can act as a collective influence toward making a positive impact beyond the automotive community. SEMA Cares volunteers work year-round and behind-the-scenes to host and assist with various sponsored events, each with the goal of raising money and awareness for children in need.  

SEMA Cares Pinewood Drags

The funds will benefit the association's three partnering charities: Austin Hatcher Foundation, Childhelp and Victory Junction.

"We are extremely grateful for the industry's generosity in helping to make a positive difference in young lives," said SEMA Cares Chair Sara Morosan. "By incorporating the joy of automotive into fun activities and fundraising, SEMA Cares is able give young minds a very important relief from hard circumstances, even if only for a brief moment."  

Funds for SEMA Cares in 2023 were generated through various efforts, including the Pinewood Drags, held at the SEMA Leaders & Legends Gala and TORA Industry Reception. The Pinewood Drags are a staple of each event, bringing members together to race miniature wooden cars and trucks, designed by children and adults, in thrilling downhill races. Concurrently, the Industry Cup Challenge  is where top sponsoring companies race their pinewoods for bragging rights and trophy-cup immortality. 

Direct donations from industry members and sales from SEMA Gear merchandise and celebrity-signed pinewood cars also contributed to the SEMA Cares fundraising efforts. Notably, the SEMA Businesswomen's Network (SBN) made a significant impact, raising a commendable $59,000 through the auction of their all-female Bronco build. The Bronco was built in partnership with Ford Motor Company, SEMA Garage and SEMA member volunteers, and features SEMA member-donated parts and accessories. 

"Victory Junction's goal is to provide life-changing camp experiences for children with serious medical conditions free of charge. The funding from SEMA Cares allows us to provide these fun experiences, and it allows our kids to build confidence and friendships," said Victory Junction President and CEO Chad A. Coltrane. "Victory Junction simply cannot provide these services without the dedicated and generous support of SEMA Cares. We are so thankful to have SEMA Cares as a part of our VJ family!" 

To learn more about SEMA Cares and how to support the industry's fundraising efforts, visit