The 79 Fund was established by NASCAR driver and Emporia native Clint Bowyer to benefit the children of Emporia. Clint's desire to use the Emporia Community Foundation for his charity came from knowing the funds could be used in a variety of ways to help the children of Emporia. His first gift from the 79 Fund occurred in August 2008 when it was announced that all children ages 16 and under could swim at the Emporia Aquatic Center for free during the remainder of the season. Many children took advantage of this opportunity. With the beginning of an annual charity golf tournament and auction in 2008, Clint was well on his way to improving his hometown.
Since its creation, a variety of gifts have been awarded ranging from assistance with 4th of July firework displays, computers for the public library, backpacks with supplies for children in need at the beginning of the school year, improvements to Camp Alexander, a local camp for children, and shoes for needy children at Christmas, to name a few. Over $2 million has been gifted since the fund’s inception.
The biggest gift to the community was completed in 2012. The $1 million Bowyer Community Building, which was placed on the Lyon County Fairgrounds, was announced at the 2010 charity auction. A ribbon cutting was held on March 12, 2012 to celebrate Clint's gift to Lyon County. The building is used for numerous functions throughout the year.