ABC Partners with Vehicles for Change

Ally D'Ovidio

Donate a Vehicle and Change Someone’s Life
In the construction industry, having your own vehicle often means the difference between getting and keeping a job, and staying unemployed, despite your skills.
Project JumpStart recognized this need, and since 2007 has partnered with Vehicles for Change, a Baltimore-based nonprofit that empowers struggling families by providing them with low-cost, donated vehicles. To date, more than 60 JumpStart graduates have received VFC vehicles, at an average cost of $850, with a 12-month loan guaranteed by VFC.

As the construction industry rebounds, the need for donated used vehicles has also increased. While JumpStart has about 20 to 25 graduates who need vehicles each year, VFC, which also places approximately 350 used vehicles through other social service agencies each year, has only about 12 cars available for JumpStart graduates. In the last few years, vehicle donations to VFC have dropped dramatically, adding to the shortage.

“Vehicles for Change is the only real opportunity to obtain a good working car at an affordable cost for Jump Start grads” says Marty Schwartz, CEO of Vehicles for Change. “The donated cars are refurbished, often by individuals in our own mechanic training program, then recycled back to men and women who are going into the construction field. By donating a used vehicle, you’re reinvesting back into your own business, and getting quality, Jump Start trained, employees.”

“Equipping our graduates with a vehicle is the single most valuable resource we can provide them to make them employable. Without reliable transportation, landing a job in the construction industry is 10 times as difficult,” says Kate McShane, JumpStart’s job placement director.

A donated vehicle also helps JumpStart graduates keep their jobs. On average, public transportation adds 90 minutes to an employee’s commuting schedule, according to VFC research. And it’s not always reliable, adding to an employee’s tardiness and potential job loss.

“With the ability to get to a job, and follow the work as one job completes and another starts in a different location, our guys are able to stay in a job long enough to build a career and master a trade,” says McShane. “Their earning potential dramatically increases and they start to earn a family-supporting wage.”

The impact of receiving a VFC vehicle goes beyond their employment status, says Schwartz. “A lot the recipients are displaced fathers,” he explains. “We’re not only helping to get these guys to work, but we’re starting to break the cycle of poverty, we’re helping to get these fathers back into households, back into the lives of their children. It’s more than just economics.”

To find out more about how you can donate a used vehicle, contact Vehicles for Change at 410-242-9677 or email: info@vehiclesforchange.org.