Vehicles for Change, Inc. (VFC) hosted its 15th Anniversary Luncheon on April 1st in celebration of fulfilling its mission to empower families with financial challenges to achieve economic and personal independence through car ownership and technical training. In honor of the program’s impact since 1999, VFC awarded 15 refurbished vehicles to worthy families during the Luncheon. All 15 cars were donated to Vehicles for Change by the public.
A crowd of 150 attendees, including VFC board members, partnering organizations, government representatives and vehicles recipient families packed the VFC garage in Halethorpe. Prominent attendees included founding VFC board member, Jay Jagoe; Maryland Attorney General Doug Gansler; President of the Center for Urban Families, Joseph Jones; and representatives from the Abell Foundation, Maryland Department of Human Resources, Maryland Department of Labor Licensing and Regulations, Mayor’s Office of Employment Development, and the Baltimore County Executive Office.
In an inspiring ceremony, 15 families received a set of keys to their newly refurbished vehicles and harmoniously started their engines for the first time. Referred by VFC partnering organizations, the 15 recipient families are residents of Baltimore City, Northern Virginia, and Baltimore, Harford, Howard, Montgomery and St. Mary’s Counties. For many of these recipients, receiving a vehicle from VFC will enable them to gain or maintain employment, and transport their families to the grocery store, doctor’s office, school or recreational activities.
“I am blessed to be able to come to work every day for an organization that makes such a remarkable impact on the lives of so many families,” said VFC President Marty Schwartz. “Our work at Vehicles for Change does not stop here. Our hope is to continue to increase the number of families we are able to serve, and expand our programs to other communities in need.”
In addition to the car award ceremony, the midday event included a catered lunch; formal recognition of VFC partnering organizations and supporters; a presentation of the program’s impact from Joseph Jones, President of the Center for Urban Families; and a recipient testimonial from Lisa Phillips, who received a vehicle from VFC in 2001.
“Before I had a car, my life was full of mediocrity. The only thing I could think about was the logistics of how I would be able to get to the places I needed to go,” said 2001 VFC vehicle recipient, Lisa Phillips. “I can say that receiving a car from Vehicles for Change 13 years ago opened my mind to think of other things.”
Before receiving a car from VFC, Phillips was an unemployed single mother of three children. Receiving the vehicle enabled Phillips to secure a job at Johns Hopkins. Phillips is now the Director of Vocational Services for Gaudenzia, a current MBA student at the University of Baltimore, and owns a small business. She will be featured in the May 2014 issue of Baltimore Magazine.
In November of this year, VFC will celebrate another milestone by awarding its 5,000th car. The organization also hopes to host its first Transportation Summit in the fall featuring health, education, employment and transportation industry experts, to highlight the impact that independent transportation has on the lives of low-income families. VFC’s goal is to expand their program to other communities and cities across the country.
Vehicles for Change accepts and repairs donated cars and awards them to prequalified families for as little as $750, enabling low-income families to become self-sufficient. A nonprofit organization, VFC receives 99 percent of its car donations from the public. Since 1999, VFC has awarded more than 4,700 cars to low-income families, changing the lives of more than 16,400 people. Eligible families are referred to VFC through partnering social service type agencies. VFC car donors gain a substantial tax advantage that’s not available with most other charities. We’re the only organization in Maryland and Washington, D.C. that makes it possible for donors to deduct the full fair market value of their car, because their donation is awarded to a low-income family.
For additional information about Vehicles for Change, or to donate a vehicle, visit www.vehiclesforchange.org or call 410-242-9674. Follow the organization on Facebook at www.facebook.com/vehiclesforchange, Twitter @vehicles4change, and explore their official hashtag “#VFCjourney.”
Please direct all media inquiries and requests to Josie Hankey at 410-420-2001 or by email at Josie.Hankey@FallstonGroup.com.