Halethorpe, Md. – Oct. 22, 2014 – Baltimore-area nonprofit Vehicles for Change, Inc. (VFC) will host the first-ever Economic Mobility Forum on Nov. 20, focused on bridging the gap between research and practice on transportation and the impact that transportation has on low-income families. A half-day think tank, the forum will bring together regional nonprofit, community and business leaders to collaboratively discuss solutions to transportation issues in the Baltimore metropolitan area.
Local organizational leaders, Diane Bell McKoy of Associated Black Charities and Donald Fry of the Greater Baltimore Committee, will facilitate panels emphasizing how barriers to transportation impact various aspects of quality of life, including access to jobs, health care, day care and healthy food; physical and emotional health; family structure and children; and a business’ ability to attract and retain employees at all skill levels. Baltimore Metropolitan Council’s Opportunity Collaborative, a consortium charged with developing Baltimore’s Regional Plan for Sustainable Development, will present an in-depth analysis of the 12 major job hubs in the Baltimore region and the limitations of existing public transportation in those areas.
“Access to transportation and enhanced mobility are essential components of a growing economy and workforce,” said Donald C. Fry, president and CEO of the Greater Baltimore Committee. “The Economic Mobility Forum brings together a wide range of stakeholders to highlight the mobility challenges facing our regional employee base and the importance of finding solutions for our current and future workforce.”
The forum will launch VFC’s pilot project to create a comprehensive transportation network that will provide greater access to jobs, health care, education and other components of a healthy life for disadvantaged residents in East Baltimore. According to VFC President Marty Schwartz, the pilot project will attempt to demonstrate these improved employment and lifestyle changes through access to various modes of transportation, including existing public transit services, vanpools, bicycles and low-cost auto ownership through VFC’s car award program. Upon completion, the pilot project may serve as a model for improving transportation networks in metropolitan neighborhoods across the country.
“Vehicles for Change has long been considered a leader in transportation, particularly in how reliable transportation impacts family structure and workforce development,” Schwartz said. “This is a national problem, and one we plan to address with other transportation thought leaders at the Economic Mobility Forum. The forum will be a platform from which we can discuss transportation problems, as well as create potential solutions.”
Sponsored by PNC Bank, Central Maryland Transportation Alliance and CC&A Web Development, the 2014 Economic Mobility Forum is Nov. 20 from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. at VFC’s headquarters in Halethorpe. During the event, VFC will award a vehicle to an East Baltimore family in need of personal transportation to gain financial independence. Forum attendees will have the opportunity to participate in a pilot project discussion with community representatives and tour VFC’s headquarters and Center for Automotive Careers.
For information or to register for the event, visit http://economicmobility.eventbrite.com. Registration is $45 for nonprofits and $95 for for-profit organizations.
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. VFC is one of the few organizations in the country that makes it possible for donors to deduct the full fair market values 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 vehiclesforchange.org or call 855-820-7990. Follow the organization on Facebook and Twitter @vehicles4change and explore their hashtag “#VFCjourney.”
Source: Vehicles for Change