What does Vehicles For Change do?
Vehicles for Change Inc. (VFC) empowers families with financial challenges to achieve economic and personal independence through car ownership and technical training.
In 1999, Vehicles for Change opened outside of Baltimore, Maryland. After building sustainable car award and automotive training programs in the Maryland-Virginia-Washington D.C. region, VFC began work to replicate those programs nationally, aiming to bring independent transportation and training in the automotive field to as many people as possible. VFC took its first step towards national expansion by opening up its second location in Detroit, Michigan in 2015.
Our Car Award Program
A nonprofit organization, VFC receives 99 percent of its car donations from the public. We repair cars that meet our quality standards and award them for as little as $750 to eligible families, who are referred to us by social service agencies.
Since 1999, VFC has awarded 5,400 cars to low-income families, changing the lives of more than 15,000 people. Our 2011 study found that 75 percent of VFC recipients got better jobs and/or boosted their earnings an average of $7,000 within the first year. Learn more.
This video, put together by the Calvert Foundation, features the VFC Program:
We guarantee families’ low-interest car loans—allowing them to build credit—and provide an orientation course to prepare them for car ownership. Their VFC vehicles carry a six-month/6,000 mile warranty, and with proper maintenance will deliver reliable service for at least 24,000 miles or two years.
VFC car donors gain a substantial tax advantage that’s not available with most other charities. Learn more about the VFC Tax Advantage.
Our Auto Outlet, Freedom Wheels
VFC operates Freedom Wheels, a retail used-car lot that is open to the public so that car prices are kept low for recipients. Some donated vehicles (such as luxury models or cars with a high book value) are sold through Freedom Wheels, in order to maximize the donor's tax deduction and VFC's financial return. All proceeds go toward preparing more vehicles for deserving families.
Freedom Wheels, which launched in 2005, is what enables VFC to act as a social enterprise, funding its own operations and growth.
Our Training Program, the Center for Automotive Careers
The Center for Automotive Careers trains individuals from a variety of low-income backgrounds in automotive services. The CAC program has two training components: auto detailing and automotive repair. The Detailing program launched in September 2013; the Automotive Repair training which trains individuals through Full Circle Service Center, launched in 2015. The CAC training center is currently only available at VFC headquarters in Baltimore, but we expect to bring this program to Detroit in the near future.
Students in the detail training program currently hone their skills on cars donated to VFC. They detail vehicles before they are awarded to families or sold.