Vehicles for Change Team Members

Martin Schwartz – President

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Martin started Vehicles for Change (VFC) in April 1999 with $30,000 in personal funds invested by senior management of Precision CertiPro Warehouse, an auto parts distributor. Martin has directed an expansion that included Maryland, most of Virginia and Detroit, Michigan. 

VFC was selected as a “best practice” organization in a national study completed by the “National Economic Development and Law Center” and generally recognized as one of the premiere low-income car ownership programs in the country.

In 2005 Martin started Freedom Wheels, a retail used-car business that is a subsidiary of VFC. He was selected as the University of Baltimore 2007 Social Entrepreneur of the Year and the Baltimore Visitors and Convention Bureaus “Sales Person of the Year” award. In 2011, Martin was recognized as an “Influential Marylander” by the Daily Record and Vehicles for Change received the MassMutual Citizenship Award for its private-public partnership developed with Precision Tune Auto Care. Martin co-authored a book on Social Enterprise titled Effective Social Enterprise: Practical Advice and Best Practices from Leaders in the Field and serves on the Baltimore Workforce Investment Board and the local Board of the Social Enterprise Alliance.

Melissa McKenna - Assistant Director, VA State Coordinator

Melissa McKenna has managed all operations related to VFC's Richmond, VA location for the past 10 years. She brings a wide range of experience to VFC, having managed and owned numerous small businesses over the last 30 years (including wood and gas stove stores, a bicycle store and a screen printing machine manufacturer). Melissa is also a skilled auto mechanic and has rebuilt engines, replaced transmissions and made repairs on a wide variety of vehicles, including her very own school bus. She is a licensed VA car dealer.

Kevin D'Angelo - Chief Financial Officer

D'Angelo has more than three decades of accounting experience, making him a valued member of Vehicles for Change's leadership team. Serving as Controller for the organization since December 2019, D'Angelo took over for long-term chief financial officer, Chris Hendrickson, who recently retired from the position. Prior to joining Vehicles for Change, D'Angelo worked for a variety of for-profit and nonprofit organizations in an accounting capacity, most recently serving as Controller for Compass, Inc. In his role, D'Angelo is responsible for oversight and forecasting of the organization's financial health. He earned his undergraduate degree in accounting from the University of Maryland, College Park in addition to a degree in physical education and health from Upper Iowa University.

Simone Baptiste - Director of Communications

A New York native, Baptiste earned her BA in African Studies and business from Queens College, City University of New York. Post-graduation, she moved to Baltimore where she obtained her MBA in Business Marketing from the Earl G. Graves School of Business from Morgan State University. Her marketing and communications skillset lead to her employment at various Baltimore news outlets including WEAA-FM, WBAL-TV and ABC2. Baptiste joined the Vehicles for Change team in 2015 as the organization’s Donations Coordinator. In this role, she was responsible for managing the life cycle of car donations including processing and coordinating donations locally and nationally. In August 2019, Baptiste assumed the role of Director of Communications, where she handles internal and external messaging for Vehicles for Change Halethorpe, Waverly, and Detroit.

Ayanna Dacosta - Director of Development

A Connecticut native, Dacosta earned her BA in Political Science with a concentration in Human Rights from the University of Connecticut. Dacosta brings many years of experience in nonprofit fundraising and programming to the Vehicles for Change team, having served as a resource development consultant for the Community Action Agency of Western Connecticut, program consultant for GoLiveGirl, and a contract staffer for the Bethlehem University Foundation as well as the nonprofit, Girls With Impact. Ms. Dacosta is eager to utilize her extensive fundraising experience to further the Vehicles for Change mission. 

Meet Our Mechanics

Wayne T. Farrar - Master Automobile Technician & Maryland State Certified Inspector 

- Areas of Demonstrated Achievement 

  • Engine Repair
  • Manual Drive Train and Axles
  • Suspension and Steering 
  • Brakes
  • Electrical and Electronic Systems
  • Heating and Air Conditioning 
  • Engine Performance
  • Authorized to: conduct inspections, sign Certificates of Inspection, and certify Safety Equipment Repair Orders

Sean Howard - Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) Certified Automobile Technician

-Areas of Demonstrated Achievement

  • Automobile Maintenance and Light Repair