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Get A Car To Get To Work or Donate Your Old Car So Others Can Work


Martin (Marty) Schwartz, President
Vehicles for Change
5230 Washington Blvd.
Halethorpe, MD 21227 (Baltimore area)
Phone:  410-242-9674

  Interview Highlights

  • Started in 1999.
  • They take donated cars from the general public.
  • They select the better ones and repair them and then identify families who need a car to go to work to escape poverty.
  • They sell the car for a price between $700 and $800.
  • They provide them with a 12 month loan to purchase the car.
  • they provide the loan through a bank so they can establish credit.
  • Vehicles for Change guarantees the loan so the bank does not have a problem lending the money.
  • They also give them a 6 month warranty on the car.
  • They are in Maryland, DC, and Virginia.
  • They are also expanding into Atlanta and Kentucky.
  • They process the cars in the main office and in Richmond.
  • They are a non-profit.
  • It costs them $4,800 to put a car on the street.
  • They fund this by:
    • $750 from the person who gets the car
    • They generate about $1,800 per car internally by selling or disposing of the cars they don't need, and
    • They also get grants from the state government of foundations.
  • There are a number of programs like this around the country but Vehicles for Change are the biggest.
  • They are franchising and expanding.
  • State agencies have programs called WAG grants (Welfare Avoidance Grants that can be used to repair cars.
  • He was in athletics all his life and got into this by accident.
  • He had his own company that helps high school kids get into college.
  • It all started with a $20,000 grant and a $10,000 loan.
  • They recently had a program called "Walk In Their Shoes" that has people shadow a low-income person getting through life with their children on public transportation.
  • These people are killing themselves trying to keep their family together.
  • It's all about cars... they are always looking for donated cars.
  • They can award 500 cars a day if they could.
  • In Baltimore area there are 81,000 low income families who need cars.
  • In Washington DC metropolitan area there are 151,000 families who need cars.
  • Only 14% if these people have access to entry level positions by using public transportation (or 86% need a car to get to a job that can lead to a career).
  • Sell them to familefix up the better cars and sell them to families.