By Kristen Bruckner
When Ken and Judy Brownsberger made the recent decision to buy a new car, they opted to donate their beloved 2009 Mini Cooper to the Lyons Community Foundation. What they reported was a quick, easy, and simple process through an organization called Vehicles for Charity (VFC). What people don’t realize is that the ease and convenience of a car donation along with tax benefits and
the opportunity to give directly to your local community, often outweighs the hassle and expense of selling a car outright. In fact, donating your vehicle is a process that provides direct, immediate funds that in turn can be applied to projects happening right in Lyons.
Ken describes the decision to donate and the process as very easy, “Earlier this year we decided to donate our 2009 Mini Cooper as we were buying a new plug-in hybrid minivan for the family, and didn’t want to keep a third vehicle. Years ago we’d donated an older car to public radio, and recalled that it was pretty simple. We knew this time we wanted the donation to go to a charitable organization in Lyons - and a quick web search of possible options led us to the LCF article about Phil Aumiller, another Lyons local who coincidently works with Judy, but had also donated a car to LCF.”
Ken further explains, “The donation process through VFC is very easy. You go to the VFC website and pick a charity, fill out the online form and submit it; a short time later they call you back to arrange the vehicle pickup - and then they come to get your vehicle and you hand them the signed title and the keys - and they take it away. Later, VFC mails you the IRS tax deduction paperwork when everything is wrapped up. Easy! We are planning to donate our other old car later this year too - given how easy it was, we’re almost certain to use the VFC website and donate to LCF again.”
Contributions such as the vehicle donation program are so appreciated by the Lyons Community Foundation. “This is a great example of the local philanthropy circle being completed,”says Jeanne Moore Co-Chair of the LCF Advisory Board. “By residents putting their generosity into a Lyons-based organization, we are able to fund local projects including everything from the food pantry, student scholarships, Lyons Volunteers, and public art and music. Dollars given to LCF can directly pay for programs that benefit our residents.”
“What’s also great,” says Jeanne “is that by using a mechanism like Vehicles for Charity, it requires no effort on the part of LCF’s all-volunteer member advisory board.” As with any non-profit, fundraising is its most challenging and resource-demanding issue.” The Lyons Community Foundation operates solely on donations from local businesses and individuals, drawing most of its funds from an annual event held in November, followed up with a year-end donor appeal. As local needs and causes grow, the foundation’s fundraising efforts have become increasingly challenging.
The Lyons Community Foundation began as way to address the needs of a small, yet diverse community and also provide a platform for residents to give back. When you give to LCF, you are supporting your neighbor who might need assistance from Meals on Wheels or other human services, in addition to the local artist whose work is being supported by a grant to integrate their art in town. Because volunteers and donors come from the same small pool, it makes sense to try and consolidate efforts and ways in which residents are asked to contribute. We are so grateful that so many residents are committed to giving and acting locally.
The Lyons Community Foundation is a Lyons-based community 501(c)(3) organization. Our mission is to improve the quality of life, build a culture of giving and encourage positive change in the greater Lyons area. We are a fund of the Community Foundation serving Boulder County and our work supports local residents in their pursuits to enhance life in Lyons. For more information on the Lyons Community Foundation, its board, or our granting work, please visit www.lyonscf.org.
About Vehicles for Charity: The arc Thrift Stores, Lakewood, CO., a Colorado 501 (c)(3) nonprofit organization, serves as the fundraising arm of the ARC Units, which provide advocacy and support for children and adults with developmental disabilities. arc Thrift Stores has historically accepted vehicle donations since 1995 for themselves and several other non-profits. Demand grew and in 2001, Vehicles for Charity (VFC) was established. This comprehensive vehicle donation program was developed and implemented to provide for prompt and professional disposition of vehicles donated to VFC. Our working agreements with carefully selected tow companies and auto auctions have contributed to the program’s success. For more information on VFC: vehiclesforcharity.org.
Kristen Bruckner is the Communications Specialist for the Lyons Community Foundation. She lives in Lyons with her husband and three children.