Alex Beall is a former associate editor for Associations Now.
The National Auto Body Council’s Recycled Rides program helps struggling families have better access to jobs, medical care, and education.
To help struggling families better access jobs, medical care, or education, the National Auto Body Council (NABC) is providing greater mobility by distributing repaired cars through its Recycled Rides program.
“A vehicle provides them with freedom, and so that’s what our goal is,” to help one family at a time, says Executive Director Chuck Sulkala. So far, NABC has given away about 2,000 vehicles.
A 2017 Power of A Summit Award winner, the program brings together all sectors of NABC’s membership to repair cars and give back to the community. Insurance companies donate damaged but repairable vehicles, vendors donate parts and other services, and repair shops contribute shop space while their employees give their time. “On this vehicle, we all work together, and we help to change somebody’s life,” says Sulkala.
NABC works with partner 800-Charity Cars to manage the vehicles, titles, and registrations and to vet recipients, and it teams up with local charities to identify families who could best use and maintain the vehicles. Donated cars must be safe and meet certain standards, such as logging less than 100,000 miles and being only three to eight years old.
“These are quality cars that we expect to last somebody for an extended period of time if they continue to maintain it and change the oil, things that have to be done to the car,” says Sulkala.
Launched 10 years ago when the recession made it difficult for companies to donate cash, Recycled Rides allows them to participate in community service by donating time and products instead.
“We get tremendously satisfied employees that they’ve made a difference in somebody’s life, we get companies that have realized that they’ve done something good, and we get a family that now has a vehicle to get them back on the track of life again,” he says.
[This article was originally published in the Associations Now print edition, titled "On the Road Again."]