Hoffman Estates, Ill. (January 11, 2022) –
The Collision Repair Education Foundation (CREF) and Farmers Insurance® are excited to announce that their vehicle donation program to support collision schools had its biggest year ever in 2021.
“By the end of November, we already had delivered over 30 vehicles to schools so far in 2021 with many others in progress,” stated Ken Kowalski, auto salvage consultant for Farmers Insurance. “Previously, our biggest year was 28 donations in 2019. This year, we’re proud to announce that we’ve set a new record for donations delivered.”
Since the program began in 2016, it has not only grown ─ it has evolved! The program’s original iteration called for vehicles to be repaired by students and sold at auction, with the proceeds benefitting both CREF and the participating school. In addition to selling the vehicle at no charge, Copart donated towing services to help ensure the vehicles reached the schools.
“We have come a long way from those beginnings,” Kowalski noted. “We learned that different schools have very different needs. While some schools repair vehicles to return them to service, others use vehicles to help teach students to use frame machines. Others are used repeatedly for students to learn assembly and disassembly or as a classroom learning aid, and some are repaired.”
After repairing donated vehicles, several schools have then partnered with the National Auto Body Council (NABC) to give the vehicle to someone in need through the Recycled Rides® program. Kowalski shared one of his favorite uses of a donated vehicle: “After repairing the vehicle, the school gave it to a low-income student who was graduating from the program to ensure they would have transportation to get to their new job at a body shop.”
The current program has been streamlined for simplicity. After identifying a school in need of a vehicle donation, the Foundation acts as liaison between Farmers Insurance and the school, facilitating completion of vehicle selection, and title transfers, ultimately resulting in the vehicle being delivered to the school.
“Cars are definitely the most requested item from school collision programs,” stated Melissa Marscin, director of operations and administration for CREF. “We are very grateful to Farmers® for stepping up to help fulfill this need and to give students the ability to practice on newer vehicles.”
Industry members interested in getting involved and supporting the Collision Repair Education Foundation’s efforts to assist secondary and post-secondary collision repair training programs should contact Brandon Eckenrode, Managing Director, at 312-231-0258 or Brandon.Eckenrode@ed-foundation.org. Monetary donations can be made online.
The Collision Repair Education Foundation, founded in 1991, is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to supporting collision repair educational programs, schools, and students to create qualified, entry-level employees and connect them with an array of career opportunities. For information on how to donate to programs supported by the Education Foundation, visit us online at: www.CollisionEducationFoundation.org.
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