Over the past nine years, car donations have raised $150,000 for Interfaith Ministries of Denton (IFM), Inc. The car donation program, Interfaith Denton Charity Cars (IDCC), drives revenue generation allowing us to financially assist northern Denton County residents during unexpected, emergency situations.
In 2007, Ron Shelton of Shelton Automotive was buying cars at auction and repairing them for sale. He heard Dale Hansen's ad on the radio about donating cars to raise money for the Dallas Can Academy. Ron figured that car donations can make a substantial amount of money for charity, and thought Denton needed some place local to donate. He talked to John Plato about the idea.
John Plato, now deceased, was not only interested in cars, but also heavily invested in community service. The car donation idea peaked his interest, which he enthusiastically shared with Carin Horn, who was the Board Chair at IFM and his co-volunteer at Habitat for Humanity.
Carin Horn presented the idea to IFM's Executive Director, Condell Garden, and the Board of Directors, including Treasurer, Mike Carr (also deceased), who started running the feasibility numbers. The real work had begun: research, interviews with other charities accepting car donations, State of Texas training and certification, plus acquiring a used car dealer's license.
Ron Shelton donated an office in his automotive shop for Condell Garden to work and set up IDCC auctions online. For the first three to four years, donated vehicles were transported to Ron's business. He accepted car donations and helped Condell with the required paperwork, including title transfers. Ron actually donated the first three cars IDCC received. Thanks, Ron!
Many sweat hours were contributed at the front end of what has become a very successful and long-term fundraising program for IFM. Back then, folks volunteered to clean and photograph newly donated vehicles.
You may want to try their tool of choice for detailing the inside of a car: a toothbrush.
Others took fliers to local car repair businesses and car enthusiasts, who in turn, spread the word. Some years have seen more donations than others, and some vehicles make more money than others. Donations definitely increased in the years IDCC could afford ideally located billboard marketing.
In 2012 Pro-Tow Wrecker approached IFM Denton about managing car donations and sales for IDCC via live and online auctions, which was more efficient than existing in-house procedures. The program moved forward, and Condell was able to focus more on other areas of managing a small nonprofit. Check out a training certificate she received in the early days of IDCC below.
In 2016, we switched to an all-in-one service -- Insurance Auto Auctions (IAA) Donation Division. Donors can contact IAA directly at 1-800-269-6814. IAA tows the vehicle to their site at no charge to the donor.
IAA sells the donated vehicle at auction, gives the donor a sales receipt for tax deduction purposes, and IFM Denton receives most of the proceeds. It's interesting to note that folks can donate more than just old cars. IAA also accepts trucks, boats, motorcycles, snowmobiles, personal watercraft and heavy equipment.
Over the years, IDCC has provided funding to support our mission of providing assistance to residents of northern Denton County.
In 2015, Interfaith Ministries of Denton provided financial assistance to more than 4,000 individuals.
"It's been a good thing," Carin Horn said. "Our goal was to leave a legacy of something that would provide a long-term stream of income for Interfaith Ministries, which we did."
In loving memory of John Plato and Mike Carr.