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Area auto dealers give donated vehicles to single mothers at Tysons ceremony

Families with the donated vehicles given to them by NADA and Vehicles for Change (courtesy National Automobile Dealers Association)

Commuting will be easier for four families in the D.C. area, thanks to their new vehicles from a quartet of Virginia and Maryland automobile dealerships.

The businesses handed off the donated vehicles to their recipients — all single mothers — with a ceremony on March 18 at the National Automobile Dealers Association’s (NADA) headquarters (8484 Westpark Drive) in Tysons.

NADA, which represents over 16,000 auto dealerships nationwide, organized the initiative with Vehicles for Change (VFC), a nonprofit that accepts donated vehicles and gives them to families in Northern Virginia and Maryland who need access to independent transportation.

“Every day, our members see firsthand the benefits, opportunities and freedoms a vehicle brings to its owner’s life and family,” NADA President and CEO Mike Stanton said in a press release. “That’s why we’ve been engaged and supportive of VFC for several years and are excited to further embrace their mission this year.”

According to the release, NADA’s philanthropic arm — the NADA Foundation — located the donated vehicles and contributed $5,000 for each of them to cover the costs of refurbishments, repairs and other expenses that came with making them ready to drive.

Though the vehicles were donated, they’re not entirely free for the receiving families, who will each pay $950. They were provided 12-month loans from Sandy Spring Bank, which serves the D.C. region, and got warranties that cover the vehicles for six months or 6,000 miles.

The goal is to improve the recipients’ personal mobility, while also giving them “the opportunity to build their own credit portfolio and enhance their financial literacy,” NADA said.

“Access to a vehicle — by having reliable personal transportation — is paramount to a families’ ability to thrive,” NADA Board of Directors Chairman Gary Gilchrist said at the hand-off. “Not only will the vehicles here today give the recipients opportunities they might not have otherwise, but they also help families build their credit.”

According to NADA, the women who received the donated vehicles in Tysons plan to use them to get to their jobs or college, and to transport their children:

Sport Automotive Group in Silver Spring, Md., awarded a Toyota RAV4 to Candice McNair, a single mother of two daughters and a clerk in Annapolis, Md., who will use her vehicle to pursue her bachelor’s degree in health administration.

Nissan of Bowie in Bowie, Md., awarded a Nissan Versa to Toni Brown, a single mother of a teenage son and a medical secretary in Baltimore, Md., who will use her vehicle to alleviate the financial burden of her daily commute and access medical appointments.

Rosenthal Automotive Group based in Reston, Va., awarded a Nissan Altima to Tammy Carter, a single mother of two teenage daughters and a patient access specialist in Prince William County, Va., who will use her vehicle to decrease commuting time and transport her children to extracurricular activities.

Carter Myers Automotive Group based in Charlottesville, Va., awarded a Kia Rio to Adrianna Boyer, a single mother of two young children and a sales administrator in [Loudoun] County, Va., who will use her vehicle to get her son engaged in afterschool activities.

VFC founder and president Martin Schwartz noted that access to transportation enables people to be more involved with their family and community, in addition to making work, medical appointments and other tasks more convenient.

“This car is not just a mode of transportation; it’s a lifeline that will bring back normalcy to our lives,” Boyer, the Loudoun County resident, said. “Now, with the joyous addition of a car to our lives, I can foresee a positive shift. The ability to go to the grocery store, attend doctor appointments, and respond swiftly to emergencies is a game-changer.”

According to Fairfax County’s transportation data dashboard, the vast majority of residents drive to work, and about one in five households spend over 15% of their income on fuel, maintenance, tolls and other vehicle-related expenses.

Over the past decade, there’s been a slight uptick in households that don’t have a vehicle, from 5.1% in 2012 to 5.7% as of 2022.

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