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  • Jennifer Filzen

Putting Gratitude to Work for You

In the theme of giving thanks during November, let's talk about gratitude.

Back in the early 2000s, Dave and Mary Kemnitz had a problem that needed solving. At their auto repair shop, D & H Enterprises in Concord, California, they were continually faced with disposing of vehicles that their customers did not want any longer.  Most donation centers had huge administrative fees and they kept thinking that there must be a better way.  Suddenly These abandoned, unwanted cars gave them an idea. As long-standing Rotarians, they knew that many underprivileged families could use these vehicles. When they looked around at the options to donate these vehicles, they were sickened by the huge admin fee the donation centers were taking. 

 So, they decided to start two initiatives: Cars 2nd Chance in 2008, working with their local Rotary Club's Foundation and since that was so successful, began developing Cars for Careers for their automotive trade organization, ASCCA's Educational Foundation, ASCEF in 2009. Rotary donated cars were either repaired and sold directly from their business or sent directly to Copart Auto Auction to be sold. The Cars for Career's vehicles went straight to the auction, and ASCCA shops from all over the state began directing cars to the project. Through the years, cars have either been repaired and sold to needy families, repaired and donated to needy families, or sent directly to auction. The proceeds changed many lives. When the cars were repaired, they could either be donated to families who needed them or sell the vehicles, and the proceeds would provide money to these two organizations. What a brilliant solution!

We are grateful that Dave and Mary Kemnitz have been tireless in their efforts to accept donated cars and get them operating again over the years. Today, these cars have a second chance at serving those who need them. Additionally, these cars allow automotive repair students the opportunity to get their hands on a vehicle, learn how to repair it, and feel good knowing that their class project is doing good for the community at large. We believe that's a complete cycle of putting gratitude to work for you.

So now, let's talk about those folks who want to put their gratitude to work. 

Some people feel the need to donate their cars to help others because they are in an excellent financial position. If you have an older car that you are considering donating, you can get a tax deduction for the donation. Here's how: 

  • First, you must donate the car to a qualifying charity. Donating it to a family member won't qualify for a deduction.

  • Second, you must itemize deductions on Schedule A. The deduction is generally the sales proceeds from selling the car. There are exceptions if the charity keeps the vehicle for business purposes or donates it to a needy person.

  • Third, the deduction cannot exceed 50% of your adjusted gross income. The charity will provide you with a Form 1098-C that will tell you the amount the car was sold. 

  • Fourth, you must attach Form 8283 to your tax return if claiming a deduction greater than $500.


If you want to put gratitude to work for you, consider donating your vehicle to Cars 2nd Chance. If you're going to set an excellent example for your family, consider making this a family project, so your children learn the positive benefits of helping others. To demonstrate and show the children in your life about gratitude, donate your unused car to help someone recover from a natural disaster, or receive food from the Food Bank. To begin, reach out to to donate a vehicle that runs, or send an email to to donate a car that does not. 

 For you, we are forever grateful!


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