New Year’s Resolutions Around Charity & Doing Good For Others

Image by Image by Alexas_Fotos from Pixabay 

Now that 2020 is behind us and we have moved into 2021, many of us are giving thought to New Year’s Resolutions. For us, our New Year’s Resolutions for 2021 revolve around charity and doing good for others. That is why in this month’s blog, we want to share some ideas we have about giving to others to make the world a better place.

 

Though many claim that the year 2020 was a dumpster fire of a year, we at Cars 2nd Chance found a silver lining of good coming out of a challenging year. For one, we saw that more people were quickly becoming food insecure during the early months of Covid-19. That is why we were inspired to take the money from car donations and support the Food Bank of Solano and Contra Costa Counties. In 10 months, we have donated $50,000 and pledged $100,000 to the Food Bank to help feed hungry families and individuals within our communities.

 

We also took the initiative to provide donated cars to families and individuals in need. Some were young couples starting their lives together, while others were disabled or homeless. To see car donations come through that would lend a hand up to those who needed extra support, it warmed our hearts to see that much good coming out of our Cars 2nd Chance program.

 

We are hoping with all our might that 2021 is going to be a better, more stable, and productive year, but there are no guarantees. Two years ago, we gave donated cars to people who lost their homes in the Paradise Camp Fire disaster. There is and always will be a need to help others facing significant challenges within our community. That is why our New Year’s Resolutions continue to focus on charity and doing good for others. It’s who we are as Rotarians, and that is why we love all the goodness that comes through our Cars 2nd Chance program.

 

If you are still undecided about what you want to do for yourself and others in 2021, we invited you to resolve to help those in need through Cars 2nd Chance. If you have a car you wish to donate, our donation process is super easy. If you, instead, prefer to donate cash, we are open to that as well. Or, if you find that you are the one in need of help, ask, and we’ll do our part to assist you. When you willingly give, you are likely to get more, due to your generosity.

 

If you want to buy a donated vehicle, give cash, or present a car to Cars 2nd Chance, now is a great time to share! If you resolve to give more this year, donate your unused vehicle to help someone recover from a natural disaster or receive food from the Food Bank. First, reach out to cars2ndchance@gmail.com to donate a car that runs, or send an email to clunkers4charity@gmail.com to donate a car that does not run. We appreciate your love and support!

End Of Year Giving

Ah, December! It’s our favorite time of year. This month is when we put forth an extra effort towards giving a bit more at the end of the year.

2020 has been an interesting year, at best. Cars 2nd Chance has been busy processing car donations that benefit the Food Bank of Contra Costa and Solano. We also have donated cars to people who lost their vehicles in the Paradise Campfire of 2018, as well as funding an end to polio in 2016-2017. Cars 2nd Chance pursues opportunities and partnerships that will help us reduce suffering, improve quality of life, and lift each other up through car donations.

We have explained our process quite a bit on our website, but to reiterate, the donation process is quite simple. If you have a car you want to donate — regardless if it is running or not — contact us here and we will walk you through the process.  

Look, we know that 2020 has been life-changing for everyone. Some have been using the additional time at home to their benefit. They have been cleaning and organizing their closets, getting rid of old furniture that no longer serves them, emptying old storage lockers of items they no longer need and finding new homes for their old cars. If you have a vehicle that is taking up space in your garage that you don’t plan to repair or use any longer, why not donate it to Cars 2nd Chance?

There are so many benefits to giving donated items at the end of the year. It’s good for tax deductions if you’re seeking a tax break. It’s a great lesson you can share with your children and grandchildren about helping others who are less fortunate. Plus, it feels good, knowing that your donation is benefiting charities who are doing their part to make the world a better place. 

If you do not have a vehicle to donate but you would like to help Cars 2nd Chance, we accept cash donations as well. By donating money, you can still get the tax benefits and the good feelings of being a philanthropist.

Lastly, another way you can help Cars 2nd Chance is to purchase one of our donated vehicles. If you, a family member, or a friend of yours is in the market for a used vehicle, Cars 2nd Chance has some amazing cars for sale that might surprise you! Some of our favorites are this beautiful 1971 VW Beetle show car, and a lovely Mazda Miata. Not all donated cars are junkers, that’s for sure!

Cars 2nd Chance is making a positive impact on Rotary Clubs and communities internationally as well. For example, the Rotary Club of San Felipe in Baja, Mexico, is also sharing our mission and seeking car donations. Truly, the combined efforts of our partners are inspiring. Check out the full list of our partners to see who is going the extra mile to give others a chance at a better life.

If you want to buy a donated vehicle, give cash, or donate a vehicle to Cars 2nd Chance, December is the best time to give! To celebrate the religious holidays and show the children in your life about giving, donate your unused car to help someone recover from a natural disaster, or receive food from the Food Bank. To begin, reach out to cars2ndchance@gmail.com to donate a vehicle that runs, or send an email to clunkers4charity@gmail.com to donate a car that does not run. We appreciate your love and support!

Paradise Survivors: A 6-Month Update

The California wildfires were devastating and affected the lives of thousands. It’s been six months since the fires started in Plumas National Forest and spread across 20,000 acres of land. Residents had to evacuate and were in a state of emergency. Besides all the emotional pain each resident had to go to they also lost their homes, more than 6,700 homes were burned and destroyed. This fire set the record for California’s most destructive fire. How are the survivors doing? It’s still a huge struggle.

Thousands of residents were displaced, homes burned down, and left with nothing. Many survivors remain in rentals until they figure out their next steps and options. Others are still in emergency housing and government trailers. Residents are waiting for insurance money, trying to rebuild, or looking for a new place to live. These things take lots of time, money and energy. There are also many residents living in homeless camps in the southern city limits of Santa Rosa.

The only option is to start over completely. Furniture, vehicles, precious memories are gone forever. Some homes can’t even be rebuilt because the damage is so bad. Living in a rental is not the same as home. Trying to buy a new home is expensive, paperwork and applications take time, and there is no guarantee they will get the home they want. Only a handful of residents have been able to rise from the ashes and start a new life moving forward.

There have been less than 100 building permits issued since the fires when thousands of buildings were burned down. They are struggling to find time, money, and workers to rebuild what was lost. More than 40% of the homes that burned were not insured either. Those who lived paycheck to paycheck had to move somewhere else that had cheap rent so they could get by. The average local-area rent price has gone up 30% since the fires making it less affordable to more people. Those who couldn’t find a new place or family to stay with ended up in temporary housing from FEMA. The biggest colony of survivors is in the Sonoma County Fairgrounds RV park where 100 new trailers were brought in and filled up completely. These trailers are part of the disaster recovery effort and provided 400 residents with housing up to 18 months.

There has been a resilient permit center opened separately for the fire survivors who are trying to rebuild their homes. Officials have lowered fees for this center with promises to issue building permits a week after application so survivors can start building a new life. In the fire-prone areas, it’s now required to have fire sprinklers installed.

It’s going to take time to rebuild what was lost and the mourning over the lives lost will forever continue. A majority of survivors are still fighting the battle and trying to figure out how to start over. If you can help in any way, please do. Survivors continue to need our support.

How Do Charitable Acts Help Your Taxes? Giving Matters to You, Too!

It feels good to give!

Taxes and giving: what do these two things have to do with one another? Well, indeed there are many ways taxes and giving relate to one another, especially when it comes down to the individual. There are many reasons people give to charitable organizations, and though it shouldn’t be the main reason, receiving tax incentives is a wonderful benefit for the individual taxpayer.

In 2016, 36.95 million tax returns claimed charitable contributions. What does this mean for those taxpayers? Well, it means that throughout the year, when folks have planned or spontaneous desires to give cash or non-cash items, they receive a receipt. The importance of that receipt is, as with anything with our taxes, to be able to provide proof of the gift and its value.

Breaking it down:

Noncash donations —

  • Donations up to $250 in value, all that’s needed is the receipt for the charitable donation deduction.
  • Contributions over $250 but no more than $500 requires a detailed, written acknowledgment from the organization; it must include: name and address, the date and location of contribution, description of the donation, and an estimate of the item’s value,
  • Donations over $500 but no more than $5,000 require the above information ($250-$500) as well as the records of how you acquired the noncash item, such as how much you paid for it.

Car donations —

Some steps need to be considered when donating a car because it depends on the vehicles selling price from the organization, or if it’s not sold, by the fair market value:

  • Step 1: Determine how much the car was sold for by the charity, but if it’s sold significantly below market value, you can use the fair market value.
  • Step 2: Determine the car’s fair market value, and it’s important to use a reputable used-car price guide so you can calculate if you need to use the fair market value.
  • Step 3: Claim the deduction on line 17 of Schedule A.
  • Step 4: additional forms that are needed include:

Form 8283 Section A for car donations $501 to $5,000

Form 8283 Section B for car donations over $5,000 and this section requires a written appraisal as documentation.

How do these cash and noncash donations help charitable organizations? Nonprofits have three primary funding sources: fees charged, government grants, and charitable giving. So, the giving, especially of unrestricted cash donations, is extraordinarily important, thus fulfilling for the giver.

How exactly do these deductions help you, the taxpayer? The IRS allows the deduction for taxpayers that are filing their return with an itemized deduction schedule, and a deduction lowers the amount of taxable income before taking into account your tax liability.

Some websites and organizations exist to help you responsibly learn about, make, and track your charitable donation deductions throughout the year:

Charity Navigator: A charity navigator that provides information to guide responsible giving with details on the Financial Health, Accountability, and Transparency of over 9,000 charities, as well as basic information on the other 1.8 million U.S. nonprofits. Charity Navigator is itself a 501 C 3.

Better Business Bureau Give.Org: An organization that evaluates charities based on governance and oversight, measuring effectiveness, finances, and solicitations and informational materials. This also helps to provide reports so donors can make informed decisions with the donations.

IRS and Charitable Contributions: The IRS has information surrounding utilizing charitable deductions, from the most basic to more detailed information.

When taking into account your decision to make charitable donations, don’t forget to check the boxes to make sure that your charitable donation deductions will be able to be utilized. Always do your research, and feel good knowing where your gifts are going and how they can also benefit you!

If you’d like to donate your car to help someone recover from the Paradise fire or another valued non-profit, reach out to cars2ndchance@gmail.com to donate a car that runs and Cars2ndChance@gmail.com to donate a vehicle that does not. Check out their respective websites https://cars2ndchance.org/. The organization has received 30 cars for the Paradise survivors, but they need more, as you can well imagine.

Great News! Car Donations Rising in 2019

We all like hearing good news, right? Well, here’s some good news for you… 2019 is seeing an increase in car donations. But why is this happening?

  • Is it because donating a car to a good cause feels good?
  • Is it because it’s a terrific tax write-off?
  • Is it because the economy is doing well and people are feeling more generous?
  • Maybe it’s because they know so many Paradise Camp Fire victims are in need?

Maybe it is a combination of all of these. Here is what one donor said about donating her vehicle:

“I’m gratified to learn that my donation actually resulted in a significant benefit to the nonprofit.”  -Anonymous Donor

According to Careasy.org, a non-profit that focuses on charitable car donations, the first quarter of 2019 is seeing more car donations than normal. We are hoping the influx of donations continues through Tax Season. Many families affected by the Paradise Camp Fire in California are still in need of donated cars.

If you’d like to donate your car to help someone recover from the Paradise fire or another valued non-profit, reach out to cars2ndchance@gmail.com to donate a car that runs and Cars2ndChance@gmail.com to donate a vehicle that does not. Check out their respective websites https://cars2ndchance.org/. The organization has received 30 cars for the Paradise survivors, but they need more, as you can well imagine.