Clunkers programs may hurt car donation charities

By Donna McCollum - bio | email

NACOGDOCHES, TX (KTRE) - Candi Montgomery has a very close attachment with her gas guzzling Suburban. "This is my baby," the Solid Foundation employee and participant said. Candi believes this because the big red truck is a reward for graduating from high school. Solid Foundation's vehicle donation program for at risk teens made it all possible.

"We give the kids who are struggling an opportunity to work towards graduating rather than dropping out," John Cannings, Solid Foundation director explained. "And secondly, having a vehicle to go on to what ever they choose in life."

There's a new concern. Suitable vehicles are ending up in the Cash For Clunkers program. Some potential donors are even going back on their promise in order to collect rebates up to $4,500.

The program started two months after Candi got her truck. The donor has no regrets. "He (Cannings) very readily provided us something for a tax donation, so we felt real good about that," Betty Shinn shared.  "And we met the young girl that got it and she's so thrilled to have it."

Right now, vehicle donors get a tax deduction of up to $500 or the car's selling price if a charity sells the car. Legislation has been introduced that would allow tax deductions of up to $2,500 of the item's appraised value. Cannings is hopeful the publicity surrounding the Clunker's Program will actually raise awareness about car donations. "Those people who have considered donating will have even a further awareness of the need that we have," Cannings said.

As far as Candi, she doesn't anticipate she'll ever turn her 'baby' over to the Clunker Program.   "I had to put effort into this vehicle," Candi said while giving her truck a glance of approval. "I wouldn't want a new vehicle. It would be too hard to part." When it's time, Candi says she'll donate it back to Solid Foundation.

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