August 10, 2009

Charities fear fewer ‘clunker’ donations

The federal Cash for Clunkers trade-in program has a new set of detractors, U.S. charity organizations that count on donated vehicles, fund raisers said.

We know there's going to be a significant impact, Chad Iseman, director of Kidney Cars, told the Detroit Free Press Monday.

Kidney Cars is a fund raising division of the National Kidney Foundation, which reaps 19 percent of its revenue from donated cars trucks and SUVs.

The Kidney Foundation said it expected up to 15 percent fewer vehicles as donations while the federal program offering rebates up to $4,500 for cars traded for new vehicles with higher fuel efficiency was in effect.

In competition with the rebate, the average tax deduction for a donated car is $500, said Lauren Lawson, a spokeswoman for Goodwill Industries International.

Goodwill Chief Executive Officer Jim Gibbons also said the Cash for Clunkers program, formally called the Car Allowance Rebate System (CARS), would hurt his foundation's bottom line.

Goodwill took in $14.5 million selling donated cars in 2008, the organization said.

White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki said the program would have negligible effect on non-profit organizations.