Grants for Cars Distribute Reliable Transportation with Car Donations

| July 29, 2013 | 53 Comments

Grants For CarsDo you need a car to meet your family’s basic needs and are unable to provide for one yourself? Not owning reliable transportation can be a serious issue for struggling American families. And while some urban areas have great public transportation systems, in most of the United States it is not really a feasible option for raising a family. If you are already having a tough time, being unable to reliably get to work, take the kids to school and accomplish basic errands can only make your family’s situation worse. There is some help available but in this case it does not come from the federal government.

There is currently no federal government program that issues grants to purchase cars. Very briefly for a few months in 2009, congress providing funding for the Car Allowance Rebate System also called Cash For Clunkers in the press. But this was a temporary stimulus initiative that offered incentives to trade in less fuel efficient cars for more fuel efficient cars. This program is no longer operating but it never actually provided cars to families in need. But when government assistance isn’t available and a very real problem exists, usually the private sector steps in. This is the case with charitable groups that provide cars to low-income families.

If you need help obtaining a car there are several nationwide charities that accept donated cars, repair them and offer them to families at no cost. There are also local groups in some areas that provide the same type of assistance, giving even better access to this type of program to residents in some states. None of these programs will offer you a new car, but if you are selected to receive help from one of them you can expect to get a 10-12 year old vehicle with around 100,000 miles. Donated cars are looked over by a mechanic, repaired to be road-ready and are then distributed to provide suitable transportation for families through these programs.

Free Charity Cars
This is the original car donation charity program in the United States, also known as 1-800-Charity Cars. This non-profit was created with the main goal of helping struggling families transition from dependency to self-sufficiency. Since 1996, it has awarded over 4,500 cars though the nationwide program. Free Charity Cars helps the following types of applicants with grants for used cars:

  • Families moving from public assistance to work
  • Families living in homeless shelters
  • Military families
  • Victims of domestic abuse
  • Victims of natural disasters
  • Disabled or medically challenged
  • Working poor
  • Non-profit organizations

To apply for help, you must create a profile on the Free Charity Cars website. You are then expected to promote for the donation program as much as possible in your area and through your online social networking. Profiles that receive the most votes will be ranked by the amount of overall support and will receive a car donation when one becomes available in that applicant’s area.

With Causes Charitable Network
With Causes is a nationwide giving network, allowing for the donation of cars, computers or almost anything of value to support the areas where the organization focuses its efforts. While not its only program, With Causes does provide used car donations to applicants when they are available. To apply for any of the help available through the charity, fill out a help request on the With Causes website and provide your specific needs in your request.

Working Cars for Working Families
While not a car donation charity, Working Cars for Working Families is a service of the National Consumer Law Center which seeks to improve consumer protection and end abuse in the used car business. It maintains a list of car donation services for those looking to donate or receive a car through local programs. To find out if there is a local program in your area, use the program search available on the NCLC website.

Local Car Programs
There is a bit more help available locally in some areas for those looking for help acquiring a donated car. These programs do not always provide free cars, sometimes merely making it possible to buy a car under market or at a highly reduced price. These are only a few examples of local car programs. If you do not live in one of these areas and are unable to find a program near you using the Working Cars for Working Families search, we suggest you continue your search by contacting non-profit organizations in your area that work with low-income families.

Caring Cars – Huntsville, Alabama
Offered by the Family Services Center, this program provides cars needed for transportation to and from work by low-income families in the Huntsville and Madison County area. Cars are donated locally and provided to local families through the program. Cars are not offered for free, with a small down payment and monthly payment schedule required by applicants to cover program costs.

Good News Garage – Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Vermont
This program is offered by Lutheran Social Services in the New England area. Since 1996, it has helped to distribute 4,000 refurbished cars to needy families. Eligibility does vary from state to state but in all cases cars are offered to participants through various state programs.

Vehicles for Change – Maryland, Virginia and Washington, DC
This is a Washington, DC area car donation program offering cars for reduced prices to those having trouble with transportation to work. You must be employed at least 30 hours a week, have a drivers licence and be able to provide insurance and normal car ownership expenses to apply. If selected for the top tier of the program, you will be provided a car for a one time cost of $750. For applicants with more modest income, cars can be provided for under market prices.

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Category: Other Grant Information, Personal Grants

About the Author ()

Kipp is the Contributing Editor for, covering sources of potential funding in the world of grants. His mission is to assist people like you by locating and sharing private, non-profit and government grants. Got a question or a tip on a neat grant? Connect with him now at Facebook Twitter

Comments (53)

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  1. Connie Bolton says:

    I need a car that is dependable. Sending prayers up. Maybe you are just the one God will use.

    • Evangelina Lemus says:

      Being a single mom is so hard… being homeless with a 1 year old was the most difficult time, now that there 11 and 12… it hasn’t gotten easier. To and from school, market, Dr, now having to take one to middle school, the other elementary. Being protective of them and trying to get them both at same time different location is a nightmare.

  2. Eva says:

    I am a single mom and rent a room from friend. I have 2 kids no longer receiving assistance due to identity theft. I need help to fix this issue, I need help financially, I need help with transportation to take kids to school and doctor. I just need help bad enough I barely had enough for rent. I don’t even have money for that. Is there really help!

  3. Elizabeth Howell says:

    I am recently divorced and have two children I work full time and take care of my kids full time. My ex husband had my car and destroyed it before returning it now I have to walk to work and to grocery stores. I am wanting to go back to school to better my self for my kids. I don’t have very much family around where I live and I can’t afford a car due to my credit that my ex husband messed up. I have to walk my kids places and with the weather these days it’s been hard for them to walk. Please help me to be able to better my self for my children I have tried every thing this is my last chance on being able to do better for them thank you.

  4. Shadrea Fallon says:

    Hi grant guys I am 18 years old just graduated from high school going to college. I live with a single parent, my mom who also raises my two other younger siblings on her own. She works one job and she catches the bus she gets up 5am in morning catching the bus alone I worry about her every time she leaves the house. I live in Baltimore and it is not the safest place.

  5. Tamikia Ivory says:

    I need help thank god the winter has pass I am a single mom with two children one on disability. I need a vehicle to get me from point A to B. I’m in college right now taking it one day at a time.

  6. Claudia Barclay says:

    I live in Albany Oregon, I don’t have a car and I need one to get to my medical appointments. I am disabled and have never worked. My only income is spousal support and I barely get by. I am desperate… Do you know who can help me in my area?

  7. Shannon Rodriguez says:

    We are in need of a car my daughter is pregnant and its always hard to find rides to the doctor and I know once the baby is here its gonna be even be harder. She has got her permit but cant do the driving test cause no one will let her use a car for the test. I am on SSI so my income goes towards the bills and I never have anything left she worked at waffle house then they put her on night shifts and could get to work but couldn’t get home cause the bus stopped running on our street at 730pm. We could really use help for a car please.

  8. David Alexander says:

    Me and my wife are without a car. I am disable and have kidney failure. We have to make lots of trips to doctor. The nearest doc is 80 miles away. We live in the country and I don’t know what else to do.

  9. Debi Lesley says:

    This would be a car for my sister. She works a ways from home and needs a car to get back and forth to work. Right now she is using our roommate’s car but our roommate has things she has to do as well so sometimes there is a problem with the shared use of the car. I am on Social Security but my sister isn’t old enough yet to receive that. So she has to work and she is also disabled just like I am so a car would definitely help us both out. Please and thank you.

    • Kipp Shives says:

      Debi, I hope you guys find help with a car. Sharing one car can be tough especially with mobility and disability issues thrown into the mix. Send me an email and let me know what city you guys live in and I’ll search for car donation programs that are in your area. Good luck!

  10. Krystel Lambert says:

    Hello, I am a single mother of two with no transportation and no way to and from doctors appointments. I have lost two jobs because of no transportation due to the bus being constantly late if you can please help it would be a great help. My daughter also has a learning disability and it is very difficult to get her to all of her appointments. We live in Torrance, CA. Again, thank you for your time.

    • Kipp Shives says:

      Hi, Krystel. If nothing in the article could help you. Here’s an idea. Cars2Charities is a car donation program operating in Torrance. While they normally accept car donations, sell them off and donate the money to various charities, I’d contact them and see if they get a car that is too beat up to be of any use to them but that might provide temporary transportation for you and your kids. Call the number on their website and see if you could work something out with them. I’d advise anybody in your situation to find their closest car donation charity as they often receive cars that are almost not worth anything and often they don’t know what to do with them or end up smashing up decent cars.

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