A car is more than 2,000 pounds and a way to get from point A to point B. A reliable vehicle gives individuals and families the ability to keep their jobs, make appointments, and access childcare. It’s the key that unlocks the door to financial stability.
A CAR IS FREEDOM
Driving Lives Forward connects economically-disadvantaged families with reliable vehicles and affordable auto loan financing, providing not only safe transportation, but, importantly, a way to establish sustaining employment and create or improve credit history – critical for access to affordable capital. This unique partnership relies on an equity framework to support families and individuals in the removal of transportation barriers as they seek progress on the road to economic resiliency.
With your help, we can assist 20 local families in purchasing reliable vehicles at fair and honest interest rates. Each dollar you contribute helps one of these 20 families finance a vehicle of their own and gets them closer to owning a car that will help them get to work, get to school, and get to a financially sustainable future.
“While working with UWGC for years on the self-sufficiency initiative, it was clear that lack of reliable and affordable transportation was a roadblock for many families in our community. As an auto dealer and a community partner, I felt strongly that we needed to be a part of the solution. Our non-profits had ways to help these families with childcare, job skills, housing and other steps towards self-sufficiency but we didn’t have a solution to the transportation challenge. Through many brainstorming sessions, Driving Lives Forward was created.”
“Reliable transportation is often a massive barrier to work for economically-disadvantaged individuals and families and can therefore hinder them from accruing wealth. We’re excited to partner with CMA to offer a critical intervention for community members and continue to find sustainable ways to help them and their families scale financially.”
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
What specifically does DLF do?
DLF connects economically-disadvantaged individuals and families with reliable vehicles and affordable auto loan financing, providing not only safe transportation, but a means for building credit. UWGC serves as the program administrator and loan-maker. Loan approvals go to our partner Virginia National Bank, which donates its loan administration process. Our partner, Carter Myers Automotive, sources affordable, safe and reliable used vehicles that meet each family’s specific needs. Families also receive insurance referrals with agents who have agreed to work with the program. This unique partnership relies on an equity framework to support families and individuals in the removal of transportation barriers as they seek progress on the road to economic resiliency.
Where do the cars come from?
Our partner, Carter Myers Automotive (CMA), helps our clients to find safe and reliable used vehicles that meet each family’s specific needs and budget and are expected to last for at least 5 years. CMA examines the car and performs any needed maintenance, and the family test-drives the car. The average price for vehicles in DLF is $12,000.
So, I'm basically buying someone a car?
Not exactly. This program is innovative in that it helps economically-disadvantaged individuals and families find cars that they can afford. You’re helping a family access fair rates on vehicle loans so they can buy the car themselves. United Way works with each family to determine the down payment and monthly car loan and insurance payments that are affordable for their family. Your dollars help build the fund that provides the vehicle loan dollars.
The United Way approves the loans so that our clients can receive fair and honest interest rates (market rate currently around 5.2%), instead of being forced to sign loans that can exceed 200% interest.
As lienholder, UWGC receives loan payments from the participating families via ACH, and the funds go back into the DLF account to continue to provide loans for other families. The small interest received by UWGC also increases the fund balance.
What are the eligibility requirements?
To participate in the program, a family must be actively working towards financial stability with an ENVISION organization/program and referred/recommended to Driving Lives Forward (DLF). Once approved for DLF, the United Way of Greater Charlottesville (UWGC) works with the family to determine an affordable monthly payment for the loan and the required auto insurance.