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CREF seeks votes in competition for share of LKQ Community Foundation funds

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Announcements | Education
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The Collision Repair Education Foundation (CREF) is asking supporters in the collision repair industry for their votes as it competes for the biggest share of $400,000 from the LKQ Community Foundation.

CREF is one of 10 organizations that are competing in the inaugural 2021 LKQ Cares Holiday Vote. Among those competing are national and international charities that includes the American Cancer Society, Red Cross, UNICEF and the World Health Organization (WHO) Foundation.

“The Foundation is competing with some of the largest, best-known charities around the globe, so it’s basically a ‘David v. Goliath’ situation,” Brandon Eckenrode, managing director for the Foundation, said in a statement. “This is a great opportunity for the collision repair industry and any automotive enthusiast to be seen and heard by voting and helping generate awareness around who we are and what we do.”

Here’s how the competition works: Each of the 10 chosen organizations is already guaranteed a $10,000 donation. Based on votes received between now and 11:45 p.m. Central Standard Time on Dec. 12, another $400,000 will be divided up among the 10 organizations. Each vote for CREF generates more funds for the Foundation.

“In turn, those dollars will benefit the future of the industry through school grants, student scholarships and other endeavors,” CREF said in an announcement. The online voting URL allows one vote per person, per device.

To cast your vote, visit

“Supporting your industry is just a few keystrokes and mouse-clicks away,” CREF said. “Go online to vote for the Collision Repair Education Foundation and encourage others to do the same. Together we can raise ‘some noise and some funds’ that will benefit collision repair schools and students in 2022 through voting online by December 12th.”

The LKQ Community Foundation was established in 2020 to help develop “strong partnerships with our employees and the communities in which we operate.”

CREF, founded in 1991 as the “I-CAR Education Foundation,” is celebrating its 30t anniversary this year. It is a not-for-profit organization “dedicated to supporting collision repair educational programs, schools, and students to create qualified, entry-level employees and connect them with an array of career opportunities.”

For information on how to donate to programs supported by the Education Foundation, visit

Industry members interested in getting involved and supporting CREF’s efforts to assist secondary and college collision repair training programs should contact Eckenrode at 312-231-0258 or

More information

The Collision Repair Education Foundation website

The LKQ Community Foundation website

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Featured image: Students at Lewis-Clark State College show off the technician shirts they received through CREF. Working with industry partners, the organization has helped provide hundreds of thousands of uniforms to high school and undergraduate students. (CREF)

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