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Celebrate the holidays by supporting industry in education, veteran & disaster relief efforts

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Associations | Education
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As the year wraps up and the holidays are upon us, three organizations want to remind the collision repair industry that this is the best time of year to donate money to help fund education programs and aid efforts in 2024.

Not only will the funds given now provide a head start for next year, but it’s also the last couple of weeks to spend any leftover bottom-line cash on tax-deductible donations for 2023.

The Collision Industry Foundation (CIF) is a 501(c) nonprofit that provides emergency relief to collision repairers and shops faced with catastrophic loss, such as from natural disasters, including replacement tools and necessities.

Recent assistance was given to those impacted by recent floods and the devastating fires in Hawaii’s Maui and Lahaina.

“In order to ‘Answer the Call’ for collision industry professionals in need, we rely on contributions and donations from corporations and individuals as the driving force to allow us to assist,” CIF said.

Hundreds of individuals struck with catastrophic loss have been aided by CIF over the past 20 years. To donate, text “CIF” to 734-366-4990.

To become an annual donor, click here. No amount is too small to donate, CIF said. To request aid, visit CIF’s website, here.

The Annual Donor program has five tiers for corporations or individuals to participate, including first responder ($10,000 or more), urgent care ($5,000 to less than $10,000), immediate care ($1,000 to less than $5,000), primary care ($500 to less than $1,000), and first aid (minimum of $50 to less than $500).

Two main fundraising programs are currently offered — the Annual Donor Program, introduced in 2021 for annualized giving, and the CIF Annual Charity Event (formerly known as the gala fundraiser).

The charity event will coincide with the Collision Industry Conference (CIC) January meeting in Palm Springs, on the evening prior. The 13th annual “Cocktails for a Cause” will be held from 6:30-9:30 p.m. on Jan. 16 in the Cascade Lounge of the Agua Caliente Casino. Attire is casual. Those interested in attending can register here.

The event will include a live auction and drawing for prizes, food and beverages, and industry networking. Auction items and drawing prizes will be posted on CIF’s Facebook and LinkedIn pages.

The Collision Repair Education Foundation’s (CREF) year-end fundraising campaign is also ongoing to contribute to its “12 Days of CREF-mas.”

The goal is to raise $20,000, with a match from BASF. CREF hopes to reach individual donors to support the industry with a donation of $25-$50.

Money raised will go into three distribution categories — all to create more qualified, entry-level-ready employees to eliminate the technician shortage. Those include student scholarships to help retain collision repair program participants by offsetting education costs; school grants to help improve facilities and educational programs, and workforce development to fund career fairs for students.

CREF’s goals are to encourage industry growth, strengthen industry connections, and impact communities.

Earlier this year, with the help of CREF, Audi and Volkswagen donated 78 model year 2022 vehicles to collision repair programs located in Texas, Maryland, Michigan, New Jersey, Tennessee, and Virginia to give students the chance to work on brand-new vehicles equipped with technology they may have never had the opportunity to learn about firsthand.

The vehicles were damaged during shipping, and though intact and functioning, weren’t fit to be sold, but the automakers saw the educational opportunity in donating them to repair programs. The vehicles range from large SUVs like the Audi Q7 to smaller cars like the Audi A3, including both internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles and electric vehicles (EVs), such as the Volkswagen ID.4 and Audi e-tron.

In November, CREF celebrated the donations with students, administrators, collision repair industry professionals, and the community at an event held at JB Hensler College and Career Academy in Texas. JB Hensler received 10 Audi vehicles, some of which were on display so students and others could see the technology newly available to the program.

“CREF acts as a bridge between the industry and educational institutions,” said Kate Piazza, CREF donor development coordinator. “Donations help strengthen this connection, ensuring that the educational support programs are aligned with the current and future needs of the industry. Your contribution, though seemingly small, adds to the collective effort to improve the quality of education in collision repair. This has a ripple effect, benefiting not just individual students but the broader community by ensuring skilled technicians are available to meet local needs.”

Coming up in February, the National Auto Body Council (NABC) will hold its Inaugural NABC Gala Presented by Caliber, themed “Ignite the Night,” for which registration is now open.

NABC began in the 1990s with a focus on advancing the image of the industry and promoting the repair community within it. The organization recently gained national attention for its Recycled Rides program when former Patriots player Rob Gronkowski took part in a Recycled Ride event, presenting two veterans with a vehicle ahead of the Army-Navy college football game played at Gillette Stadium.

Before the donation, the father of six was riding a bike 16 miles roundtrip to and from work. The story was covered by People Magazine and USA Today.

The gala will be held Feb. 29 following a fireworks show on Feb. 28 at Hyatt Regency Grand Cypress Resort in Orlando, Florida.

The collective accomplishments of NABC members will be celebrated and the President’s Award recipient will be honored.

Funds will also be raised to continue serving veterans, military members, families in need, and first responders in communities across the country.

An opening-night fireworks show will be held followed by the gala reception the next evening, featuring a live performance by Jamestown Revival.

“Caliber is extremely proud to roll up our sleeves and join our longstanding partner, NABC, and the collaborative work that aligns with our purpose of ‘Restoring the Rhythm of Your Life’ for military families, first responders, and others in need,” said Shirin Hezar, Caliber strategic accounts director and current NABC board member. “We’re honored to serve as the presenting sponsor for the inaugural NABC Gala to bring awareness to and raise donations to support this great organization and their positive impact on communities nationwide.”

The event schedule is as follows:

Feb. 28 at 7 p.m.:

Welcome reception

Cocktails, appetizers, and fireworks show

Feb. 29:

NABC Recycled Rides presentation at 2 p.m.

Cocktail reception at 5:30 p.m.

Gala at 7 p.m.

Jamestown Revival at 8:15 p.m.

Guests will have an opportunity to enjoy a fun-filled trip to sunny Orlando for golf, poolside events, and family activities, along with networking, camaraderie, and, most importantly, supporting a great cause, NABC said.

“We are excited to host the Inaugural NABC Gala Presented by Caliber for our members and our industry and look forward to seeing everyone in Orlando for what will be a spectacular event,” said Scott Sampley, NABC chairman. “We have tremendous opportunities with our NABC members to serve even more people across the country, from families, veterans, and military members in need to our first responders rescuing accident victims. Our inaugural NABC Gala will not only celebrate our accomplishments together serving these audiences, it will fuel our expanded services for these communities. Together we are changing and saving lives every day.”

Full agenda details, guest activities, and registration information are available here. Sponsorship opportunities are available here.


Featured image: Previous year photo from “Cocktails for a Cause” provided by CIF.

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