Paradise Survivors: A 6-Month Update

The California wildfires were devastating and affected the lives of thousands. It’s been six months since the fires started in Plumas National Forest and spread across 20,000 acres of land. Residents had to evacuate and were in a state of emergency. Besides all the emotional pain each resident had to go to they also lost their homes, more than 6,700 homes were burned and destroyed. This fire set the record for California’s most destructive fire. How are the survivors doing? It’s still a huge struggle.

Thousands of residents were displaced, homes burned down, and left with nothing. Many survivors remain in rentals until they figure out their next steps and options. Others are still in emergency housing and government trailers. Residents are waiting for insurance money, trying to rebuild, or looking for a new place to live. These things take lots of time, money and energy. There are also many residents living in homeless camps in the southern city limits of Santa Rosa.

The only option is to start over completely. Furniture, vehicles, precious memories are gone forever. Some homes can’t even be rebuilt because the damage is so bad. Living in a rental is not the same as home. Trying to buy a new home is expensive, paperwork and applications take time, and there is no guarantee they will get the home they want. Only a handful of residents have been able to rise from the ashes and start a new life moving forward.

There have been less than 100 building permits issued since the fires when thousands of buildings were burned down. They are struggling to find time, money, and workers to rebuild what was lost. More than 40% of the homes that burned were not insured either. Those who lived paycheck to paycheck had to move somewhere else that had cheap rent so they could get by. The average local-area rent price has gone up 30% since the fires making it less affordable to more people. Those who couldn’t find a new place or family to stay with ended up in temporary housing from FEMA. The biggest colony of survivors is in the Sonoma County Fairgrounds RV park where 100 new trailers were brought in and filled up completely. These trailers are part of the disaster recovery effort and provided 400 residents with housing up to 18 months.

There has been a resilient permit center opened separately for the fire survivors who are trying to rebuild their homes. Officials have lowered fees for this center with promises to issue building permits a week after application so survivors can start building a new life. In the fire-prone areas, it’s now required to have fire sprinklers installed.

It’s going to take time to rebuild what was lost and the mourning over the lives lost will forever continue. A majority of survivors are still fighting the battle and trying to figure out how to start over. If you can help in any way, please do. Survivors continue to need our support.

How Do Charitable Acts Help Your Taxes? Giving Matters to You, Too!

It feels good to give!

Taxes and giving: what do these two things have to do with one another? Well, indeed there are many ways taxes and giving relate to one another, especially when it comes down to the individual. There are many reasons people give to charitable organizations, and though it shouldn’t be the main reason, receiving tax incentives is a wonderful benefit for the individual taxpayer.

In 2016, 36.95 million tax returns claimed charitable contributions. What does this mean for those taxpayers? Well, it means that throughout the year, when folks have planned or spontaneous desires to give cash or non-cash items, they receive a receipt. The importance of that receipt is, as with anything with our taxes, to be able to provide proof of the gift and its value.

Breaking it down:

Noncash donations —

  • Donations up to $250 in value, all that’s needed is the receipt for the charitable donation deduction.
  • Contributions over $250 but no more than $500 requires a detailed, written acknowledgment from the organization; it must include: name and address, the date and location of contribution, description of the donation, and an estimate of the item’s value,
  • Donations over $500 but no more than $5,000 require the above information ($250-$500) as well as the records of how you acquired the noncash item, such as how much you paid for it.

Car donations —

Some steps need to be considered when donating a car because it depends on the vehicles selling price from the organization, or if it’s not sold, by the fair market value:

  • Step 1: Determine how much the car was sold for by the charity, but if it’s sold significantly below market value, you can use the fair market value.
  • Step 2: Determine the car’s fair market value, and it’s important to use a reputable used-car price guide so you can calculate if you need to use the fair market value.
  • Step 3: Claim the deduction on line 17 of Schedule A.
  • Step 4: additional forms that are needed include:

Form 8283 Section A for car donations $501 to $5,000

Form 8283 Section B for car donations over $5,000 and this section requires a written appraisal as documentation.

How do these cash and noncash donations help charitable organizations? Nonprofits have three primary funding sources: fees charged, government grants, and charitable giving. So, the giving, especially of unrestricted cash donations, is extraordinarily important, thus fulfilling for the giver.

How exactly do these deductions help you, the taxpayer? The IRS allows the deduction for taxpayers that are filing their return with an itemized deduction schedule, and a deduction lowers the amount of taxable income before taking into account your tax liability.

Some websites and organizations exist to help you responsibly learn about, make, and track your charitable donation deductions throughout the year:

Charity Navigator: A charity navigator that provides information to guide responsible giving with details on the Financial Health, Accountability, and Transparency of over 9,000 charities, as well as basic information on the other 1.8 million U.S. nonprofits. Charity Navigator is itself a 501 C 3.

Better Business Bureau Give.Org: An organization that evaluates charities based on governance and oversight, measuring effectiveness, finances, and solicitations and informational materials. This also helps to provide reports so donors can make informed decisions with the donations.

IRS and Charitable Contributions: The IRS has information surrounding utilizing charitable deductions, from the most basic to more detailed information.

When taking into account your decision to make charitable donations, don’t forget to check the boxes to make sure that your charitable donation deductions will be able to be utilized. Always do your research, and feel good knowing where your gifts are going and how they can also benefit you!

If you’d like to donate your car to help someone recover from the Paradise fire or another valued non-profit, reach out to cars2ndchance@gmail.com to donate a car that runs and clunkers4charity@gmail.com to donate a vehicle that does not. Check out their respective websites https://cars2ndchance.org/ and https://clunkers4chari.wpengine.com/. The organization has received 30 cars for the Paradise survivors, but they need more, as you can well imagine.

Why should you donate your Car?

What does hope look like? Sometimes hope looks just like a donated car: a candle in the dark.

There are so many reasons to donate a car to charity. From tax breaks to finding a way to get that junker finally out of your driveway, the list could never end. While this can absolutely serve as your driving force for making the call, it’s good to know WHY it matters to the folks on the receiving end. From programs that help single parents to get to the point of self-sufficiency to ones that continue to support the victims of the Paradise fire, it all matters.

YOU can make a huge difference in the lives of a family struggling to get by, or someone who lost their vehicle in the deadliest wildfire in over a century, not to mention the overarching organizations that devote their existence to making the world a better place. Every donated car contributes to bettering lives.

Imagine barely escaping with your life as a wildfire tore through your community. You and your family were able to load up your truck with all your pets, some of your favorite clothes, and a few prized possessions. You thought you’d be able to get back in later because this had to be just another close call like the ones that had come before. You left your husband’s and daughter’s cars behind because you wanted to keep the family together, just in case.

As you were driving away, you started to see how close the fire was coming to your neighborhood. The smoke was getting darker and closer. You were sure you could feel the heat as the fire was racing towards you.

You started worrying about your neighbors who weren’t yet leaving. You started worrying about the things you left behind. You asked your husband if you should go back for more. He told you to focus on the road ahead. “Things are just things.” He said.

You held onto the belief that the fire would miss your home and you’d be able to return. Once you made it to your friend’s house in the town far enough away, you started listening to the radio. You kept waiting to hear it was okay to go back. In fact, you’d heard that the winds had shifted, and your specific street had even been mentioned as being safe for now. “Whew.” You released a huge sigh of relief and drifted into a restless sleep.

Morning came, and at the first ray of sun, you sat up bolt right. You felt uneasy. You were exhausted. You quickly turned on the tv and kept it low as not to wake anyone else. Then you saw it. Your neighborhood. Barely distinguishable but for the surrounding area behind your home. The winds had shifted. No words would come, but tears streamed freely down your cheeks. Everything. Everything was gone. Only gratitude for the entire family getting out alive was left.

To help with anonymity, this is a fictionalized story, based on what actual survivors shared about their experiences. So many stories similar to this one came from the Paradise fire. So many losses that included innumerable vehicles.

How will families all get around now with only one car to share if any? Many are now living out of the area, but they still have to commute to work. If you donate a car to the cause, one more family will be positively impacted by your generosity in a way that hopefully, you will never have to comprehend fully. Stories like this one are the number one reason to donate a car to charity.

While some donated cars are great for restoration with the capacity to pass along to a person who could greatly benefit from having a working vehicle, other vehicles need to be sold for parts, and that’s how those donated vehicles can help many different charities too. When you make the decision to donate your car to charity, it can have a significant impact! Never diminish the effect of what donating your vehicle can give to another human being. It’s not even the most obvious or tangible. What you are offering is hope.

If you’d like to donate your car to help someone recover from the Paradise fire or another valued non-profit, reach out to cars2ndchance@gmail.com to donate a car that runs and clunkers4charity@gmail.com to donate a vehicle that does not. Check out their respective websites https://cars2ndchance.org/ and https://clunkers4chari.wpengine.com/. The organization has received 30 cars for the Paradise survivors, but they need more, as you can well imagine.

Automotive Service Council’s Educational Foundation – New 50/50 Partner

Clunkers4Charity, a vehicle donation program operated through the Concord / Clayton Valley Sunrise Rotary chapter is pleased to welcome the Automotive Service Council’s Educational Foundation (ASCEF) as a new 50/50 Partner. Every time a vehicle is donated and ASCEF is selected on our donation form, 50% of the proceeds will go to this local Bay Area non-profit.

The Automotive Service Council’s Educational Foundation is an organization that provides educational and training opportunities, scholarships and endowments in the field of automotive repair and maintenance.

Through the incredible generosity of our donors, ASCEF has been changing the lives of hundreds of students wanting to pursue a career in the automotive field. The funds raised provide scholarships and support sustainable training programs throughout California.

Visit their website to learn more.

Oakland RiteCare Childhood Language Center – New 50/50 Partner

Clunkers4Charity, a vehicle donation program operated through the Concord / Clayton Valley Sunrise Rotary chapter is pleased to welcome the Oakland RiteCare Childhood Language Center as a new 50/50 Partner. Every time a vehicle is donated and Oakland RiteCare Childhood Language Center is selected on our donation form, 50% of the proceeds will go to this local Bay Area non-profit.

The Oakland RiteCare Childhood Language Center is a non-profit language and learning center that provides both neuroplasticity-based reading interventions and traditional speech and language therapy.

Their educational and speech-language therapists have provided free services to preschool through high school aged children and adolescents since 1984.

The Center is a philanthropy of the Scottish Rite, a concordant body of the Freemasons, one of 170 Rite Care Centers across the U.S. We are located at Lake Merritt near downtown Oakland.

Visit their website to learn more.

New 50/50 Partner – Rossmoor Rotary Foundation

Our newest 50/50 partner is the Rossmoor Rotary Foundation. The Rossmoor Rotary Foundation, a publicly supported organization, was founded in 1984 by the Rotary Club of Rossmoor, and operates exclusively for charitable purposes.

Most of the Rossmoor Rotary Foundation’s service projects are done in partnership with other community organizations. For International projects they frequently receive matching funds from Rotary International thereby greatly enhancing the impact of contributions.

Projects and Grants worth over $70,000 were funded during 2015-16. For a complete list of organizations and projects supported, visit their Services Projects page.

The Rossmoor Rotary Club meets for lunch every Wednesday at Noon at:

Rossmoor Hillside Clubhouse
3400 Lower Golden Rain Rd.
Walnut Creek CA 94595

No Host Refreshments at 11:30 a.m.
• Lunch at Noon •
Program Ends at 1:30 p.m.

Meetings include guest speakers and a lot of interpersonal fun and jousting among its members.

Membership in the Rossmoor Rotary Club is by invitation. If you are interested in learning more, please ask a current member, or visit the Joining Our Club page.

Riding A Successful 2016 | Donate That Car

Tax Write Off & Giving Tuesday Spirit Through December

2016 has been a banner year for local and international giving through Clunkers4Charity. We have been immensely proud to serve the Concord, San Ramon, Clayton, Lamorinda and entire Bay Area and beyond (!) for 18 years. Clunkers4Charity and Giving Tuesday and Clunkers4Charity Concord CAConcord/Clayton Sunrise Rotary Club have been providing valuable tax credits when vehicles are donated, running or not. A quick click to our Donation page or phone call to 925-326-5868 before 12/31/16 can yield big benefits — perhaps even pay for the Black Friday and Cyber Monday shopping you and I did!

Our service includes additional benefits including the option of selecting one of many community non-profit organizations that receive 50% of all sale or sale-for-parts. See the list of non-profits supported.

Have a question? Our FAQ may have the answer. If not, please give us a call — we would be happy to help.

We’re often asked, why Clunkers4Charity and not another worthwhile organization that accepts vehicle donations?

First, check with the organization to determine how much every dollar goes to overhead. Clunkers4Charity overhead is very small — also Clunkers4Charity Concord has been extremely successful and is a large, well-supported program started by D&H Enterprises, Concord for the Sunrise Clayton Valley / Concord Rotary Club. The spirit of Giving Tuesday continues on into December — your support makes a difference in your community and in the world!

Donation to the First Presbyterian Church of Concord

One of our 50/50 Community Partners, The First Presbyterian Church of Concord (FPCC) received a check for $596, thanks to a car donation by one of their members.

Clayton Worsdell, the President of the Rotary Club of Clayton Valley/Concord Sunrise, and a member of FPCC, presented the check to Pastor Toby Nelson, along with Financial Committee Chair David Stearns, and Mario from D&H Enterprises, the Concord auto repair shop that founded and supports Clunkers4Charity.

Donation to Concord Church

 

One of the Bay Area charitable organizations that FPCC helps provide support is the Bay Area Rescue Mission. They provide many services, like providing a hot meal for the homeless and poor, providing drug and alcohol rehabilitation for men, and transitional housing for families and women with children. They reach out to their community in a variety of ways and have recently developed an extensive ministry with children who live in the area.

Read more about the First Presbyterian Church of Concord (FPCC) on our blog. >

 

Our partner: First Presbyterian Church of Concord

children-rebecca1We are proud to be partners with the First Presbyterian Church of Concord, who has given so much to our community and continues to look for new ways and new means to help our community and beyond.  The First Presbyterian Church Concord is located in downtown Concord near Todos Santos Plaza.

FPCC was the first Protestant church in Concord, founded on October 14, 1882. The years have seen many changes to both Concord and FPCC. During this time FPCC has met in 5 different buildings, and while other churches have moved further out and new churches have been founded in the community, FPCC has remained one of the few downtown churches in Concord.

FPCC helps provide support to the following organizations in order to reach out to our community:

> Young Life – An international Christian youth organization whose primary focus is to reach out to young people who are not part of a local church. Young Life in the Diablo Valley has Young Life Clubs at several high schools and middle schools, but our primary focus is in Concord.

> Contra Costa Interfaith Council – The Interfaith Council provides Chaplains at the various youth detention facilities in Contra Costa County. We contribute towards this valuable service.

> Iglesia Presbiteriana Hispana in Oakland / Premere Iglesia Concord Ministry – This small, but growing Spanish-speaking congregation in Oakland is reaching out to it’s neighbors. We are pleased with the opportunity to share with them.

> Bay Area Rescue Mission – This rescue mission has been in operation for many years in the Richmond area and now their outreach encompasses much of the Bay Area under the leadership of Directors John and Debra Anderson. They provide many services, like providing a hot meal for the homeless and poor, providing drug and alcohol rehabilitation for men, and transitional housing for families and women with children. They reach out to their community in a variety of ways and have recently developed an extensive ministry with children who live in the area.

There are many other missions FPCC is involved, as you can read here. Their continuous work of doing charity without expecting anything in return is what makes us so proud to be their partner. Join us!

Our New Partner: Oakland Museum Women’s Board

oakland museum womens board and White Elephant SaleThe Oakland Museum Women’s Board is a California non-profit public benefit corporation whose sole purpose is to provide services and funds to the Oakland Museum of California (OMCA). Founded in 1955, The Women’s Board has been providing funds and services to OMCA for over 50 years.  With the annual White Elephant Sale as our only fundraising activity, they have contributed more than $20 million in support of OMCA educational programs, acquisitions to the permanent galleries, exhibitions, facilities, capital improvements, and more.

The legendary annual White Elephant Sale returns to the San Francisco Bay Area is organized and presented by the Oakland Museum Women’s Board every year and all Sale proceeds benefit the Oakland Museum of California.

Made possible by donations from the public, the White Elephant accepts donations almost year round. Thanks to generous donors, over the years, shoppers have been able to purchase the usual and the unusual, including a pony, paintings, pianos, cars, and estate furnishings.

In 2016 The Women’s Board of the Oakland Museum announced another outstanding sale result: $2.13 million will benefit OMCA.

But that’s not all: In 2014, the Women’s Board contracted with three prominent Bay Area artists – Vogue, Ernest Doty and Griffin One – to paint a 7,200 square foot aerosol mural on the Derby Avenue side of its warehouse. Demonstrating pride in Oakland and its Jingletown neighborhood, the mural shows nature blending into the urban landscape and includes a White Elephant with its trunk raised high.

Nearly 30,000 school children and teachers annually visit the Museum. Their financial funding has helped enhance their OMCA experience through a wide range of engaging and interdisciplinary education programs. Recent grants from the Women’s Board have also contributed to improved museum-wide technology, conservation projects and the recent marketing campaign. The OCMCA has backed such impressive exhibits as Pixar, 25 Years of Animation, Summoning Ghosts: The Art and Life of Hung Liu, and the annual community celebration honoring the Days of the Dead tradition.

Clunkers4Charity is proud to have the Oakland Museum Women’s Board as a partner and help this great cause! You can also help them by donating your car to Clunkers4Charity!