People typically tend to go to automotive events for the vehicles, and for good cause, as that essentially is the point of going to an car show. But what we tend to forget is that these events are also organized for a cause, and not just because automotive enthusiasts need an excuse to congregate. Countryside cruises, automotive auctions, delicious dinners, and celebrity exclusives all play a part when giving back to those in need. It’s one of those situations where everyone wins, as petrolheads get to indulge in their passion for all things automotive and those who are in need are able to benefit from this petrol-powered passion.
In 2013, Barrett-Jackson donated more than $4.4 million to local and national charities thanks to the people who came their auctions to bid on collector cars. But it isn’t just giant car shows that give back either, as local and regional charity events like Scoobies for Boobies donate thousands of dollars every year to help in the research and prevention of breast cancer.
But it isn’t just about saving lives, it is also about saving the planet for our children, as companies like Subaru offer to help the National Park Service find ways to turn their facilities into zero-landfill operations like their manufacturing plant in Indiana. Back on the west coast, the Peterson Museum in L.A. continues to give back to the local community via education and training for the underprivileged.
Then there are the big boys, the premier automotive charity generators, who are spread out across a multitude of regions because they like to offer something for everyone. We’re talking about operations that span the globe from Italy to California, with shows everywhere in between. While every show may have different attendees, and the charitable causes themselves may vary by locale, all of these events carry with them a prestigious title that few can touch: Concourse d’Elegance.
Every Concourse event has a different charitable foundation that it supports. The Cincinnati-based show helps children who have arthritis, and every year the weekend kicks-off with a fundraiser dinner entitled “Cruisin’ for a Cure.” This year’s Ault Park Concourse d’Elegance in Cincinnati set a new attendance record for the event, and over the course of the weekend proceeds from silent auctions and ticket sales garnered healthy sums for all the kids who are stricken with this malady.
But there are also the people who like to go out and do things on their own, vigilante-style. By now most of us are familiar with everyday superheroes like Lenny B. Robinson, who regularly dresses-up in a $5,000 custom Batman suit and drives to hospitals in Maryland in a Lamborghini Gallardo to visit with sick kids. Back in 2012, ABC News did a report on the eccentric father of three, who says he only wants to use his money (and blacked-out Italian supercar) to help children feel empowered and take their minds off their ailments, if just for a little while.
According to Eric and Amity Peterson of Portland, Oregon, heading to the hospital isn’t always the best way to give back, and sometimes bringing the kids to the garage is the better plan. After making a fortune off their technology consulting firm a few years back, this affluent couple chose to take the high road and start a program that gave terminally ill kids a chance to ride in one of their ten exotic supercars. The program, which is called Dream Drives for Kids, allows one kid a week to come to the Peterson’s personal garage and choose a car of their choice for a spirited jaunt on the open roads. As parents themselves, the Petersons say they just want to offer a once in a lifetime experience to unwell children and put smiles on as many faces as possible.
So how can the average auto enthusiast give back if they don’t own a $500,000 supercar for driving kids around in? We recommend starting with finding a cause that strikes the strongest chord, for there are hundreds of charitable options, and we are not being limited to just one. Once there is a cause that looks like it would be a good fit, see if your car is something that would be appropriate for such an occasion, because you don’t want to show up at a Volkswagen cruise for cancer in a Hyundai. After you find the perfect event be sure to pick a set amount of donation/auction money you are willing to contribute, and then get out there have some fun! Car meets and cruises are supposed to be enjoyable, which is all the more reason to give back and help those who need it most.