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Donate your car to Kidney Kars before December 31st for a great 2014 tax deduction!

    December 15th, 2014

Santa car

Give yourself a tax deduction this Christmas for donating your car to the National Kidney Foundation of Utah & Idaho’s Kidney Kars program. Donating to www.towKars.org before December 31st will get you a great 2014 tax deduction; towing is always free and donations benefit over 3,000 Utah & Idaho dialysis and kidney transplant patients, fund local medical research and free kidney screenings.

www.towKars.org or call (801) 226-5111 9-5/M-F

Kidney Kars does 20 videos for “charity car donations” for e-How

    December 4th, 2014

ehowRemember in 2009, when e-How asked us to do around 20 videos for charity car donation programs and explain the tax benefits and how to donate?  http://www.ehow.com/video_4951528_donate-car-kidney-foundation.html

A  local Utah videographer called us one morning and asked if the National Kidney Foundation of Utah & Idaho’s Kidney Kars program would do about 20 of the selected “Charity Car Donation” topics he’d pulled off the wire. He allowed us to do two that were specific to the Kidney Kars (Utah and Idaho www.towkars.org) and also for the National Kidney Cars program.

It’s 2014 and we are still going strong.  Utah and Idaho has been very generous to Kidney Kars and we continue to receive about 5,000 Kidney Kars donations a year.  If you want to make your car a Kidney Kar, a car that saves lives call us at (801) 226-5111 or go online www.towkars.org  Towing is always free, and Kidney Kars donations make great tax deductions!

 

‘Tis the Season to make your car a Kidney Kar at www.towKars.org

    December 4th, 2014

iStock_000002914180Small

It really is December. It’s that time of year again.  If you’re smart, instead of spending a ton of money this month consider saving a lot of money this month on you taxes by donating your car to the Kidney Kars program (National Kidney Foundation of Utah & Idaho).
When you donate locally in Utah & Idaho you get a better tax deduction, free towing and the donation stays in our state to benefit local kidney dialysis and transplant patients.

So keep your Kidney Kars donation local and donate online at www.towkars.org or call us at 1-800-tow-Kars.

Kirton McConkie Celebrates 50 years and Kidney Kars Donation!

    October 30th, 2014

Kirton Mcconkie Celebrates 50th AnniversaryLast Night we were invited to Kirton McConkie’s 50th Birthday/Anniversary.  Since 1991 the National Kidney Foundation of Utah & Idaho and the Kidney Kars program has been on the receiving end of many of KMC Law’s charitable donations, use of their facilities for board meetings, and pro-bono (tax, trademark/copywright, contract writing work).  They’ve even sent a litigator to small claims to help us address an abuse of process claim brought to the foundation by a local towing company in 2004.   Kirton McConkie’s past President, the late Graham Dodd, Esq. was also the president of the NKF of U & I’s Board of  Directors for the 3 years prior to his untimely passing.  I personally loved Graham for his orange and green checkered wool golf knickers and the title ESQ. which he wore without the slightest irony, because that gentleman was the real deal.  We were very lucky to have his guidance and presence for so many years as we were becoming established as one of Utahs most recognizable non-profit organizations.

So yesterday, I arrived at the 4th floor of the Kirton McConkie building ready to mix and mingle. The name tags were laid out on the welcome table and featured a hit list of Utah’s most powerful, smartest, most philanthropic people.  I was very lucky to get Pamela Atkinson all to myself for a minute.  She’s clearly one of Utah’s foremost philanthropists and the woman for whom several Utah clinics for the less fortunate are rightfully named in her honor.   When I introduced myself, and she looked at my name tag she said “Oh yes, I know you ‘ www.towKars.org ‘Kidney Kars’ with a K like kidney. You’re quite well known.”  As Director of the Kidney Kars donation program since 1991, as a marketer and a human– I was really, truly flattered.  Whilst Ms. Atkinson administered the Intermountain Health Care Foundation grants, the Kidney Foundation of Utah & Idaho was fortunate enough to receive several grants.  Those substantive funding helped us fund Youth Transplant Kamp, our Kidney Patient Financial Aid services,  start what is now known as KARE (Kidney Assessment Renal Evaluation) which are free community kidney screenings for Utahns at highest risk of kidney failure.

I was able to visit our board members Jason Beutler (the fine young litigator fresh out of UC Berkeley Law school sent by KMC Law to save us in a ridiculous small claims proceedings) and who is now a trusted NKF U & I board member and friend; as well as Doug  Wright (KSL Newradio) also a board member and friend.  The view from the KMC Law firm building is beautiful, the catering was magnificent, and the signature Kirton McConkie mocktail ‘cosmo’ and celebratory cookies  were yummy.  But most of all, I was overwhelmed with gratitude for the association and support of such an upstanding firm and to be surrounded by men of integrity and charity.  We are very grateful Kirton McConkie Law is celebrating 50 years in Utah!  They are truly some Utah’s finest .

Wonder who is winning the National Kidney Foundation of Utah & Idaho Kidney Kars donation battle?

    October 22nd, 2014
Coaches Billboard

Coaches Billboard

I put a Kyle Whittingham, University of Utah Kidney Kars Donation Ad up the day before their homecoming and got 106 Facebook ‘likes.’ They won their game and continue in their winning streak. However, someone wrote “You Suck” in the comments. We got 17 Kidney Kars car donations from Utah within 3 days of the posting. Then we put up a Bronco Mendenhall ad 2 days before BYU’s homecoming game. Bronco, got 117 Facebook ‘likes.’ and someone wrote “Love and Respect” Bronco!’ in the comments. BYU lost their game (continuing their losing streak). We only received 9 donations after we ran that ad. So to conclude: People donate more Kidney Kars to the winning U of U coach, but there is more loyalty and respect for BYU. No matter, win or lose Kidney Kars still provides free towing, and a tax deduction to Utah & Idaho car donations! If you want to donate your old car for a tax deduction, call us M-F/9-5 at (801) 226-5111 or visit www.towKars.org
Utah Men or Cougars welcome! Either will get you a great tax deduction, free towing, and will help over 3,000 Utah & Idaho Kidney Dialysis and Transplant patients with services that save lives and lighten the burden for those in need. Make your car donation a Kidney Kar! www.towKars.org!

A new start for Utah & Idaho Kidney Kars Donations (and Tax Deductions!)

    September 26th, 2014

a fresh start

 

On July 25, important bipartisan legislation was introduced by two

dozen members of the House Ways & Means Committee, which
oversees the federal tax code and the rules governing charitable
giving. The new bill would fix a problem — created inadvertently
by an otherwise commendable package of 2004 reforms — that
has caused a sharp decline in vehicle donations.
The current issue is one of transparency, or lack thereof. For a donated vehicle
worth more than $500, there is no way for a prospective donor to know the tax
consequences of the gift in advance. Every other method of vehicle disposal
has some certainty upfront, which has discouraged donation as a viable option.
According to the Internal Revenue Service, vehicle donations nationally have
dropped by 80% since the 2004 changes.  H.R. 4960, also known as the Charitable Automobile Red-Tape Simplification
(CARS) Act, would restore the timing of vehicle valuation to the beginning of the donation process, ensuring the donor can make an informed decision. This change would help charities across the country improve the volume and value
of items received through their vehicle donation program. The CARS Act would still allow a deduction for the fair market value of vehicles worth up to $500 and certified appraisal over the $5,000 threshold. Between those amounts, the valuation would be determined by an authorized online service (such as Kelley Blue Book), with the charity verifying through
an inspection of the vehicle’s physical condition. That would yield certainty for the donor while preserving the important tracking and enforcement objectives of the 2004 reforms. As of September 1, the coalition working to push this bill through Congress had secured 135 cosponsors, including 28 bipartisan members of the congressional tax committee. In the meantime, you can visit www.restorecardonations.org for more information. You can also join the many other charities working together with our informal coalition to enact this legislation by emailing us at info@restorecardonations.org.

Kidney Foundation Utah Donates Scholarship to Kidney Transplant Patient

    September 25th, 2014

To whom it may concern,

Thank you so very much for once again accepting my request for a scholarship. You guys are truly amazing! I am so grateful for all that you have done. I am in my third semester here at SLCC, I am almost finished with my pre-requisites to get in to nursing school. I will be able to apply next fall. I hope I have exceeded expectations you had for me. I can honestly and proudly say that I have exceeded my own expectations I had for myself in college.

Once again, I thank you so very much. Because of all my kidney problems and my transplant, the National Kidney Foundation will always have a special place in my heart for all that you do.

Thank you,
Spencer J.

Danny Thompson 64, son of Mickey and Judy Thompson attempts 500 MPH in Utah

    August 8th, 2014

http://www.ksl.com/?sid=31046326&nid=148&fm=latest_videos

I grew up around car people.  My Dad ran hod rods through the orange groves of Riverside California with buddies, the likes of NASCAR’s Dan Gurney and preceded by the legend of Mickey Thompson out near Laguna Beach.  I grew up surrounded by all those old timey southern California car guys.  They told high school stories of souped up jalopies, drag races, submarine races, Levi’s and duck tails.  The smell of Ethanol and Nitro bring literal and figurative tears to my eyes remembering my own youthful days spent at road races, the Baja 500/1000 and the speedways.  When my Dad passed away in 2006 we had to Danny Thompson nitrclean out the house.  We had an 1800 Sq. Ft. 6 car garage and 3 sheds.  They were filled with transmissions, engines, engine stands, heavy duty floor jacks, parts and parts and parts, tools  that had first belonged to his father, and later to him.  

I knew the ‘estate’ sale we were to hold would bring a special crowd of friends and acquaintances coming to solemnly relieve us of things they had coveted — his “baby grand’ a mini race car with a Hayabusa engine, the road racers (class 4), Baja Bugs (class 5), his the 4 wheelers we’d ridden from San Felipe to Mulege in Baja and hand welded dune buggies I’d ridden in since I was 3.  This on top of all his cars (Mercedez 350 D, Datsun mini truck, Toyota T100, Ford Ranchero, Porche 911, and two VW Siroccos).

Of course I donated most of the older cars to the National Kidney Foundation’s Kidney Cars program for a tax deduction (www.kidneycars.org or www.towKars.org in Utah & Idaho). The towing was free, and we got tax deductions on the donations.  But the rest, we sold.

Coming up on this time of year in Utah makes me think of him.  We used to take trips outside of Salt Lake City, Utah with his buds for “speed week”  to watch the spectacle races races on the Utah Salt Flats (Bonneville).  This week the son of Micky Thompson (who broke 400 mph in 1960) will attempt a record breaking 436 MPH+.  Word is, his Dad never wanted him racing –worried he’d die in a crash.

Judy kissing Micky Thompson

All I can say is, I know what it’s like to have a Dad whose memory leaves you a  legacy you’re willing to lose your life chasing after just to feel close to them.  Good luck Danny!  I hope the Utah Salt Flats dry out soon.  Let us know if you need Kidney Cars car donation of Utah and Idaho to come out and tow away any junkers left behind!  But I know better than anyone — old race cars never die they just go round and round.  – Luz Lewis

Danny and Micky Thompson

Kalee (a former Salt Lake City pediatric kidney transplant recipient) pays it forward by donating her first “Kidney Kar”

    June 30th, 2014

Kalee's car

Make your car a Kidney Kar a car that saves lives!

Seems like just yesterday Kalee was a curious, active, bright eyed toddler with little tubes peeking out from underneath her shirt while playing with my daughter at Kidney Kamp. Kalee got a kidney transplant when she was 10. She’s now a bright young High School graduate ready to start her studies in Occupational Therapy. Kalee’s mom called Friday to donate Kalee’s ‘first car’ (1997 Toyota Camry). Thank you for paying it forward ladies! Kalee, we’ve got a Kidney Patient Educational Scholarship with your name on it!

A brief history of the Kidney Kars donation program, 1-800-Tow-Kars and www.towkars.org

    June 25th, 2014

kidney kars vw

Just for fun today, I counted up the number of car donations and the amount of money that I personally have helped the National Kidney Foundation of Utah & Idaho raise through the Kidney Kars donation program ( www.towkars.org) . I started the Kidney Kars program the first year I came to the NKF of U & I and the same year I graduated college in 1991. It was one of the first 5 charity car donation programs in the entire country.  I asked my best friend, Simeen Brown, an illustration art major (at the time) to create the artwork for the ads.  She helped me come up with the 1-800-tow-Kars phone number. I started by putting a free ads and flyers in the Provo, American Fork, Bountiful, Farmington, Ogden and Salt Lake City Utility Bills and city newsletters. Later Zion’s, First Interstate Bank, and Wells Fargo agreed to put our Kidney Cars flyers into customer statements. These efforts reached over 1,000,000 Utahns and pretty soon the phones were ringing off the hook.  Previous to the Kidney Kars car donation program YOU had to pay someone to come take your old car away. So, in two states like Utah and Idaho, famously frugal, financially literate, fiscally conservatives– the idea of free towing coupled with the tax deduction went over like wildfire.

So there I was, a young  fresh faced girl, just 23 year old and barely out of college hoping to change the world by towing away junk cars.  I drove my 1981 silver VW Diesel  Rabbit  to visit and contract with every wrecking yard in every corner of Utah and Idaho.  I put over 20,000 miles on the rabbit that year, and then donated the next year to Kidney Kars with about 285,000 miles on it. (I replaced the rabbit with a 1990 VW Golf GTI).  In an industry (towing, wrecking yards, scrap metal) where integrity, charity, and ‘environmentally friendly’ were laughable ideas, I  somehow talked them into PAYING  US– the Kidney Foundation– for a steady stream of  donated cars (and to tow them away for FREE).  I cut contracts with agencies whose ‘service center’ consisted of  guys shirtless under their overalls, missing teeth, chewing a toothpick with a vacant look in their eyes.  With the money I got them to pay us for those car donations, the NKF of U & I  was able to fund the first life saving financial aid/patient services programs and began funding local medical research. It was a miracle.  At the time,  the price of scrap metal was $30 a ton (today it’s more in the $225-350 range). So we were getting between $30-$75 just for junk cars.  The third year of operation, a doctor from Sandy, Utah donated a 1963 Mercedes 250 SL convertible with red leather interior and white wall tires.  We got England Trucking to haul the car down to the Barrett-Jackson Auction in Scottsdale for free.  The auction donated the sales space and fees.  We made $17,600. This single-handedly funded two years of the Kidney Patient Educational Scholarship program (for young adult/ pediatric Kidney Transplant recipients).

kidney kars original artwork 1

It’s weird how I got my motivation and experience to make money for charity by selling used cars.  I grew up in East County Southern California with a dad who LOVED cars– Baja bugs, dune buggies, and  race cars.  He was fond of German engineering and diesel engines. Our garage was bigger than our house and it’s where he spent most of his time. We had no less than 8-10 running cars at any given time. It was my job to change oil, make sure there was water in the battery caps, that the cables were connected, the idle adjusted, and that there was correct air pressure in the tires.  I also washed and detailed (vacuumed under seats and shook rugs, Amour All-ed the seats/dash/tires, Windex-ed the windows inside and out, chamois dried the body, and then hand waxed) at least 3 cars every Saturday before I could even THINK about asking to do something fun.  But not until I’d assisted my dad further (usually overhauling an engine or transmission) by cleaning his car parts in an open pan of gasoline, and then using a wire brush to scratch off the oily gunk.  I got $4.00 per car per full detail,  plus a little extra for the garage assist. Today, a detail job like that will run you $60.00 a car.

My favorite cars were my Dad’s  Diesel Mercedes 250D, a Porsche 911 and a Porsche 935 (a Candy Apple red, Turbo Carrerra).  My Dad is dead now, so I can say this out loud.  But one night when he was away (during a full moon) I drove the red Porsche East on Highway 8  through the Ocatillo Desert and the Imperial Valley.  That car easily traveled at 120 mph without even engaging the turbo. It was an amazing machine.  But, in spite owning an extra Porsche,  I was given a 1967 pieced out VW Bug  to drive. It had 3 different colored quarter panels. “Pretty girl, Ugly car” is what my Dad always said. We lived on 5 acres of dusty granite with a few horses, and a LOT of cars. That’s how it was.

My first taste of fundraising was at  BYU (Provo, Utah).  I started the first on campus Woman’s Rights group “Voice”– which I had to help keep funded to keep it alive.  Additionally, I worked in the library as a research/reference assistant and helped professors get their grants so I could have a job. After college, a good friend told me his Mother (CEO, Deen Vetterli) was trying to start a fundraising program selling donated used cars.  It was the perfect segway between my experience in grant writing and fundraising and a history of working on old cars and being comfortable haggling prices with wrecking yards.  By starting the Kidney Kars program, I imagined every wife and daughter in America (whose husband or dad had  8 cars parked around the house)  breathing a collective deep sigh of relief.  Finally!  A tax deduction and free towing as an incentive to get rid of all those cars parked out back. In fact one of the first huge car donation projects publicized on all the news channels, was when a 80 year old retired car dealer in Sunset Utah was given a notice by the city to get rid of his rotting inventory parked out back. He had 40 cars on his property and no way to get rid of them ( http://www.deseretnews.com/article/624713/Foundation-hits-gold-40-old-cars-in-the-mud.html?pg=all). It was huge and together with all the community and municipal support and the Governor’s appointment of the Kidney Kars program to the “Take Pride in Utah” (Utah’s Statehood Centennial Celebration) Kidney Cars and Kidney Kars hit pay dirt and kept on rolling along.

So many generous people have given us their Kidney Car/ Kidney Kars charity car donation in Utah and Idaho. Many, many people repeated their car donations time and again (up to 5 donations in 10 years) just for the tax deduction and the free towing. Even with the changes in the tax law that limits the amount that can be claimed on their taxes, and even the Cash For Clunkers incentive–  Utahns and Idahoans have continued to generously give the Kidney Foundation their ‘Kidney Kars’ charity car donations. Such generous, decent people in Utah and Idaho. I pledge allegiance to Utah for giving my weird skill set a purpose and my deepest car related neurosis a therapeutic outlet.

I have personally overseen every single aspect of the National Kidney Foundation of Utah & Idaho’s Kidney Kars / Kidney Cars donation program (1-800-Tow-Kars and the development of www.towKars.org). I am proud to say, we have received and sold more than 92,000 vehicle donations and raised over $20,000,000 dollars on behalf of Utah and Idaho Kidney Patients.

Kidney disease and dialysis are so miserable for so many people. I have made and lost so many friends to Kidney Failure since 1991.  How can I thank the Kidney Foundation enough for giving me a meaningful little place in the world to help save lives and help lighten the burden and improve the quality of life for Utah and Idaho Kidney patients?

I can personally assure you that your Kidney Cars/Kidney Kars donation in Utah and Idaho is put to amazing good use locally.

Cheers,

Luz Lewis Perez