Kars 4 Kids - what?

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John F
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Kars 4 Kids - what?

Post by John F » Sun Aug 12, 2018 10:13 am

You've probably seen their annoying TV commercials, which seem to be everywhere all the time. And I gather they advertise on radio too. Donating automobiles to charity has never made much sense to me, and as it turns out, there's even less to it than I thought. (Funny, those kids don't look Jewish...)

Costly and Continuous Kars4Kids Ads Disguise Charity's Real Purpose
Published 03/10/2017

Described by many as annoying and by SFGate.com as the subject of “widespread, ubiquitous hate,” the catchy advertising jingle for the charity known as Kars4Kids can now be heard not only on radio stations nationwide, but also on major TV networks. Kars4Kids debuted a TV commercial in November 2014 that features a “specially spruced up” version of the “1-877-Kars4Kids” jingle and “some real kuties jamming away in Kars4Kids’ brand color Hot Pink,” according to a Kars4Kids press release. The TV spot has aired on popular networks such as ESPN and Fox News and has been viewed over 880,000 times on YouTube, with each play of its earworm jingle lightheartedly encouraging people to “donate your car today.” By now, you are probably (begrudgingly) familiar with the Kars4Kids jingle, but just how familiar are you with how Kars4Kids spends the money it makes from all those “kars” that get donated “4” kids?

The Kars4Kids commercials claim that the charity provides for “quick and easy” pick up of car donations, and that the car donations will in some way be used for the benefit of kids. An important question potential donors should ask, though, is: Just how much do kids benefit from the cars donated to Kars4Kids? Also, with hundreds of millions of kids in the world, exactly which kids will benefit, and how are those kids helped?

Cars for… an Orthodox Jewish Cause

Nowhere in the Kars4Kids ads (in most states) does the charity inform potential donors of how their car donations will help kids. A visit to the “kars4kids.org/howtohelp” website displayed at the end of the TV commercial is similarly vague as to how kids will benefit, simply encouraging people to “take action” for the “1.2 million kids [that] leave school without a diploma each year” by volunteering to “mentor, fundraise, advocate or run an awareness campaign.” (This “take action” message likely is a strategic one designed for Kars4Kids to take advantage of an accounting rule that allows charities to report a portion of advertising costs as program instead of fundraising expenses.) When going to the website address shown in the TV commercial, only by scrolling all the way down to the fine print that includes Kars4Kids’ copyright notation at the bottom of the page will donors eventually learn what activities their donated cars support: “Your donation will benefit Kars4Kids, a national organization dedicated to addressing the educational, material, emotional and spiritual needs of Jewish children and their families [emphasis added].”

In CharityWatch’s view, the Kars4Kids ads deceive potential donors by failing to inform them that donated cars will benefit a Jewish organization and kids of Jewish faith. Furthermore, the youth programs Kars4Kids supports promote an Orthodox Jewish lifestyle, which CharityWatch believes compounds the deception perpetrated by the Kars4Kids ads. Oorah, Kars4Kids’ “sister charity,” is the organization that actually runs the “educational, developmental, and recreational programs for Jewish youth and their families” described in Kars4Kids’ mission statement. Kars4Kids and Oorah share a principal officer, Eliyohu Mintz, the son of their founder, Rabbi Chaim Mintz, and both organizations are located at the same address in the heavily-Orthodox Jewish town of Lakewood, New Jersey. Oorah, which means “awaken” in Hebrew, “specializes in outreach to non-observant Jews, operating summer camps and other programs that seek to make non-Orthodox Jews more observant,” according to an October 2016 article in the "Forward," which covers news for a Jewish-American audience.

While supporting Orthodox Jewish organizations is a worthy endeavor for those donors who are intending to do so, many donors of other faiths may not be pleased to learn that the car they donated to Kars4Kids may have funded religious teachings that are in conflict with their own faith or personal beliefs. Orthodox Jews, who follow the traditional interpretations of Jewish law with strict observance of Jewish ritual, make up only about 10% of Jewish adults in the U.S., according to a 2013 survey published by the Pew Research Center in August 2015. Moreover, many secular Jews are not enthusiastic about funding Orthodox organizations, as suggested by an official of The Jewish Agency for Israel, a nonprofit that inspires Jews throughout the world to connect with their People, heritage, and homeland. The official said: “The Jewish mainstream, certainly in North America but in other places as well, is not Orthodox and isn’t interested in organizations that proselytize to non-religious Jews,” according to an August 2016 article in "Haaretz," Israel’s daily newspaper.

If the truth about Kars4Kids’ mission as a Jewish organization and its funding of Oorah’s Orthodox Jewish outreach is an unwelcome surprise to some donors, perhaps they will be comforted to learn that since 2010, Kars4Kids also has conducted various charity events and giveaways for the benefit of needy children, regardless of their religious affiliation. These events have included several backpack giveaways and coat distributions in parts of New Jersey and New York. Kars4Kids also released a free smartphone app in mid-2014 designed as a safety alert for parents to remind them not to leave young children in the backseat of hot cars. Nonetheless, Kars4Kids’ grants to Oorah still represented more than 91% of its program spending over the two-year period from 2014-2015, thereby making Jewish children the primary “kids” that benefit from its car donation proceeds – a fact that many Kars4Kids donors likely never end up knowing.

Donors should also be aware that even though the Kars4Kids ads are broadcast across the country, the vast majority of the children that benefit from the cars donated to Kars4Kids live in the Northeast, particularly in New York and New Jersey. According to a 2017 compliance review conducted by the Office of the Attorney General of the State of Minnesota (OAG), over 99.9% of the $90 million raised by Kars4Kids from 2012-2014 was spent on charitable programs under the direction or control of Kars4Kids’ “sister charity,” Oorah. Oorah’s two largest programs are its summer camps and tuition assistance programs for Jewish children, according to the OAG, with the camps being operated at two New York locations. The OAG reports that of the total number of children that benefitted from Oorah’s summer camps and tuition assistance programs from 2012-2014, 67% and 65%, respectively, were from either New York or New Jersey. The OAG compliance review also provides a broader geographical breakdown by region (Northeast, South, Midwest and West) showing that 79% of the children that benefitted from Oorah’s summer camps and tuition assistance programs lived in the Northeast; less than 10% lived in the Midwest and West combined. Furthermore, CharityWatch noted that even the backpack giveaway and coat distribution events run by Kars4Kids for the benefit of needy children, regardless of their religion, seem to be highly concentrated in the Northeast, based on the information available on the Kars4Kids website.

How Many Seconds Does It Take to Say “Kars4Kids Supports Jewish Youth”?

CharityWatch thinks it is highly unlikely that Kars4Kids would be enjoying the same level of success as it has, averaging over $30 million a year in donated car proceeds from 2010-2015, if its ads disclosed that donated cars are used to fund Orthodox outreach programs for children of Jewish faith. Kars4Kids reportedly has insisted that it is not trying to mislead anyone with its ads, claiming that a 60-second spot does not allow for time to inform people of its mission and that Kars4Kids does not hide that it is a Jewish organization if donors visit its website. After describing how car donations to Kars4Kids work, the kars4kids.org homepage does state that Kars4Kids is “a registered nonprofit Jewish organization who, together with Oorah, our sister charity, help thousands of children develop into productive members of the community.” But should donors have to go online to find out which kids are supported by Kars4Kids and its unforgettable advertising jingle? CharityWatch doesn’t think so, and we question Kars4Kids’ claim that there is not enough time in its 60-second ads to let donors know that car donations will benefit Jewish children. In our opinion, Kars4Kids should be disclosing the religious nature of its organization in all of its ads, something that Kars4Kids already has been under legal scrutiny for not doing in the past.

In connection with Kars4Kids’ failure to disclose in its ads that donated cars are used to benefit children of a specific religion, and not needy children in general, Kars4Kids paid tens of thousands of dollars in settlements to the states of Oregon and Pennsylvania in 2009. (CharityWatch informed donors of these fines in our Catchy Jingle Not a Green Light to Donate article published in 2010.) Under the settlements, Kars4Kids was also required to change its solicitations in those states to include adequate disclosure of the religious purpose of its programs. “It is unacceptable for charities to deceive Oregon consumers,” the Attorney General said in an April 15th, 2009 press release announcing the Kars4Kids settlement, which also involved claims that Kars4Kids misled donors with its offer to provide a “free vacation” with every car donation. Apparently, however, the Oregon and Pennsylvania settlements did not convince Kars4Kids to add a disclosure related to the religious nature of its organization to its ads being run in other states – most likely, in CharityWatch’s view, because Kars4Kids does not want to risk losing potential donors who may not want to support Jewish youth outreach programs...

[There's much more. The article doesn't say so, but this looks much like a swindle.]

...Backed by memorable TV and radio ads or not, car donations are notorious for being one of the most costly ways to give to charity. Kars4Kids certainly has a catchy advertising jingle and may be among the more financially efficient charities when it comes to processing donated cars, but ultimately it, together with Oorah, still only spent about 38% of car donation proceeds on charitable programs in 2015. Donors should also be aware that the vast majority of those programs are for Orthodox Jewish youth outreach, and do not benefit needy “kids” in general. Before deciding to donate your car to any charity, see CharityWatch’s Tips for Donating a Car to Charity.

https://www.charitywatch.org/charitywat ... urpose/179
John Francis

jbuck919
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Re: Kars 4 Kids - what?

Post by jbuck919 » Sun Aug 12, 2018 12:08 pm

Donating a car to charity is a gigantic scam. It may get an old car off your hands without going through the even worse process of trying to sell it privately or through a dealer, but that is all there is to be said about it. You get no receipt from the person who actually picks the car up, and the tax deductible value is the junk or auction value of the car (which the owner cannot know) rather than what you think it could be sold or donated for. Only legitimate dealers can help you with an older car, which does not mean that if it is old enough they can offer you much against the price of a new one.

There's nothing remarkable about it. All one has to do is hit the right keys at the right time and the instrument plays itself.
-- Johann Sebastian Bach

John F
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Re: Kars 4 Kids - what?

Post by John F » Sun Aug 12, 2018 4:05 pm

That's as may be, but anybody for whom tax deductability is a major factor in charitable giving will surely have an accountant who can advise him/her as you've advised us. Kars 4 Kids has so much else that's wrong with it, detailed in the part of the article that I skipped as well as what I quoted, that potential donors shouldn't get as far as calculating the tax deduction before dismissing the whole thing. Unless, of course, they're Orthodox Jews with an old clunker of a car they want to get rid of. :roll:
John Francis

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Re: Kars 4 Kids - what?

Post by living_stradivarius » Tue Aug 14, 2018 5:55 am

The fact that they spell Car with a K is just inviting the use of the ethnic slur here.
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John F
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Re: Kars 4 Kids - what?

Post by John F » Tue Aug 14, 2018 7:34 am

Say what?
John Francis

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Re: Kars 4 Kids - what?

Post by living_stradivarius » Wed Aug 15, 2018 10:06 pm

John F wrote:
Tue Aug 14, 2018 7:34 am
Say what?
Kars for K****
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John F
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Re: Kars 4 Kids - what?

Post by John F » Thu Aug 16, 2018 3:41 am

Again, say what?
John Francis

jbuck919
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Posts: 26846
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Re: Kars 4 Kids - what?

Post by jbuck919 » Thu Aug 16, 2018 5:56 am

All I can think of is that that violinist looks an awful lot like the older version of the actor Leslie Nielsen. :)

There's nothing remarkable about it. All one has to do is hit the right keys at the right time and the instrument plays itself.
-- Johann Sebastian Bach

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