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CATA commits up to $125,000 to NADA’s Katrina emergency relief

November 22, 2010
Affected dealership employees to benefit

Contributions by CATA members and their employees to a Hurricane Katrina relief fund will be matched with a donation of up to $125,000 by the association, the CATA board directed at a Sept. 6 special meeting. 

The donations must be sent by Oct. 14 to the CATA, which in turn will channel them through the NADCF Emergency Relief Fund established by the National Automobile Dealers Association.

 

The NADA is rolling out a major campaign to collect funds, including sending solicitations directly to its members. 

Every dollar of the fund will go directly to hurricane victims who are dealership employees; the NADA will assume all administrative costs.

 

"We have contended for decades that new-car dealers are always the first to raise our hands to volunteer when a charity is in need," said CATA Chairman Terry D’Arcy. 

"At this significant moment in our history, we need to collectively raise our hands to help the survivors of this catastrophic natural disaster."

 

Employees can contribute to the fund-raising effort by credit card or by making a check payable to NADCF Emergency Relief Fund. See the insert in the print edition of this newsletter. All contributions are tax-deductible as a charitable expense. 

Checks can be mailed to the CATA in Oakbrook Terrace, attention: Relief Fund; or they can be sent directly to the NADA at 8400 Westpark Dr., McLean, VA 22102.

 

The NADA can identify direct donations by CATA members by tracking the ZIP codes of donors. 

Employers also can arrange for workers to donate through regular payroll withholding by having an employee sign a consent form authorizing the deduction.

 

An employer may opt to provide the employee with a letter detailing the contribution amount, as additional support for personal income tax returns. 

Some CATA dealers have indicated they would match the amount their employees contribute before submitting the total to the CATA. A subsequent match by the association would transform a $1 employee donation into $4 in disaster relief funding.

 

Hurricane Katrina likely damaged more than 200 dealerships in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama, according to estimates by dealer associations in those states. One week after the Aug. 28 hurricane, dealers in the affected region still could not communicate with many of their employees or with the automakers whose vehicles they sell. 

Bill Lehman, president of the Mississippi Automobile Dealers Association, said half of the state’s 242 new-vehicle dealerships are between Jackson, Miss., and the gulf Coast.

 

That is the area "where the greatest devastation has taken place," Lehman said. By Sept. 2, Lehman said he had heard from only four dealerships near the Gulf Coast, "and three of the four are total losses." 

The NADCF, established in 1992, is a tax-exempt nonprofit public foundation that raises and distributes funds from franchised new-car and –truck dealers and friends for emergency medical and economic educational organizations and private-sector colleges and universities.

 

For more information on the NADCF, call 703-821-7102.

 

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