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Emergency Fund at risk of running dry: reports

September 8, 2017
The National Automobile Dealers Association’s Emergency Relief Fund is at risk of running dry, Automotive News reported this month.
Dealership employees eligible for assistance from the fund because they were harmed by Hurricane Harvey are filing applications for aid faster than donations are coming in. 
Texas is the auto industry’s second-largest market in the U.S. after California, and major portions of the state’s southeast region are under water with little or no relief in sight.
That, teamed with the looming Hurricane Irma, is stressing the fund.
In the 36-hour period over the Labor Day weekend, the fund received more than 100 applications for aid, for a maximum of $1,500 per recipient. The NADA estimates that from 30,000 to 35,000 dealership employees have been impacted. Dealer principals are ineligible for assistance. 
On Aug. 30 alone, the fund received 70 applications. That represents potentially $105,000 in assistance — and a pace of requests that could empty the fund completely.
Bill Wolters, president of the Texas Automobile Dealers Association, is calling on the nation's new-car and -truck dealers and others to provide financial assistance to dealership employees in southeast Texas who sustained personal property damage from Hurricane Harvey by donating to the NADA Foundation's Emergency Relief Fund.
"The NADA created the Emergency Relief Fund to give immediate funds to these employees to help them bridge the gap until they can get their lives back together," said Wolters, who represents 1,300 new-car and -truck dealerships in Texas. "We need those thousands of dealerships across the country to pull together to help these dealership employees get back on their feet. We really, really need everyone to step up and help us get through this."
Mark Scarpelli, the 2017 NADA chairman, and Peter Welch, the association’s president and CEO, on Sept. 7 joined Annette Sykora, chairman of the NADA Foundation and dealer principal of Smith South Plains in Levelland, Texas — between Lubbock and the New Mexico border — toured dealerships to distribute aid checks.
Wyatt Wainwright, president of the Houston Automobile Dealers Association; Steven Wolf, chairman of the Houston association; Bill Wolters, president of the Texas Automobile Dealers Association; and TADA Chair Carroll Smith were in attendance.
The group planned to create videos of the situation on the ground to aid NADA’s fund-raising efforts.