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Parts trash could be 'gold' for local collision school programs via repair foundation

March 1, 2013
With vehicle manufacturers and dealers accustomed to throwing away millions of dollars’ worth of parts each year, collision repair instructors and students, in turn, became accustomed to “dumpster diving” for parts for their collision programs. But since 2008, the parts can be donated and earn a tax deduction.
The Collision Repair Education Foundation is the automotive collision industry’s 501c3 charitable organization, and it is based in Hoffman Estates. The foundation provides support to secondary and post-secondary collision school programs and instructors nationwide. The support has grown to more than $10 million annually.
Scholarships and grants from the foundation enhance the education experience for collision students and better prepare them to understand new technology, leading to more successful careers in collision repair.
The items most requested by collision instructors are current model vehicle parts — bumpers, fenders, hoods, door skins — so students can practice proper collision repair techniques on parts they most likely will see upon entering the industry. Reduced program budgets have made it harder to purchase the parts, forcing the programs to:
• practice on severely aged vehicles that the collision programs have had for 10 years or more;
• practice on an instructor’s vehicle that might have been “dinged” in the school parking lot; and
• “dumpster dive” at the garbage bins of repair facilities and dealerships for discarded parts.
Instead, earn a tax credit by donating to the Collision Repair Education Foundation parts that are slightly damaged or unused and destined to be thrown away. The parts, in turn, will be donated to collision school programs. Contact Brandon Eckenrode, the foundation’s development director, at (847) 463-5244 or, or see the foundation’s website,