While there is plenty of car donation processing companies that will accept any car or other vehicles whether it runs or not, you should be aware of the charities that are either based or work exclusively in Chicago. These charities accept cars and other vehicles, just like the national car processing houses. But because they are smaller, many of them will actually be giving your car to a real person, instead of just selling your car at auction.
This is better for you because if the charity either uses your car themselves or gives the car to a needy person, then you can deduct the car’s fair market value on the day you donated it. The “fair market” value is what you might get for the car if you sold it yourself. This is much better for you, tax-wise than if the charity just sold the car at auction, because if the car is sold at auction you can only deduct what the car sold for at the auction, and that can be a painfully low number. Expect no more than a $500 income tax deduction if your car is sold at auction (there are exceptions, but they are rare, and they require much more paperwork), versus the much larger income tax deduction if the charity actually uses your car, gives it to someone in need, or if the charity makes substantial repairs to your car and then sells it.
All the charities listed on this page have 4-star reviews from Charity Navigator (except the last two charities listed, and those have three-star reviews). This means you can be sure that you are giving your car to an effective, exceptionally well-run organization that will make the most of your donation.
Provides homes, foster parents and other services to children who have been abused or neglected. http://www.sosillinois.org/WaystoDonate/tabid/89/Default.aspx
This excellent charity does not specifically say they take cars, but they do accept “equipment”. It’s worth a call to see if you could find a home for your car here.
A pet shelter and spay/neuter clinic that is working hard to make Chicago a no-kill city for homeless pets. They have a vehicle donation program and the number listed above is the direct line for it. They pick up cars, usually within 24 hours, and can provide you with all the tax documentation and title transfer support you’ll need. You will need the last six digits of your car’s VIN (Vehicle Identification Number) when you schedule the pickup.
They don’t specifically have a car donation program, but their work suggests they might take cars for the people they help.
A cageless, no-kill shelter just for cats. They take in abandoned, stray and abused cats from in and around Chicago. They have a vehicle donation program set up and waiting to pick up your car, but they can not accept cars that do not run.
contact Melanie at 773-784-5488 ext. 225
They might accept a donated car because they do take “in-kind donations” which are donated goods, but they do not have a car donation program set up. Still worth a call.
They support and coordinate volunteer efforts for numerous causes across the Chicago area. Chicago Cares does not have a specific program for vehicle donations, but they invite in-kind gifts. Its an outside shot, but they might take your car, provided it’s in running condition.
The Cara Program
Offers job training, life skills training and other support to the homeless and poor in Chicago. Another charity that does not have a car donation program set up, but due to the nature of their work, they might actually be able to use your car (not just turn around and sell it), so you might get a much larger tax deduction. It’s worth a call to find out. Maybe one of their recent graduates could use a car…but it would have to be running and in reasonably good condition.
LUNGevity Foundation (3 star Charity Navigator rating)
435 North LaSalle Street, Suite 310 | (833) 866-7869
They have the organization V-Dac handle their car donations. You will probably only get a $500 income tax deduction, but the process of donating your car will be well-handled. All proceeds of the sale of your car at the auction will go to LUNGevity. http://events.lungevity.org/site/PageNavigator/v2_Donate_Alternative
Chicago Public Radio (3 star Charity Navigator rating)
If you love their programming, support their cause. This station accepts all vehicles, running or not. They have outsourced their car donation program to V-DAC, which operates nationally. Your car will be sold at auction, but the good part is that you’ll be dealing with people who know every aspect of car donations and tax deductions and title transfers. They’re pros. http://www.wbez.org/content/donate-your-car