Why We Are In The Car Repair Business

by Bonnie Rosenbaum November 5, 2015

Yesterday I picked up my partner’s 2005 Maxima at West Cork Auto, the local repair shop in my neighborhood run by the friendliest mechanic you have ever met. Patrick reeled off the parts that he fixed—ball joint, control arm, fan belt—and I knew I would be walking out of the garage with a hefty bill. If I didn’t fix the car, Patrick told me it would surely fail inspection next month. Not much of a choice there.

As I stood in the garage watching another car get hoisted up for repairs, I immediately thought of this note that the Trust recently received.

To: Melville Charitable Trust Program

My name is anonymous I am currently residing at the ____ domestic violence shelter. I recently got a new job and my car broke where it was very dangerous to drive & everything was going wrong with it. I was very stressed out because I didn’t know how I was going to pay for repairs with only my part time job. Finally I told my case manager about my problems, next thing I know I received funds from the Melville charitable trust, my car was fixed within 24 hours of getting the money.

This really changed my life in a positive way and took a lot of stress off of me. Now I am able to get to work with no problems, also I am currently pregnant & am able to get to my doctor’s appointment with no problem. I am very thankful and this is a blessing.

Thank you so much,

This is exactly why over a decade ago we launched The Employment and Educational Opportunity Fund (EOF). The EOF provides modest grants (up to $7,500) to Connecticut nonprofits to enable homeless and formerly homeless individuals cover essential educational or employment related expenses.

Small, but essential costs, like a car repair bill.

Or books for a class.
Or tools for an apprenticeship.
Or day care for a single mom in college.
Or a ServSave training for an aspiring chef.

The EOF is pretty different from most of our other grantmaking which is overwhelmingly focused on systemic change to end homelessness. We are grateful to the activists and providers who inspired this program with their repeated stories of how hard it was for them to obtain these relatively small sums and the impact of a small investment.

Since 1994, we’ve awarded more than 100 of these modest, highly flexible grants to over 40 organizations in Connecticut—over $950,000. This year we will award an additional 10-12 grants. Applications are due on November 20, 2015 [2017 Deadline: 11/10]. You can find or more information and application instructions here.

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