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Donations from Car Sales Fuel A Community Need

Over the years, the 2002 Buick Century had been reliable transportation for Betty and Bill James, but eventually it mostly sat idle in the garage. “It was not hard to give it up,” Betty said.

And neither was selling it, thanks to a Kendal at Oberlin program that generates donations to support one of the community’s crucial needs.

Car Sales Benefit Kendal’s Residence Assistance Fund

Here’s how it works: A resident interested in selling a car contacts the car sales program, currently run by resident Dan Reiber. The program has been in existence more than a decade, nurtured by the talent and expertise of residents Ernie Eddy and Sam Goldberg.

Under the current set-up, Dan takes charge of selling the vehicle and the resident agrees to donate 20 percent of the proceeds to the Residents Assistance Fund, which provides financial assistance to residents who outlive their resources.

former residents, Bill and Betty James
Bill and Betty James

Betty, though, wanted to extend her generosity. When she sold the car for $1,200, she donated the entire amount to the fund. “I am interested in supporting the Residents Assistance Fund and this was an opportunity that came up,” the then 92-year-old resident explained.

Making the Sales Process Easier

Like others, Betty was thrilled to turn to someone else to take care of all the details involved in selling a car, such as setting a fair price, advertising and arranging for test drives.

“I try to make it as painless as possible,” Dan says.

To determine a selling price, the estimated cost of any repair is subtracted from the Kelley Blue Book value. While Dan limits advertising to inside Kendal, thanks to word of mouth the car is often sold to friends of residents and staff.

The program is a win/win for everyone, including Dan. “I’m having fun with it because I get to drive all kinds of cars and interact with interesting people,” he says.

Kendal’s Culture of Generosity


As a nonprofit organization, Kendal at Oberlin seeks better ways to enrich the lives of older adults.