Flood waters at McRee Ford in Dickinson, Texas. Photo credit: LAURA SAUCEDA via FACEBOOK
The National Automobile Dealers Association’s Emergency Relief Fund is at risk of running dry.
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.
In the past 36 hours, the fund received more than 100 applications for aid, for a maximum of $1,500 per recipient. NADA estimates that from 30,000 to 35,000 dealership employees have been impacted. Dealer principals are ineligible for assistance.
“We have potentially more going out the door than we have collected at the moment,” NADA Chairman Mark Scarpelli told Automotive News. “We have requests already in for $150,000 in aid. So the need for support, the need for aid, is great, and we are there to help.”
On Wednesday evening, 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.
The drain on the fund is happening despite large donations coming from across the country and in the state. The Texas Automobile Dealers Association vowed to give $100,000 to the fund, and Jaguar Land Rover committed $25,000 Thursday.
“In past disasters, many [automakers] have stepped up, and we are quite certain it will be the same in this situation in Houston,” Scarpelli said. In response to Harvey, the fund had raised and received more than a half million dollars as of 3 p.m. ET on Thursday.
NADA officials were unavailable to provide the fund’s current balance.
On Sept. 7, Scarpelli, NADA President Peter Welch and Annette Sykora, chairman of the NADA Foundation and dealer principal of Smith South Plains (which sells Ford, Lincoln, Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep and Ram vehicles) in Levelland, Texas — between Lubbock and the New Mexico border — will tour 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 will also be in attendance.
The group also plans to create videos of the situation on the ground to aid NADA’s fund-raising efforts.