Written by Nicole Ellan James
Charity has always been a core pillar of Barrett-Jackson, dating back to the “Fiesta de los Autos Elegantes” charity car show held by the Barrett and Jackson families in the 1960s before they formed the auction company in 1971.
The sale of “charity cars” on the auction block has become a signature component of each event. Among the most popular donated vehicles are VIN 001, a tradition that began in 2006 at the Scottsdale Auction when Ford first revealed the 2007 Shelby GT500, which sold for an unprecedented $600,000. 100 percent of the hammer price benefited the Carroll Shelby Children’s Foundation, beginning the tradition of waiving all fees and commissions for charity vehicles.
The tradition continued at each auction and a dozen years later, Barrett-Jackson auctioned 10 charity vehicles at the 2018 Scottsdale Auction, catapulting its total funds raised for charity past the $100 million mark.
That same year, Barrett-Jackson kicked off its first yearlong charitable initiative — “Driven Hearts” — which reached millions and raised millions to benefit the American Heart Association (AHA).
After Barrett-Jackson’s most recent auction this past June in Las Vegas, the total amount raised for charity reached $148.6 million. With the significant milestone of the $150 million mark in sight, take a look at the road to reaching this number with some of the organizations and people that have been helped along the way.
$3,700,000: Operation Homefront
During the 2022 Scottsdale Auction, Chevrolet generously donated VIN 001 of its 2023 Corvette Z06, the first retail production vehicle of the 70th Anniversary Edition (above). The vehicle raised $3,700,000 for Operation Homefront, a national 501(c)(3) nonprofit.
A portion of the funds raised helped Air Force Veteran Trevor Allison and his family through the Transitional Homes for Veterans (THV) program.
The Allison family faced uncertainty as Trevor was reintegrating into civilian life after a back injury and PTSD left him unable to serve. He and his wife Brittany were newlyweds when he enlisted in the Air Force in 2013.
“I planned to be in the Air Force for 20 years. Getting told I was going from serving in the military to being a civilian when I thought I was going to be in for another 10 years threw us for a loop,” he said.
The Allisons were stationed in Idaho, across the country from their families in Georgia. The COVID-19 pandemic left the status of Trevor’s medical retirement in limbo for months, complicating his job search.
The THV program allows families to live rent-free in a home for about two years, during which they work toward financial stability. The goal is to prepare the family for homeownership in the community.
This is one of numerous programs offered by the nonprofit to help service members and families of veterans overcome short-term bumps in the road.
The Allison family was able to move into a transitional home in Canton, Georgia.
“It was a massive weight lifted off our shoulders,” said Trevor, who secured a job with a pest-control company. He now enjoys a flexible work schedule that allows him to work from home.
The Allisons credit Operation Homefront and its THV program for putting them on the path to buying a house. They couldn’t envision that reality just 18 months ago when Trevor was medically retired.
$3,000,000: Detroit Children’s Fund
At the January 2020 Scottsdale Auction, Chevrolet donated VIN 001 of its 2020 Corvette Stingray, raising $3,000,000 to benefit the Detroit Children’s Fund. This funding could not have come at a better time for the company, as schools faced unprecedented challenges due to the pandemic later that year.
One school DCF helped with this funding was Escuela Avancemos Academy (EAA) in Southwest Detroit. EAA serves more than 350 students in kindergarten through eighth grade living in extreme poverty.
With the sudden onset of the pandemic in March 2020, EAA, like so many other schools, was forced to move to virtual learning. Many EAA students could not afford computers, and most did not have Internet access. With the immediate support of DCF, EAA was able to purchase laptops for its students and work with local Internet providers to ensure EAA students had dependable access at home.
“We simply did not know how to operate classrooms in the virtual world,” said Stephanie Yassine, executive director at EAA. “DCF worked hand-in-hand with our staff to translate instruction to the virtual setting so that we could continue working with our students in the most effective way.”
DCF’s support didn’t end there, though. Throughout the pandemic, DCF remained an active partner of EAA by funding annual teacher retention efforts. With this critical support, EAA was able to provide an increase in staff salaries and retention bonuses, resulting in a 90% retention rate amongst EAA teachers during a time of mass exodus in the education field nationwide.
$5,200,000: Stephen Siller Tunnel to Towers
To date, Stephen Siller Tunnel to Towers has provided more than 450 mortgage-free homes to catastrophically injured veterans, first responders, Gold Star families and families of fallen first responders. According to the foundation, over 200 homes were dedicated in 2021 alone, after receiving $2.5 million from the March 2021 Barrett-Jackson Scottsdale Auction with the sale of a VIN 001 2022 GMC Hummer EV Edition 1 and $2.7 million from the last-built 2019 Chevrolet Corvette Z06 at the 2019 Northeast Auction.
One hero the foundation was able to help though funds raised at Barrett-Jackson was Marine Cpl. Colin Pascik.
Cpl. Pascik enlisted in the United States Marine Corps after high school and deployed to Afghanistan with the 3rd Battalion, 1st Marine Regiment out of Camp Pendleton. During his tour, Cpl. Pascik was on patrol when an explosive device detonated. He lost both legs (his right above the knee, and his left below the knee), and suffered an injury to his left arm. Like many injured service members, Cpl. Pascik did not let his injuries define him or stop him from persevering. He has since learned to walk on prosthetics and has completed schooling to be a guitar technician.
Tunnel to Towers dedicated a mortgage-free smart home to Cpl. Pascik and his family in December 2021. The smart home is completely accessible, with automatic doors, widened hallways and oversized doorways. The kitchen cabinet shelving is designed for easy access and a mechanized lift raises and lowers the stove to wheelchair height. Every feature of the home can be controlled via a smart device or touchscreens built into the home.
$2,100,000: American Heart Association (AHA) and the Bob Woodruff Foundation (BWF)
In 2019, Barrett-Jackson was proud to include Toyota as a Heritage Sponsor during the Scottsdale Auction and its donation of the first production 2020 Toyota Supra, raising $2,100,000 benefiting two charities: The AHA and the BWF.
Raising funds for the AHA through the Driven Hearts campaign is a passion project for Carolyn Jackson, Vice President of Brand Strategy and Chief Philanthropy Officer of Barrett-Jackson.
“It was such an honor to have Toyota as a sponsor and to raise money for the American Heart Association,” Jackson said. “I am proud to support such an important organization that helps save the lives of millions of Americans through its research, education and emergency care.”
According to BWF, the funds raised at Barrett-Jackson have been essential in the foundation’s efforts to support veteran causes and allowed BWF to join Toyota’s goals of promoting assistance to veterans in need. With Toyota’s donation of the Supra, BWF was able to provide support for veterans when COVID-19 hit, a crucial time of need for many. This is just one component of Toyota’s overall commitment to fostering community outreach and assistance to veterans.
BWF has used the charitable funds to assist in multiple programs and organizations that help veterans, including Capital Area Food Bank (CAFB), Legal Aid Services of Oklahoma, PenFed Foundation, Semper Fi Fund, Southeast Louisiana Legal Services, FourBlock, George Washington University and American Corporate Partners.
$2,000,000: Bob Woodruff Foundation (BWF) and Boys & Girls Clubs of America
A portion of the funds donated to BWF went to the CAFB. “The food bank helps our neighbors thrive today by supplying food to a network of hundreds of local nonprofit partners, including pantries, soup kitchens and other organizations,” said Hilary Salmon, senior director of marketing and communications at CAFB. “We also distribute food directly into the community through school-based programs, free farmer’s markets, senior centers, children’s after-school meal programs and partnerships with military installations.”
BWF also donated some of the funds to grants targeting gaps in federally administered programs. “Federal programs have had a tremendous impact addressing veteran homelessness in the last decade, but they still require supportive investments from the philanthropic community to assist community-based service providers,” said Deirdre Armstrong, BWF director of local partnerships.
$2,500,000: United Way for Southeastern Michigan
Ford Motor Company donated VIN 001 of its 2019 Ford GT Heritage Edition, effectively raising $2,500,000 at the 2019 Scottsdale Auction for United Way for Southeastern Michigan.
“Ford did something really revolutionary when it brought back the Ford GT to celebrate its 50th anniversary Le Mans win,” said Steve Davis, president of Barrett-Jackson. “United Way for Southeastern Michigan also did something revolutionary with how it worked to create positive, measurable and sustainable change in the community. I am proud Barrett-Jackson was able to play a part in that.”
During the 2019 Scottsdale Auction, Barrett-Jackson Chairman and CEO Craig Jackson and his wife Carolyn Jackson (shown above with JDRF children and the team from Ford Shelby – including Edsel Ford and Aaron Shelby) wrote a $1,100,000 check to JDRF, the leading global organization focused on type 1 diabetes (T1D) research, to purchase VIN 001 of the 2020 Ford Mustang Shelby GT500. Not only did he want to add this special GT500 to his collection, he understood JDRF’s good work and the immeasurable funds necessary to continue its crusade to end diabetes.
In 2020, JDRF had numerous advancements supported in part by the donation.
Among its achievements, T1D was reversed in a young man with a precision medicine treatment correcting the effect of a genetic mutation. The young man has now been off insulin for more than two years.
The treatment is a Janus tyrosine kinase (JAK) inhibitor, which is a type of therapeutic that stops or inhibits the activity of a JAK protein in the body.
JAK inhibitors are also being researched by JDRF-funded scientists, Thomas Kay, M.B.B.S., and Helen Thomas, Ph.D., who discovered blocking the protein may slow down or prevent beta cell loss. They now have a clinical trial, funded by JDRF, to find out if baricitinib, a JAK inhibitor, will preserve beta cell function in children and young adults with recently diagnosed T1D.
“I must admit that when I found out about the GT500, I knew I had to be sitting in those bidder seats – for a number of reasons,” Jackson said. He added that he has been a Shelby enthusiast all his life and his personal car collection includes the 1967 and 1968 Shelby GT500 EXP prototypes “Little Red” and “Green Hornet.”
“The Hornet was the first car to have independent rear suspension and was used for testing. Now, finally, that groundbreaking technology is in the 2020 GT500, which incorporates everything that Little Red and the Hornet tested back then, some 50 years ago. Having the winning bid on the 2020 GT500 was like acquiring the holy grail to me. It truly has been a pleasure to work together with Edsel Ford and the Ford Motor Company to help raise more than $6.5 million over the years to help JDRF – I am honored to have played a part in that, and the GT500 will have a treasured place in my collection.”
$1,075,000: National Forest Foundation and Outward Bound
Ford donated its VIN 001 2021 Ford Bronco 2-door at the March 2021 Scottsdale Auction as part of its Bronco Wild Fund initiative, raising $1,075,000 for the National Forest Foundation and Outward Bound. The Bronco Wild Fund is devoted to keeping the great outdoors great and connecting people to outdoors responsibly through grants, scholarships and other contributions.
As a result of the donation, the National Forest Foundation used the funds to support projects in Arizona, Colorado, Illinois and Southern California. In Arizona, the funds benefited the Sierra Vista “Border 3” Forest Health and Fire Risk Reduction Project in the Coronado National Forest.
The Arizona project aims to return the area to a condition favored by pronghorn and mule deer herds and significantly beneficial for grassland birds, Montezuma quail, white-tailed deer, javelina and Gould’s turkeys.
Outward Bound was gifted a total of $537,500 as a charitable beneficiary of the VIN 001 Ford Bronco, an equal split with the National Forest Foundation.
Marlais Brand, director of partnership at Outward Bound’s Regional School in Minnesota, attended an Outward Bound graduation ceremony in August 2021: a 6-day canoeing expedition on the Namekagon/St. Croix Riverway along the Minnesota-Wisconsin border, which was funded by the donation.
“Every student used the word ‘together’ at some point during graduation,” she said. She heard the students say: I didn’t know what we’d be able to do together… We learned to paddle together… We saw eagles together… and I’m so glad we had the chance to do this together. “After a year and a half of doing things alone [during quarantine] … separately … at a distance … by myself … on my own … or without anyone … these students did something important, together.”
Not only did these teens get the chance to explore the outdoors and become more confident and capable versions of themselves, they did it for free thanks to the generosity of Ford Motor Company, the Bronco Wild Fund and the bidders at Barrett-Jackson.
$1,000,000: Shock Trauma Air Rescue Services (STARS) Foundation
At the 2022 Scottsdale Auction, a 1968 Ford Mustang custom fastback raised $1,000,000 for the STARS Foundation, which provides people with vital care they need when they need it the most. The Canadian organization operates 24/7 from bases in Calgary, Edmonton, Grande Prairie, Regina, Saskatoon and Winnipeg, anticipating and acting when people need assistance.
In April 2018, a Canadian Humboldt Broncos hockey team bus accident took 16 lives and devastated a community, a province and a country — with effects felt worldwide.
A small group of caring Saskatchewan businesspeople decided something positive should come out of something so tragic. With the experience of a previous vehicle-building fundraising project for the Saskatchewan Children’s Hospital, they decided on a new project — a custom-built 1968 Ford Mustang fastback.
The group chose STARS as the project’s benefactor because of the critical care its air ambulance and other first responders provided to the tragic accident.
As only the second charity vehicle ever featured at Barrett-Jackson to benefit a Canadian charity, the Mustang crossed the auction block for a remarkable $1 million.
The road to this next milestone has been an incredible journey filled with many once-in-a-lifetime moments. Barrett-Jackson is incredibly proud to play a part in assisting charities with such important causes that make a difference in people’s lives and the world around us.
For information on charity vehicles for the 2022 Houston Auction, click HERE.