The COVID-19 pandemic hit the automobile industry in a big way. Layoffs, furloughs, and pay cuts continue to impact every aspect of the industry, including dealerships and F&I departments across the US.
During this challenging time, seven executives at top F&I organizations founded F&I Providers Relief Fund for F&I Managers (F&IPRF), a philanthropic organization whose goal is to combat uncertainty at dealerships and support finance managers and their families.
F&IPRF’s board of directors include industry experts VAS president Bill Breindel; Assurant senior vice president Daniel Lenczner; EasyCare/GWC Warranty president John Lee; National Auto Care CEO Tony Wanderon; NAE/NWAN CEO Kelly Price; StoneEagle CEO Cindy Allen; and Houlihan Lokey managing director Craig Tessimond. Additionally, the fund has partnered with Changing Lives Foundation, a 501(c)3 non-profit, which allows donors to categorize their donation as a charitable contribution.
These board members, along with two alternatives and Changing Lives Foundation, are working together to raise funds through their networks in the auto industry while identifying and distributing grants to qualified applicants.
Since its establishment in April, F&IPRF has raised over $505,000 of its $1 million fundraising goal, providing up to $2,000 of relief to F&I managers who are experiencing financial hardships due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Through F&IPRF, Changing Lives Foundation, donors, and other providers’ collaborative efforts, F&I managers across the US have collectively received over $344,000 in grants so far.
“Giving back to this industry is important to me for many reasons,” said Bill Breindel, president at VAS. “I take pride in knowing that I am able to help make a positive impact in finance managers’ lives in a time of need—the very people who have helped to build our businesses.”
Feedback from grant applicants has been overwhelmingly positive, reinforcing F&IPRF’s commitment to raise $1 million for F&I managers in need.
“Words cannot begin to express my gratitude for this grant. This grant will help me to continue to feed and take care of my family. I just can’t believe it’s true. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.”
“I can’t tell you enough how appreciative I am for your kindness as a group. We deal with money and sometimes large amounts but what your organization has granted will definitely help during these difficult times.”
“Thank you for considering me for the grant to help out in this tough time we are living in. Thanks for what you all are doing… means a lot!!”
As the automobile industry continues to adjust and evolve during this time, F&IPRF and its board of industry experts aim to use their collective knowledge, networks, and efforts to make a difference in the lives of as many F&I managers as possible.
“This is important for both the person who serves as well as the recipient. It’s the way in which we grow as individuals and as an industry. Being part of a group of industry professionals who didn’t just sit back at their desks during this time, wondering how long it would last, is an honor. Thank you to all of those who set aside competitive differences and donated. I’ve read hundreds of requests and I know firsthand the impact your generosity has made. It’s an honor to walk among you.”
F&I managers in need can visit Changing Lives Foundation’s website to review qualification criteria and apply for grants. Additionally, F&I providers can contribute to F&IPRF and view a list of the companies that have contributed to the fund so far at www.changinglivesfound.org/fandiprovidersrelieffund.