Utah’s Original and #1 Choice in Charity Car Donation

The National Kidney Foundation of Utah & Idaho established one of the country’s first ‘cars for charity’ operations in the country, and remains Utah’s #1 most trusted choice.

You know those small turn of the century businesses who built customer loyalty, offered incredible customer service, and met specific community needs with their business model?  For example, it’s like those mercantile businesses in southern towns. For a century or more that store was the one place everyone for miles around shopped for their groceries, clothing/cloth, housewares and tools.  Then along with the connection of the railroad, and the development of the mail system came the Sears Catalogue.  The People could now shop by mail order. It was a revolution that put many, many small town mercantile out of business — or those who adapted and rolled with the punches, improved their inventory to micro perform by not having to warehouse or manage certain inventory that could be received by mail ordered. They’d keep their inventory local, fresh okra? Yes.  Bottled butter beans, obviously. Cheerwine, without a doubt.  They honed the art of MICRO performance suited to just their own community needs.  Those small mercantile groups, who had their finger on the pulse of their own community for 50 0r more years then were challenged again with the onset of franchise operations.  By 1926 the first Sears store were starting to be built everywhere.  Now the local mercantile shop had real competition.  But then what happened around 80 year later would close up every mom-and-pop small business across America: Internet commerce.  After more than 100 years, Sears pulled up stakes everywhere because they resisted internet buying.  Sears counted on that brand loyalty for over 100 years, and they lost the bet along with K-Mart, and others.

Charity car donation is a lot like that, we’ve had to change and adapt.   We were one of the first 5 cars-for-charity operations. We built our model after a group in Texas who came up with this genius idea of turning ‘One man’s junk into another man’s tax deduction.’  As a girl who was a mechanic assistant (to her dad) since the age of 6, Kidney Cars donation was a job tailored to a specific skill set which felt, I alone possessed.  I spent years combing swap-meets and wrecking yards with my dad for parts, I spent many hours over open pans of gasoline with a wire brush cleaning up gunky car parts (in case you wonder what’s wrong with me), and using my tiny child fingers to reach into the tight places of a motor with a wrench to get to the spark plugs.  We never had less than 8 vehicles sitting around the property (some were ours, most were my dad’s customers).  But I grew up loathing the junk yard that was my East County San Diego home.  When I went to college, I was hired as a research assistant at the Brigham Young University Library working on critically important Jewish-American literature projects which required yearly grant renewals.  I became pretty good at reporting with great care, the work that was being done, and helping the Humanities Department to obtain the grants necessary to finish the work.  It was deeply satisfying work, and I immersed myself in the materials celebrating the country’s most well known authors and screenwriters in American history.  I am so grateful, I am at a loss for words to describe what those years of experience did for me, or to say how those books and ideas influenced me for good.   After college, a friend who knew I wrote grants told me I should work for his mom ‘for the summer.’ She was starting a car donation program.  Imagine my shocking realization at the convergence between my past life as a mechanic assistant and present life as a grant writer/ fundraiser.  Can you imagine? But there it was, a job tailor made for me.  I had illusions of grandeur of clearing out every house in the country that looked like mine growing up; littered with derelict Volkswagens and Ford trucks. The heavens presented me a way to clean up every community of junk cars leaking their oil and antifreeze into the bare dirt where they’d been parked for 3 years.  This is where Kidney Cars was born.  The key was the free towing and the tax deduction.  Keep in mind, that up until around 1990 it would cost you $30-80 to hire a wrecking yard to come get your old car.  The world changed because of charity car donation.  We created a program where the charity would pick up your car for FREE, and then hand you a tax deduction (often times better and easier than trying to sell the broken down car yourself). I was armed with the goods to make this happen and Utah picked up what I was laying down. No state in America is as generous as Utahns when it comes to charitably taking care of their own. We have received a letter from every Utah governor since 1990 thanking us for helping Utahns in a way government never could. We have partnered with other charities to get the jobs done: hospital systems, social workers, groups that promote organ donation and who scour centralized medical records to find those at highest risk of kidney disease through AI.  Kidney Cars has provided an incredibly long and smooth ride, but we’ve easily racked up 350,000 metaphorical miles on that engine. It’s time for an overhaul.

Times change. After 30 years of experiencing the delirious generosity Utah Kidney Cars donors and building a brand Utahans could trust, came the competitor interlopers: Out of state 3rd party  operators and out-of-state charity advertisements.  They advertise for car donations in Utah from New York, New Jersey and California but the money doesn’t stay in Utah.  Sadly the funding is not disseminated TO UTAHNS.  There have even been outright fraud operators, saying they were “charities,” but were handing out vacation hotel stays instead of tax receipts. Who knows where the money goes? There were BIG businesses interloping charity donations through the pay-per-car managing of car donations.  Yes, it’s just like the mom-and-pop stores being driven out of business around 1910 by bigger operators. Unfortunately, we built such an internet friendly model for car donation, but too few people do enough online research to understand that out of state operators (where charity is concerned) literally rob the neediest Utahans of charity funding: housing, medical car, kidney transplant costs, transportation to and from dialysis.   That’s how we started the Utahns helping Utahns campaign.  The idea is, sometimes bigger isn’t better.  Bigger sometimes mean sharing the charity dollars with businesses not patients. Many smaller charities have turned to these 3rd party businesses to run their car donating programs.  While it allows the charity to focus on their charitable mission, they lose up to 40% of the money earned on every car donation.  By using the local web address to make a Kidney Kars donation, 100% stays in Utah and Idaho to help locals.  While some of our partners must rely on 3rd part car companies to manage their donations, we still do it the old fashioned way by answering our own phone.  That way, we’re not paying someone else to do it.  That way, we give the most amount of money possible, directly to the kidney patients in Utah and Idaho who need it the most.

Unlike what happened to small businesses because of the advent of internet shopping, car donation is actually better at mico-performing for locals.  Higher accountability, and providing funding to the medically needy in Utah and Idaho communities. Where charity car donation is concerned, bigger is not better.  Bigger means, less money goes to the charity, and more money goes to the businesses that run the charity program.  Kidney Kas has resisted this change by remaining hyper-local in order to provide maximum charity funding, without needing to a 3rd party doing the work. We do our own work. So research before donating a car–sometimes a slicker website, and 24 hour phone operators are convenient, but they rob the charitable work of the money intended to fund the mission.  Please keep this in mind when considering who to donate your car to.  When you call our (801) 226-5111 number or visit your call/donation lands in Provo.  So if your call doesn’t land in Provo, it’s a NO GO.  See what I did there?  We’re in our Provo, Utah office 9-5/ M-F (801) 226-5111. Free 48 hour towing and  the HIGHEST tax deduction that also keeps the donation funds local, to help Utah and Idaho Kidney patients who need it most.

The time your daughter got a BFA in graphic design because she grew up doing all the Kidney Kars/ graphics

Special thanks to my daughter for these designs to help promote  for the December 2021 year-end Kidney Kars promotion of the NKF Utah & Idaho.

For the past 10 years she has  volunteered by taking the high quality photos at our yearly events (every Kidney Walk, Golf Tournament, and Kidney Camp). She has volunteered to run the art therapy sessions at the youth camps, done a lot of heavy lifting (boxes of t-shirts, banners and TONS of bottled water). She and her brother have traveled long distance through Idaho and Utah with their mama to meet hundreds and thousands of kidney folks over the years.  We know and deeply admire the people we serve. We are grateful for their examples of emotional and physical resilience to fight for their lives.  We are always enriched by their attitudes and friendships.  Fulfilling a charitable mission to serve Utah and Idaho kidney patients requires volunteers year after year. To use a phrase: IT TAKES A VILLAGE.  I am grateful part of the village is my own kids.  They haven’t always come willingly because teenagers have their own lives. But they have grown up seeing how Kidney Cars donations are a vital, life-blood key to our ability to generate the funds given to the neediest people who require: expensive medical care, hundreds of miles of transportation per week, stable housing, and specialized kidney nutrition (just to stay alive).  We wish each patient who qualifies for a transplant to get one. We wish for better medical and data driven technologies to one day end, or at least delay the onset of kidney failure.  But in the meantime, while we serve those with the greatest needs:  We’re grateful for the generosity of Utah and Idaho Kidney Kars donors who donate their cars to fund National Kidney Foundation of Utah & Idaho services.  We are grateful to the social workers who help us find kidney patient in greatest need and in some cases answer their prayers.  Kidney Kars donation save and preserve lives.  I am glad my children see how wonderfully generous and resilient people can be when we try.  So if you have an old car to donate, and you want your donation to benefit Utah and Idaho kidney patients, I am proud to say there is one clear choice:  Utah’s #1 original car donation since 1990. Your charitable car donation is the ‘horsepower’ behind our mission.   Donate before December 31st for a 2021 tax deduction.  Thank you!

Thank you for the Kidney Patient Scholarship Aid

Dear Deen Vetterli and the National Kidney Foundation of Utah & Idaho,

I would like to take this opportunity to express my utmost gratitude for Kidney Patient Educational Scholarship.  Over the course of my time at Brigham Young University, I have encountered many challenges that many students my age are not required to experience. Such as, protecting my health, and that of my newly transplanted kidney (a gift from my mom) due to Covid. It has  been an unanticipated challenge.  However, I have been able to attend many of my pre-med classes online, thanks to your scholarship. I have received many blessings, not only from my mother for giving me life, but for again giving my life by donating her kidney.  The emotional support of my family, and the financial scholarship aid from the National Kidney Foundation of Utah. Not only has this assistance allowed me to prioritize my new health, post kidney transplant, but has given me meaningful opportunity to seek meaningful and substantial opportunities to connect with others, volunteer, and participate in school in a way I hadn’t imagined when Covid first began circulating in 2020.  Thank you for allowing me to be of service at the Kidney Walk and to give the blankets our family made together as a project, to those still on dialysis.  Thank you so much for all of the work you do.  I know it takes many Kidney Kars donations to help as many kidney patients and families as you do.


KH (Kidney Transplant recipeint, Sept 2018)

Why donate your Kidney Car in December 2021

Why donate your Kidney Car in December?

Aside from the obvious (snow-towing & parking violation situations) it’s also the end of the tax year.  Charitable car donations made in Utah and Idaho before December 31st will provide you with a 2020 tax write off. So if you’ve got a car on the street or in the driveway you’re not using, put it into gear for the National Kidney Foundation of Utah & Idaho kidney patient programs by donating to or call locally 9-5/M-F at (801) 226-5111  Donating in December assures more help to Utah and Idaho kidney patients during the critical holiday and winter months.  When it’s hard for patients to afford both heat and medications, your car donation provides us with the funding to help them.

What about the free towing?

  • it’s FREE
  • takes as little as 24-48 hours (or more if you need time to get it ready!)
  • you do NOT have to be there when the car’s towed

What about the tax deduction?

The IRS allows donors to claim one of two values as the deduction.  Obviously newer model vehicles with lower miles will give you the best tax deduction. But we also accept any vehicle with a clear title, 4 inflated tires and a complete engine/transmission (doesn’t need to work, it just needs to be IN THE CAR).

  1. Up to $499 (generalized tax receipt)
  2. The Car’s actual selling price

So you can claim either the $499 or the car’s actual selling price, whichever is highest.  The National Kidney Foundation of Utah & Idaho is required to notify you of the car’s selling price over $500 so you can make the choice how much to claim.

Who benefits from my Kidney Kars donation?

If you use the local Utah & Idaho kidney kars website to donate, 38% goes directly to serve over 3,000 Utah and Idaho kidney dialysis patients through Medical Financial Aid.  The National Kidney Foundation of Utah & Idaho provides aid to help patients with: medical bills, medications, rent, utilities, transportation, medical kidney nutrition supplements, and dental bills.  Most of the financial aid is provided to patients trying to become eligable for the kidney transplant waiting list.  This requires patients to pay off medical bills, have 100% updated dental work (any cavity or infection can cause a donated kidney to reject), and keep the patient in stable housing.  The medical kidney nutrition is vital, since it allows the patients blood work to show healthy ranges of nutrients important to sustain a donated kidney (iron, oxygen, calcium, etc).


Make sure to donate locally to ensure maximum use of your donation.

Most car donation programs are not local to Utah and Idaho, and do not benefit Utah or Idaho patients.  So donating to assures you maximum accountability that your donation is going where we say it’s going.  Donations made locally help local friends and family.


Make your car a Kidney Car, a car that saves lives.

M-F/ 9-5 (801) 226-5111 or



Covid and Kidney Disease March 2020- November 2021

Remember the roaring 20’s New Years Eve parties we had December 31, 2019?

The flailing carefree fun we had dressing in pin stripe Zoot Suites and flapper dresses?  Today is 11/11/2021 and New Years Eve of 2019 feels like a million-emotional years ago.  Shortly into January of 2020 we began learning about Covid-19.  It was a blip at first, like the H1N1 virus from 2009.  It was a small byline. But then it began: the cruise ships, the travelers, the doctors all giving reports of the rapid spread.  We understood little, maybe we felt Covid was hyped by the CDC epidemiologists, anxious to shine in their moment of expertise.  By March 14th we were asked as a country to quarantine, schools went online, work turned into Zoom meetings and 5,000 emails a day, hospitals braced themselves.  It suddenly became an ideological battlefield of freedom, and a matter of sustaining the economy. The food and toilet paper went missing from grocery store shelves as we locked down. We shopped feeling self-conscious about the masks we wore looking for friendly eyes (or defiantly facing other shoppers bare faced to prove a point). We needed anti viral cleaning solutions, hand sanitizer, PPE.  Healthy people took it in stride.  But those with suppressed immune systems, lung disease and the elderly –and those who take care of them–were listening very carefully. Rest homes were  ground zero. Family’s pulled their loved ones out full time care units.  The world, the economy, and our personal lives affected by the change. But we were in it together, like 9/11 or were we? Turns out we weren’t in it together.

The National Kidney Foundation of Utah & Idaho represents a community of immune suppressed  individuals.

All kidney patients are immune suppressed either because their kidneys don’t filter poisons/toxins which made them sick or because they’ve had a transplant and used immunosuppressive drugs to protect their body from rejecting the transplant. On the forefront of our mission was the protection of the most venerable kidney patients.  Kidney patients who had already had to quit their jobs, not because of sickness per se, but because they didn’t have insurance or good-enough insurance, or money to pay for dialysis or qualify for the transplant waiting list.  Kidney patients are often placed in a no-win situation of accepting Medicare to help pay for dialysis treatments. The National Kidney Foundation of Utah & Idaho struggled against Utah and Idaho’s popular notions of patriotism and individualism, and anti vaccination sentiments in order to provide certified, correct, medical information about how to avoid contacting Covid-19. Our social media was littered with “sheeple” comments we had to erase. We stood fast in protecting Kidney Patient’s right to fight for their health in order to qualify for a kidney transplant. We did not need bullyies disparaging their efforts to remain Covid free.  During the socio-idological battle, not only were kidney patients losing transplanted kidneys to Covid, but seemingly healthy people were losing their kidneys BECAUSE of Covid.  It is estimated that 1 in 5 people in ICU (due to Covid) would emerge “recovered” from Covid, but needing dialysis treatments due to the kidney damage it caused.

What the NKF of Utah & Idaho desires above all is to protect the right for people (already struggling with kidney failure) to feel our love and admiration for their battle.

Anyone who has ever been on the transplant waiting list, who has received a kidney transplant, can tell you, that doing so is to earn an unofficial Master Degree of Public Administration.  We were fighting a vociferous, antagonistic community who incited “Natural Selection” as the way to handle Covid: anti establishment, anti medical doctors, anti vaccinators.  That’s an amazingly murderous and chilling sentiment.  The last thing the NKF of Utah & Idaho wanted was an ideological battle pointing out the selfishness of the truly fortunate (healthy) people (who have never needed to ponder their health or their own mortality) dictating rules of this battle.  Often those born will chronic illness like CF, MD, diabetes or Asthma did nothing to deserve being sick, besides be born with a genetic propensity for illness.  Masks were supposed to be used as a “love thy neighbor” effort. It indicated willingness to “keeping our own germs/saliva droplets to ourselves.” Instead, what we saw was defiant non mask wearing people flaunting their fortune of good health, willing to spew their literal spit droplets into everyone’s faces with 100% certainty that they had every AMERICAN FREEDOM to do so.  We understand death is part of life, and sickness is a reality for everyone with a body.  But do people have the right to spread disease, essentially killing off the sick and infirm?  It was a very discouraging time to be an immune compromised person. Many quietly let go. It has been discouraging to be a brave soul willing to fight for life, even with kidney disease. The NKF of Utah & Idaho waged, with all our courage, a war of correct information regarding Covid and withstood vitriolic damnation of many ‘patriots.’ While we were trying to ‘suffer with those who suffer’, and live with a certain humility to serve ‘the least of these’, the Patriots didn’t want to wear face masks. Then, after the vaccine was developed even the President who quietly got and recovered from Covid (with the help of the country’s best doctors and available treatments), got vaccinated.  Around then, the patriots decided the mask was ok in public–but the vaccine was not. The misinformation had gone so far, they Boo-ed their president when he suggested everyone should be vaccinated.  Then finally, as we enter the last stages of pandemic, every battle fatigued Utah and Idahoan simply let nature take it’s course to the stage in which today, The Deseret News declared as “BONKERS numbers of Covid Cases and Covid deaths.”  Bonkers… Very well put Lisa Riley Roche.

A few Utah and Idaho kidney patients, we know personally, wanting to maintain their anti-establishment ideology of anti vaccination, ultimately lost their lives or their transplanted kidney after contacting Covid.

The irony of this situation is that — it was science gave them that miracle of a kidney transplant to begin with. But mistrust and misinformation that has been sown since March of 2020 caused people, even kidney patient to trust alternative news and doctors advice.  I wish those who avidly support the anti-medical establishment, and pass along Covid misinformation at their daily patriot-parade, can stop for one second, to really take in the damage to the families left behind when a loved one dies. I wish the could see how they have unintentionally pledged trillions of dollars to the medical establishment to care for the collapsed lungs and Covid-stroke damage done to those “lucky enough” to survive the ICU.  The utter tragedy of losing a transplanted kidney to misinformation may border on criminal. But who is to blame?  The mainstream media?  The President?  Doctors? The Government? When it comes to protecting your health and your life–what does it matter, who is to blame? When it it gone, it’s gone. When you are dead or sick, you can not roll back time. Death and sickness is a human fact that can not be altered. So do you want to care for your fellow man? Or nah.

Working in public health, protecting the sick who are fighting for their lives– as pandemic rages– became unpopular in Utah and Idaho.While everyone celebrates and supports organ donation, protecting oneself from Covid (in honor of the family who donated a kidney) became, by some alternate universe reality, almost an act of treason against American Freedom.

Are we so enraptured with being ‘right’ that we will unintentionally kill the elderly of our churches over our principles?

Is Covid worth dying for if it can be so easily prevented? Are hygiene and face masks such a high price to pay for freedom from illness? Do you know if your blood has a propensity to clot?  Well getting Covid is not when I’d like to find that out.  But that’s me.  So in light of all that has transpired since March of 2020, and in light of the BONKERS numbers of Covid in Utah and Idaho I would like to offer my humble opinion:

  1. Continue to wear masks in public spaces and around the vulnerable sick/elderly, or just everyone because you don’t know who is sick
  2.  Get vaccinated, and reduce your risk of ‘bad covid’
  3. If you are immune-compromised ask your doctor if getting the vaccine booster is right for you
  4. Wash your hands after you visit the grocery store or church
  5. Don’t go to work/church/school/a Jazz game if you are sick
  6. Eat your vitamins
  7. Don’t smoke

We get one life. Join us in choosing to live it the best we can– in health and safety.

Live in spite of the voices in this community bullying us into ‘doing less’ to protect ourselves. It gives us no pleasure to learn of vociferously unvaccinated freedom loving friends and family members stricken with Covid.  At the time of this writing, there are 4 oxygen canisters being passed around my own extended family members because they believe the government is at the helm of some kind of evil conspiracy to force them into vaccination.  They are paying for that belief with their lungs and the remaining years of their lives.