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Founded 1995; 22 years ago (1995)
Founder Chaim Mintz
Type Non-profit
Focus Needs of Jewish children and their families
Area served
United States and Canada
Method Personal guidance and educational resources
$29 million (2010)
Slogan Because kids are our future.
Website U.S.: http://www.kars4kids.org/
Canada: http://www.kars4kids.ca

Kars4Kids is a multinational non-profit national car donation organization based in Lakewood, New Jersey and Toronto, Ontario which donates its proceeds to Oorah, an incorporated Orthodox Jewish kiruv (outreach) organization dedicated to "awakening Jewish children and their families to their heritage."[1] Kars4Kids is a United States based 501(C)3 non-profit organization.[2] It is a gold level participant in GuideStar's information exchange,[3] receives Charity Navigator's "poor" rating of one out of a possible four stars,[4] and has been criticized for inadequately disclosing its religious mission.[5] It was founded in 1994 by Rabbi Chaim Mintz.[6]


Kars4Kids is a registered 501(c)3 operating in the United States and Canada, and takes donations of vehicles, accepting over 40,000 cars annually.[7]

In 2010 Kars4Kids reported revenue of $29.1 million and expenses of $31.1 million.[8]

Donations to Kars4Kids benefit the Oorah (Joy for Our Youth, or J.O.Y.), a national organization with a stated goal of addressing the "educational, material, emotional and spiritual needs of Jewish children and their families",[9] and whose mission, according to CharityWatch, appears to be "to persuade secular Jewish families to take on a more Orthodox Jewish lifestyle."[5]


Kars4Kids offers financial assistance to students to help pay for private school tuition and GED testing.[10] They also sponsor a youth program known as Chillzone, an after-school program teaching Jewish culture and moral values.[11] Additionally, they sponsor the summer camp TheZone,[12] which operates Jewish sleepaway camps in the upper Catskill region of New York State.[13] They also offer small grants to other nonprofit organizations,[14] and in 2016 Kars4Kids awarded $5,000 to Girls on the Run International.[15]

The organization hosts regular coat and clothing giveaways for the needy nationwide, including in Harlem, Washington, DC, and in Newark, New Jersey where they held a give-away together with Newark Mayor Cory Booker. [16][17]

Prior to the start of the 2012 school year, the Chairman of the NYC Housing Authority in partnership with Kars4Kids distributed school supplies and backpacks to more than 3,000 children in Queens Housing projects.[18] Around that same time period with New York City Councilman James Vacca they distributed free backpacks in the Bronx as part of a "back-to-school initiative aimed at helping struggling families with the rising expenses of school supplies." [19] In Brooklyn, Congressman Ed Towns and Kars 4 Kids distributed winter jackets to underprivileged children, including at the legendary Marcy Avenue Houses. [20]

The organization saw a boom in donated cars following Hurricane Sandy, with owners donating cars totaled by hurricane damage.[21] [22]

After being contacted by the NYPD per the Moore family, the charity auctioned off a 2003 Ford Explorer in which two children drowned after being swept from their mother's arms during Hurricane Sandy. The auction proceeds went to raise money for coats for the needy.[23] Kars 4 Kids worked with United States Representative Michael Grimm to distribute over 1,000 children’s coats and other assorted clothing items to Staten Island residents affected by the hurricane.[24]

In 2014, Kars4Kids released an app for Android, Kars4Kids Safety,[25] which aims to prevent accidental deaths of children by parents forgetting them in their cars while the temperature is hot. The app syncs with the car's Bluetooth technology, to set off an automatic alert when the phone’s Bluetooth disconnects from the car’s.[26]


Kars4Kids is well known for its jingle;[27] the group's director of public relations stated that the song was written in the late-1990's by a volunteer, with music adapted from Country Yossi's song "Little Kinderlach".[28] The jingle was first used in radio commercials broadcast in the New York City area, by 2004 the ads began to play in other markets such as Chicago, and later nationally as part of radio network ad time.[29] In 2014, Kars4Kids introduced a television commercial featuring the jingle.[29]

The jingle has become the subject of public ridicule, as critics have considered it to be an annoyance; it was described by San Francisco Chronicle journalist Peter Hartlaub as an "assault on [the] senses".[30] On November 4, 2010, Don Imus was caught on a hot mic mocking a Kars4Kids ad during a commercial break of his radio show Imus in the Morning, telling the group to "go to hell" and jokingly blurting that he would "give you my Bentley, you moron."[29][31] Imus later apologized.[29][31] Vulture jokingly declared that the television version of the ad would bring end times.[29] In 2014, it was referenced in a Saturday Night Live sketch parodying the talk show Charlie Rose, wherein the co-developers of the Central Intelligence Agency's "enhanced interrogation techniques" program claimed that the agency's other methods included Time Warner Cable customer service, TSA screenings, and the Kars4Kids jingle.[32][29][31] In September 2016, the jingle was also referenced during an episode of Last Week Tonight with John Oliver, in which Oliver declared that the Clinton Foundation had become "the only charity that inspires more visceral anger" than Kars4Kids.[33]

Disclosure concerns[edit]

The organization has been criticized for inadequately disclosing its Jewish educational work.[34][35] In 2009, Joy for Our Youth paid $65,000 in fines in Pennsylvania;[36] while Kars4Kids paid $65,000 in fines in Oregon[37] in settlements reached with the respective state attorneys general as a result of their contention that the organization had to more clearly state that the beneficiaries were of a "certain religious affiliation." In Oregon, the attorney general added that Kars4Kids failed to disclose that its offer of a "free vacation" for vehicle donors was designed to recruit people to attend timeshare presentations.[37]


  1. ^ "Oorah.org". Retrieved 17 September 2014. 
  2. ^ "Oorah.org - Tax exempt status". Retrieved 17 September 2014. 
  3. ^ "Kars4Kids Inc". Retrieved 2016-03-23. 
  4. ^ "Charity Navigator - Rating for Kars4Kids". 
  5. ^ a b "Catchy Jingle Not a Green Light to Donate". Retrieved 2015-08-25. 
  6. ^ "What is Kars for Kids – What Does Kars4Kids Do?". www.kars4kids.org. Retrieved November 14, 2016. 
  7. ^ "Insurance Undertow For Flood Car Donations". The NonProfit Times. 
  8. ^ "Nonprofit Report". GuideStar USA. Retrieved 2013-02-13. 
  9. ^ "Kars4kids - About our Charity". Kars4Kids. Retrieved February 14, 2013. 
  10. ^ "Kars4Kids | Choice in Education School Grant". www.kars4kidstuition.org. Retrieved 2017-02-27. 
  11. ^ "Our Sponsor: Kars4Kids | ChillZone". ChillZone. Retrieved 2017-03-22. 
  12. ^ "Kars for Kids and TheZone connection". www.thezone.org. Retrieved 2017-03-22. 
  13. ^ "Jewish Sleepaway Camps- TheZone". www.thezone.org. Retrieved 2017-03-22. 
  14. ^ "Kars For Kids Small Grant Program | Kars4Kids Grants". www.kars4kidsgrants.org. Retrieved 2017-04-04. 
  15. ^ Desk, BWW News. "Kars4Kids Awards $5,000 Grant To Girls On The Run International". Retrieved 2017-04-04. 
  16. ^ Kars-4-Kids Gives Away Coats in Newark; CBS; New York; retrieved March 2013.
  17. ^ Kars...to Give-away 1000 Coats...; Goddard.org; retrieved March 2013. Archived March 21, 2013, at the Wayback Machine.
  18. ^ NYCHA Chairman John Rhea, Council Member Ruben Wills & Kars4Kids Host Backpack Give-Away
  19. ^ "Kars4Kids Partners with NYC Councilman James Vacca for Back to School Backpack Giveaway". 
  20. ^ "Congressman Ed Towns Teams Up With Kars4Kids For A Back To School Backpack Giveaway". 
  21. ^ "Kars4Kids Flooded with Hurricane Sandy Car Donations". 
  22. ^ PHOTOS: Kars4Kids Flooded with Hurricane Sandy Car Donations | LakewoodLocal Archived January 30, 2013, at the Wayback Machine.
  23. ^ "Tragic S.I. SUV going to Kars4Kids". 
  24. ^ "Kars 4 Kids Teams To Donate Over 1,000 Children's Coats On Staten Island". 
  25. ^ "Kars4Kids Safety - Android Apps on Google Play". play.google.com (in en_US). Retrieved 2017-04-04. 
  26. ^ "Kars4Kids Releases Free App to Prevent Parents from Unknowingly Leaving Children in Hot Cars - Association for Early Learning Leaders". www.earlylearningleaders.org. Retrieved 2017-04-04. 
  27. ^ "If the 'Kars for Kids' song gives you the kreeps, you'll want to read this". Chicago Tribune. March 20, 2009. 
  28. ^ "A Brief History of the Inane Kars 4 Kids Jingle You Can't Get Out of Your Head". Billboard. October 28, 2016. 
  29. ^ a b c d e f "1-877-KARS-4-KIDS: Behind the Most Hated (and Best) Jingle of All Time". Noisey. Vice. Retrieved 25 August 2016. 
  30. ^ Hartlaub, Peter (February 3, 2011). "Great, now my toddler is singing 1-877-KARS-4-KIDS". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved February 12, 2013. 
  31. ^ a b c "MORNING ROUNDUP: Don Imus Apologizes for Telling Kids' Charity Singer to 'Go to Hell'". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 25 August 2016. 
  32. ^ "CIA Torture Report Becomes 'SNL' Comedy Fodder". Deadline.com. Retrieved 25 August 2016. 
  33. ^ "John Oliver Breaks Down Every Scandal Plaguing Clinton and Trump Ahead of Tonight's Big Debate". Mediaite. Retrieved 4 December 2016. 
  34. ^ Kars4Kids Steers Donors in the Wrong Direction; November 20, 2009 article; Daily Finance; retrieved February 2013.
  35. ^ Answer Man: That little ditty about donating your car can drive you crazy, Bellville-News-Democrat , March 1, 2013
  36. ^ Nonprofits for Kids Accused of Misleading Donors, January 30, 2009 article at "The Pottstown, PA Mercury"; retrieved 2/20/2013. Archived July 12, 2014, at the Wayback Machine.
  37. ^ a b Charity Misled Donors, AG Says; April 15, 2009 article at Medford, Oregon "Mail Tribune"; retrieved 2/20/2013.

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