During this season of giving, we wanted to share a special story about an act of generosity that recently made a big impact on Blue Ridge Public Radio and Working Wheels (formerly Wheels for Hope).
When Jim and Kendall Oliver of Asheville bought tickets for BPR’s Ticket to Ride Summer Raffle earlier this year, they did so to support the station, without a thought to actually winning the raffle. When they won, no one was more surprised than they were. They immediately wondered how they could parlay their windfall into something even more positive.
What happened next was truly unprecedented. The Olivers accepted the prize, immediately sold the vehicle back to Harmony Motors, and gave the proceeds to charity. Jim and Kendall chose to split the money between Working Wheels and Blue Ridge Public Radio. Each organization received a check for more than $15,000.
Kendall explained, “Jim and I didn’t need a new car, but there are many people who do. The program at Working Wheels is proactively changing lives for the better. And Blue Ridge Public Radio makes a difference to people throughout our region every day. We were happy to support the raffle and even happier to turn our lucky win into something beneficial for two wonderful organizations.”
The Oliver’s gift to Blue Ridge Public Radio will be used to support BPR’s news coverage of Western North Carolina. In an increasingly polarized world, public radio journalism builds bridges and fosters understanding through its reporting and storytelling. The Oliver’s generosity is an investment in journalism that matters for listeners across Western North Carolina.
For Working Wheels the gift is a game changer. Executive Director, Jamie Beasley said, “We are so grateful for the generous donation from the Olivers! Working Wheels repairs and recycles donated cars, transforming them into working wheels for working families. We will use the funds to buy parts and specialized mechanic labor to transform 10 donated vehicles into safe, reliable daily-drivers for local, working families.” Beasley continued, “These vehicles make a huge difference in the lives of the recipients and their families. A recent client referred from Helpmate used her vehicle to move out of town after her abuser was released from prison. Another vehicle recipient referred by the ABCCM Steadfast House was able to cut out 4 hours from her daily commute, allowing her to add 2 hours at work and 2 hour at home with her kids - everyday! The donation from the Olivers will help us to match one vehicle with each of our 10 partners: ABCCM Steadfast House, Community Action Opportunities, Green Opportunities, Habitat for Humanity, Helpmate, Homeward Bound, Mary Benson House, Nurse Family Partnership, Our Voice, and the YWCA. A car that starts opens the doors to education, employment, and an improved quality of life. Thank you for your part in making this happen – times 10!”
BPR’s Membership Director, Michelle Keenan said, “Each year, the most exciting part of the raffle is drawing the winning name, but we never thought someone’s good fortune would result in such an amazing gift. We are profoundly struck by the Oliver’s generous spirit. They care deeply about our community and their thoughtfulness has major impact for both organizations.”