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Minnesota Dealership Gives Local Single Mothers a “New Reality” 



Richard Herod III grew up in a single-parent household. He knows the time and resources single parents dedicate to their families every day to ensure they are healthy and happy. Now, as the vice president and managing partner of White Bear Mitsubishi in Vadnais Heights, Minn., Herod is giving back to families like his. 

Since 2019, White Bear Mitsubishi has worked with the Newgate School for their annual 12 Moms of Christmas event, where they give away vehicles stuffed with presents to a dozen single moms in the community. 

Minivan stuffed with presents
Source: White Bear Mitsubishi

“For these moms, it’s not just about the gifts. It’s about their new realities of having transportation and being able to get around,” Herod said during the inaugural Philanthropy Pitch Competition at the 2024 NADA Show Live Stage, where the dealership was one of six finalists.

The Newgate School, a non-profit automotive technical school that provides tuition-free training for underserved young adults in Minnesota, has been supplying single mothers with vehicles for 40 years. 

White Bear Mitsubishi has brought on a community of supporters in their work with the Newgate School. Local businesses donate gift cards to include with the vehicles. And other dealerships have joined the effort, including Apple Autos with various locations in Minnesota, Friendly Chevrolet in Fridley, Minn., Gilleland Chevrolet in St. Cloud, Minn., Miller Nissan in St. Cloud, Minn., and The Bear Lot in Mounds View, Minn.

The success stories Herod shared speak for themselves: 

  • Yolanda and her kids were walking four miles to and from school every day. With her new vehicle, she got two hours back in her day.  
  • Before getting her own vehicle, Destiny was spending $1000 a month on ride shares and had to turn off her cell phone at the end of each month to make ends meet.

In the last five years, the dealership and their community sponsors has given away 60 vehicles. The vehicle recipients also receive a credit for $500 of service at the dealership. In 2023 alone, the value of the cars and gifts totaled over $84,000. 

White Bear Mitsubishi is not the only franchised dealership to recognize the independence and opportunities offered by access to a vehicle. This March, four Virginia and Maryland dealers donated vehicles to the nonprofit Vehicles for Change through an NADA initiative supporting personal mobility. Read more about the program here


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