On Saturday, June 8, Estrella Mountain Car Club (EMCC) donated $10,000 it raised from a car show in March to West-MEC, a public school district that provides career and technical education courses to high school students in the West Valley.
Founded in 2006 by a group of car enthusiasts, EMCC has since grown into an organization of 45 registered members. But it wasn’t until 2016 that the club decided something needed to be done for the community.
“Three years ago, the club decided we needed to try and do something more for the community, so we got our heads together and decided to put on a car show,” said Rich Davis, vice president of sales and marketing. “The show was a great success — it’s been a great success every year.”
EMCC’s car show this past March attracted more than 250 vehicles and raked in revenue of up to $20,000, with expenses of only around $8,000 to $9,000, according to Davis. The show included a DJ, flash mob, cardboard car show for kids, face-painting, Goodyear police cars and a fire truck.
“We’re constantly trying to upgrade the show so it’s not just a guys-and-gals car show, but get the families involved, and we’re working on some things to do for next year,” Davis said.
EMCC is a nonprofit 501(c)3 organization that donates or spends funds on future projects. West-MEC just made sense, Davis said.
“Over the past three years, we have provided $24,000 in funding toward West-MEC,” Davis said. “One hundred percent of the money we give them goes toward the students — there’s nothing eaten up, which is just a wonderful thing and hard to find in today’s market.”
When donated to West-MEC, the funds are allocated to students who have financial need. Joanie Woods, EMCC secretary, said the money makes a difference for students.
“A lot of the students need certifications as well — there are so many different opportunities for them (at West-MEC) that they wouldn’t have otherwise,” Woods said. “All these certifications cost quite a bit of money, and the students apply for our scholarships. (The donations) really help them.”
Maryann Babyar, counselor liaison director for West-MEC, praises the school’s relationship with EMCC.
“This partnership (with EMCC) is so amazing,” Babyar said. “It just keeps growing, and it grows because of their hearts and what they want to do for students.”
West-MEC’s goal is to prepare students for their future careers, and Babyar said donations are critical for helping those who are in need.
“Our mission is to prepare students today for tomorrow’s careers, so that’s exactly what we’re doing,” Babyar said. “We’re making sure that West-MEC and career and technical education is a pipeline, so that students at 18 years old who are graduating high school have licenses and certifications that can make the decisions they want for their future careers. We were able to give gas cards to students and help students register, so we are helping students that might not have been able to be in the program.”
Woods said one of the hardest things EMCC has to do in order to put on a car show is to find vendors, and she praises Davis for being instrumental in doing just that.
“I have to commend Rich, because he raises a lot of sponsors, and having to get the sponsors to help us is a lot of work, a lot of visitations to companies, and he does quite a bit of that,” Woods said. “He’s very dedicated and does wonderful work.”
EMCC donated $6,000 to Phoenix Children’s Hospital last year, but club members feel the money is better administered toward West-MEC, where the funds will continue to be donated in forthcoming years. Davis said knowing he is giving back to the community fills a void within himself.
“Every time we go to West-MEC’s Glendale headquarters, we feel so good about what we’re doing, and they treat us really good.”