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Home Car Culture Hagerty launches Drivers Foundation nonprofit to support car culture

Hagerty launches Drivers Foundation nonprofit to support car culture

‘Back to the Future’ DeLorean also unveiled at Amelia Island as national registry vehicle

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Hagerty is announcing this weekend at the Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance the launch of a 501(c)(3) nonprofit to advance the mission of automotive education, culture and innovation under the umbrella of the Hagerty Drivers Foundation. 

“The automobile is one of the most significant cultural achievements of modern society, but until now there has never been a coordinated effort to not only preserve that heritage but also expand and celebrate car culture itself,” said McKeel Hagerty, chief executive of the insurance, vehicle-valuation and auto enthusiast company that bears his family’s name. “That’s the gap we see the foundation filling.”

The Hagerty Drivers Foundation is “rooted in the company’s long-standing mission to celebrate car culture and preserve the simple, joyful act of driving.”

Hagerty launches the Drivers Foundation with a $2.5 million endowment to be used for car culture, automotive education and for innovation awards. 

The foundation is the culmination of an effort by the insurance company that began as the Hagerty Fund, evolved into the Collectors Foundation, and then into the RPM Foundation. 

The Drivers Foundation also incorporates another Hagerty project, the Historic Vehicle Association, which in 2013 worked with the U.S. Department of the Interior to create the National Historic Vehicle Register through the Library of Congress as a permanent archive of significant historic automobiles, motorcycles, trucks and commercial vehicles. 

In regard to the HVA, as part of the Hagerty announcement at Amelia Island, the 1981 DeLorean DMC-12 “Time Machine” from the Back to the Future movie franchise will be inducted as the 29th entry into the National Historic Vehicle Register.

The HVA, founded in 2009 and recognized as the American arm of the Federation International des Véhicules Anciens, will be part of the culture aspect of the Drivers Foundation. Among the HVA’s projects is the Cars at the Capital display on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., scheduled this year for September and to feature the DeLorean and another national register newcomer yet to be announced.

For its educational outreach, the Drivers Foundation said it will offer $400,000 to accredited educational institutions with programs that teach automotive restoration or preservation. 

“These funds will be for a combination of scholarships as well as direct program support,” according to the announcement.

The education program also will include the License to the Future initiative providing $500 or more to young drivers for driver training programs. 

“The foundation believes that a lifetime of safe driving begins with a quality driver’s training course and this initiative will help the next generation of car enthusiasts learn the skills and rules of the road they need to protect themselves and others,” according to the Hagerty news release.

The innovation awards program is designed to build on the Restore the Roar effort Hagerty staged during the early days of the coronavirus pandemic, providing $500,000 in grants to help small automotive companies which provided a half million dollars in grants to help keep small automotive companies remain in business. 

The foundation promises more information on the innovation awards program in August.

The Drivers Foundation will be led by Jonathan Klinger, a McPherson College automotive restoration graduate who most recently has been Hagerty vice president for public relations.

For more information, visit the Hagerty Drivers Foundation website.

Larry Edsall
A former daily newspaper sports editor, Larry Edsall spent a dozen years as an editor at AutoWeek magazine before making the transition to writing for the web and becoming the author of more than 15 automotive books. In addition to being founding editor at ClassicCars.com, Larry has written for The New York Times and The Detroit News and was an adjunct honors professor at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University.

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