Our Story

Our founder and president, Mike Columbus, shares how Mike’s Rides for Lives was born.

‘Non-essential’? The Stage is Set

When the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) confirmed that the first case of the novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) in the United States was found in Washington State, less than 100 miles from my home, I must admit that I felt unsure about the future.

Shortly thereafter, Governor Jay Inslee issued a statewide stay-at-home order that required every Washingtonian to stay home unless they needed to pursue an essential activity. This included a ban on all gatherings for social, spiritual, and recreational purposes, and the closure of all businesses except “essential” businesses.

Car dealerships were not deemed essential, and my dealership had to close its doors. However, there were still people that had an essential need to acquire a vehicle, and I was granted an “essential worker” status to help. It was during this time that the idea for a car giveaway charity became something I envisioned to help people that had an essential need but no financial means to acquire a vehicle.

Inspiration Strikes

During the shutdown I met a firefighter that needed a vehicle to get to work so that they could continue to combat fires. We kept our distance and completed the paperwork at the firehouse parking lot on the back of the vehicle she purchased. There were others that also had special needs. In March I was able to help 13 people and another 15 in April.

Through the rest of the year, I met others that had essential needs for a vehicle. Each of these people left an indelible mark in my life that cannot be erased.

To my surprise, 2020 finished with me having my best year ever in the car business and with that I decided to give back to the community that enabled me to have this success.

An ‘Essential’ Need: A Reliable Vehicle

In Kitsap, and surrounding counties in Washington State, there are many people that cannot afford the cost of transportation and need to receive medical treatment. Due to our location in the Puget Sound and the need to travel to Seattle for treatments, primarily by ferry, these patients find themselves in a dire financial crisis, forced to choose between paying their rent or receiving treatment.

Some need more than just transportation costs covered. There are people that need a permanent solution to get to their medical treatment or to their place of work but do not have the funds or means to purchase a vehicle.

I discovered that there are also people that need a vehicle to get out of an abusive home situation. Additionally, a family head may need a vehicle to get back and forth to put food on the table. These are the people in our community that we seek to gift a vehicle to.

Mike’s Rides for Lives – A Solution is Born

To help in these circumstances, I created Mike’s Rides for Lives, a nonprofit charitable 501 (c)(3). Its mission is to provide a vehicle at no cost each year to an individual that has a dire need as described above.

Beginning December 1, 2020, I am personally contributing $30 for every vehicle sale I make throughout the year into a designated account with the autoplex. After one year, the accounting office will provide me with the funds accumulated for the charity. This essentially means that everyone that buys a vehicle from me is a contributor.

With my donation, and donations from other generous contributors, we should be able to furnish someone with a reliable vehicle. My hope is that Mike’s Rides for Lives becomes an annual event that provides disadvantaged people with reliable transportation.

Everyone who buys a vehicle from me is a contributor!

Mike Columbus



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Your contributions are fully tax-deductible. A tax credit letter will be provided for donations over $250.

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 EIN: 86-2306262


Online donations coming soon.

For now, donations in cash can be made directly to Mike Columbus, designated for Mike's Rides. Find Mike @ Google Maps

Checks can be made out to Mike's Rides for Lives, Inc. and given in person to Mike Columbus, or mailed to:
2309 Cherish Pl. SW
Port Orchard, WA 98366-7801.

Or, call (302) 932-7296 for more info.

Have a car you'd like to donate?

Please contact Mike Columbus directly at (302) 932-7296.

need help?

First, please read our eligibility requirements.

Then, click the Apply Now button below to apply for next year's giveaway, or to nominate someone you know who is in need.

Submissions will be reviewed by the board and the selection committee.