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Carvana Gives Away an Electric Vehicle at Earth Day ATX

On April 22, 2023, thousands from the Austin Area and beyond came to the Earth Day ATX festival. With family and friends, attendees explore rich, in-depth programming, exciting new activities and engaging exhibitions. Produced by nonprofit Earth Day Austin, the Earth Day ATX festival is held annually on the campus of sponsor and host, Huston-Tillotson University, Austin's oldest higher education institute and only HBCU, and leader in environmental justice and sustainibility.

Grassroots organizations are on the front lines of the climate crisis, serving folks most impacted by rising temperatures, unpredictably severe weather, and increasing threats to public health. Often too busy for grant writing or networking, many go underfunded and under-resourced, even as they remain some of our most valuable community resources. 

Event sponsor, Carvana, donated an electric vehicle to a deserving nonprofit organization at this year’s Earth Day ATX Festival. Earth Day ATX and Carvana’s shared drive to champion an inclusive and sustainable EV marketplace for all people will culminate in a vehicle donation to one of the city’s most deserving nonprofits. The idea for the giveaway originated with Larry Franklin, founder of Black Lives Veggies The Nonprofit, a member of a group of organizers brought together by  by Earth Day Austin and Texas Electric Transportation Resources Alliance (TxETRA) to support a just transition to electric transportation in Central Texas. To ensure access to charging, Austin Energy and Smart Charge America will work with the winner and their fiscal sponsor to install vehicle charging.

Congratulations to our 5 Finalists! Austin Justice Coalition, Go Austin Vamos Austin, Branch Out, Change 1 Mind Change 1 Life, and Queertopia!

And many thanks to the amazing groups that partnered to make this happen, including: 

Earth Day Austin, Black Lives Veggies, Texas Electric Transportation Resources Alliance Education Fund, Huston-Tillotson University, Black Men’s Health Clinic, African American Youth Harvest Foundation, Black Professional Alliance , Austin Samba, Austin Area Urban League, EV Hybrid Noire, Smart Charge America and Austin Energy.

Congratulations to Queertopia, the recipient of the first ever Earth Day ATX EV Giveaway! 

Queertopia is a grassroots, critically underfunded org with lived experience that assists unhoused LGBTQ+ Austinites with housing. QT prioritizes Black and Indigenous trans people, sex workers of color, and Black elders. For the past three years, Queertopia has operated the only transitional shelter for queer Austinites.

Project Partners

Sponsored by:


How it Worked...

This program was designed to elevate and support a local organization directly serving, engaging, and supporting vulnerable communities while addressing the impact of systemic racism and/or other forms of systemic inequities, environmental justice, and/or the social determinants of health.

Applicants answered a short list of questions and sent a link to a short video sharing how their organization would use the electric vehicle to support the communities they serve.

Eligibility: The organizations were required to be a 501c3 or partner with a 501c3 fiscal sponsor, provide the necessary insurance requirements, and agree to participate in research related to vehicle use and user experience.

Selection Criteria: Candidates were asked to share ideas about how the electric vehicle would be used to advance their service to the community while sharing awareness of electric vehicles. Ideas were judged by a combination of local Austinites and equity experts from outside the Austin area. The finalists were invited to speak at the Earth Day Austin festival on April 22nd, and the winner was selected from the top 5 at a random drawing from the festival stage. 

Ideas were rated on: 1) improvement in the ability to serve a community, or in community outcomes; 2) positive impact on organizational operations; 3) positive community engagement; and 4) positive client experiences.

Listen to the Finalists

Just before the winner was announced, the finalists shared about their organizational missions. We're working on sharing video, but for now, here's the audio.

Watch Contestant Videos

Organizations had an opportunity to share a video or story about how they would use an electric vehicle. We were so inspired by these organizations, we asked them if we could include their stories here. While the videos below don't represent all of the amazing contestants, we know you will be just as inspired as we were. 

Latinitas "Latinitas' mission is to empower all girls to innovate through media and technology. Latinitas' vision is to create courageous leaders and to enhance equity and opportunity at every age. Latinitas is Austin’s only fully bilingual STEAM education nonprofit for 20 years. Latinitas’ programs are informed by a culturally-relevant framework that seeks to combat structural and institutional inequities, as well as harmful stereotypes in media and technology, that keep Latinas out of STEM industries."

10,000 Fearless First Responders "We, the 10,000 Fearless First Responders. Our mission and our purpose is to serve teach the entire area of the entire world as much as we can about disaster preparedness. We work with the city of Austin. We work with the police departments either in Austin, Pflugerville, Taylor any of our surrounding City police officers making sure that we help with minor crimes. Our job is to make sure that when it comes to any disasters we are there. We have served with our warm weather shelters when it's time to move around and make sure that our people have what they need shelter for the snow or heat we teach and train when it comes to security we also work with security any of our organizations that need assistance when going out doing different types of events we make sure that we have exactly what it is that we need we have traveled to Houston and we've helped provide with hurricane Harvey we go on to Louisiana we served in any of these hurricanes any of our flooding areas anything that our community needs we find ourselves their assisting we've traveled up to California the Bahamas working with disaster preparedness so our job is to make sure that we have exactly what it is that we need."

The Future of Food "Bringing awareness and financial support to sustainable processes and companies in the agricultural and chef industry."

Contigo Wellness Foundation

Our mission is to achieve health equity for all people of color in mental health and in trauma healing through a strategy of anti-racism and Decolonizing work from the inside out. We do this by increasing the availability of culturally and linguistically competent mental health care in historically marginalized communities through healing and access to education centered in anti-racist and decolonizing approaches, and provide financial assistance in healing spaces. Contigo Wellness believes liberation, wellness and healing are universal rights and we're passionate about ensuring our communities have this access.

Contigo Wellness was founded by a Latina psychotherapist, and former teen mother. The mission is to educate BIPOC Communities on the importance of mental healthcare by destygmatizing mental healthcare through educational workshops and awareness. In addition, by providing culturally relevant mental health care, from Mental Health providers who operate from an anti-racist and culturally appropriate lens will continue to reduce further intergenerational and racial trauma. Lastly, we’re focused on removing barriers to accessing care. Many people don't get mental health care because they can't afford it. We provide a variety of free, affordable cultural healing circles, and mental health care for people who can't afford it. Our non-profit allows people to get the help they need by increasing equity and access to mental health education and awareness to promote overall wellness.

The mission is to educate BIPOC Communities on the importance of healing and liberation from systemic oppression and oppressive systems by anti-racist and culturally appropriate healing. Our work really focuses on reducing intergenerational and racial trauma and disrupting cycles of violence. Injustice demands liberation that restores healing justice.Our program is a grassroots organization that is centered on supporting historically excluded groups find liberation and healing in their communities. We connect people to anti-racist providers and healers of color through community organizing, and advocacy. Low-income communities and communities of color experience concentrated cycles of crime without sufficient access to prevention, treatment or rehabilitation. People of color are among the most likely to be victimized and when left untreated, trauma can contribute to long-term health risks, substance abuse, loss of employment and other challenges that increase the risk of being victimized again. We truly appreciate the opportunity to apply for this earth day electric vehicle and for the opportunity to share our mission.

The Community Coalition for Health "The Community Coalition for Health (C2H) is a 501(c)(3), non-profit organization that provides well-being and health awareness services to minority communities with a focus on the Eastern Crescent of Travis County. We endeavor to empower, inform, and inspire community members to become active participants in their health outcomes. The Community Coalition for Health (C2H) provides practical solutions to address chronic disease and health disparities in our minority communities. We work in collaboration with city and county agencies and academic institutions to provide programs designed to address the negative ecological impacts of the social determinants of health."

E4 Youth "E4 Youth is a 501(c)(3) Nonprofit whose mission is to Engage, Empower, Educate and Employ the young talent of color an equitable future demands by ensuring that they are Seen, Heard and HIRED. E4 Youth core programs are the Creative Leadership Academy for college-aged youth, 'Get Creative' Enrichment Clubs for high school youth and What Once Was for all ages."

Austin Mutual Aid "Austin Mutual Aid is an organization focused on building relationships through building community. We prioritize the most vulnerable in our community and advocate for equitable sharing of resources & services."

Institute of Chicana/o/x Psychology & Community Wellness "The Institute is a community-building entity focused on wellness and strengths of the Chicana/o/x community through the lens of Chicana/o/x Psychology and mesoamerican ancestral wisdom. In our work, we address both risk and protective factors related to the wellness of the Chicana/o/x community, including historical factors of oppression as well as ancestral strengths and wisdom. We facilitate conversations about community struggles along with healthy development of self-image and positive cultural identity. We provide community platica workshops on cultural revitalization and overall community mental health and wellness by focusing on liberation, social justice, and self-determination. We also provide professional development and continuing education training for mental health professionals privileging Chicanx Affirmative approaches."

Change 1 Mind Change 1 Life

Mission: "To improve the lives of children, youth and families that experience the Child Welfare system and other Health & Human Services systems in order to ensure successful outcomes."

"Change 1 is dedicated to helping youth aging out of foster care by providing them with essential resources and support to help them transition into adulthood. Winning an electric vehicle for their nonprofit would not only advance their services to the community, but also allow them to showcase the benefits of electric vehicles and raise awareness about their environmental impact. With an electric vehicle, Change 1 could expand their reach and better serve the community by providing transportation for youth in their programs and increasing their outreach efforts. By embracing sustainable transportation, Change 1 can set an example for others and encourage more individuals and organizations to switch to electric vehicles, ultimately contributing to a cleaner, greener future for us all."

Proyecto Teatro

"ProyectoTEATRO is a non-profit organization founded in 2003 with the mission to preserve and promote the Hispanic and Latino culture through multidisciplinary performing arts and socially-responsive cultural programming in Spanish. The award-winning organization is driven by the vision to ensure arts accessibility for recent immigrant communities, first generation youth, and bicultural families of Latino/Hispanic descent in order to reduce the inadequacies facing our community in today's society."

Go Austin Vamos Austin

Our mission is to mobilize and organize community power for health equity: We break down barriers to healthy living in Austin's Eastern crescent while increasing institutional capacity to respond to those most impacted by historic inequities. We address the negative impacts of climate and health inequities in our neighborhoods of focus by increasing equitable access to healthy food and safe physical activity opportunities; building community power through leadership development, networking, and grassroots advocacy; and fostering neighborhood stability through anti displacement and community development.

GAVA would love to use an electric vehicle to support our resident-led produce distribution program, in which BIPOC leaders from our communities of focus are delivering farm-fresh organic produce from Urban Roots farm to over 90 households in North and South Austin in a pay-what-you-can model. This beautiful program has grown over the pandemic years and inspired resident leaders to think even bigger: GAVA is now leading an initiative to create a community owned grocery co-op to serve more communities in Austin's Eastern crescent. An EV would make this program even more carbon neutral, reducing our carbon footprint as we reduce food miles, and leaving more dollars to pay our delivery drivers.