We are supported by corporate sponsorships, individual donors and local foundations. We hope
to expand our donor family with the marketing and visibility our program naturally produces.
We have a great story to tell and we love to marry our students’ accomplishments to
corporate culture for the mutual benefit of the MINDDRIVE program and our corporate partners and individuals that believe there is a better way to educate our children.

MINDDRIVE Program Sponsors

  • asme_logoASMEAmerican Society of Mechanical Engineers Foundation has provided grants for our students for the past 2 years. Their assistance helps cover some of the costs associated with producing our classes, purchasing our cars, and providing technological advice and mentorship to our MINDDRIVE group. We are looking forward to a long relationship with this group!
  • sponsor_autodealers_bwAUTOMOBILE DEALERS ASSOCIATION OF GREATER KANSAS CITYWe’ve been the recipient of grants for the past 3 years and are very excited for the partnership with this relevant group! They host us annually at the Kansas City International Auto Show, which is a wonderful opportunity for our students to present their car projects to the public. We appreciate the exposure! They have also provided the space for our annual Fundraising events, “Paving The Way” which take place in conjunction with the events of the Auto Show, giving free admittance to those attending our event.
  • bridgestone_03BridgestoneThey have provided wheels and tires along with their tire technology expertise from the very beginning of the Automotive Design Studio. They’ve allowed us to use their Proving Grounds in Fort Stockton, Texas for 2 years in a row to analyze the efficiency of our car projects: Project Lola and Project Lotus. They’ve treated our students to an Indy event at the Kansas Speedway, hosted our car in their trade show booth in Gasoline Alley during the Indianapolis 500 events of 2010 and 2011, taken the MINDDRIVE proto-type car with them to Earth Day on the Mall in Washington DC, and their friendship is invaluable to us! The Director of Innovation and Development of Racing and Consumer Tires, Marty Yurjevich is a member of the MINDDRIVE Executive Board.



  • hertz_03Hertz Hertz is proud to help sponsor the MINDDRIVE team on their latest adventure and pursuit of real-world education and sustainability best practices. At Hertz, they are working to enhance the communities they serve through volunteerism, philanthropy and provision of sustainable mobility options such as EVs and hybrids. Visit HertzLivingJourney.com to learn more about Hertz’s sustainability and green fleet efforts.
  • sponsor_kcpl_bwKCP&LTheir sponsorship to support the MINDDRIVE program means a lot because it isn’t simply them giving us money. They’ve become a partner in our success, providing ideas, mentors, board involvement, and exposure to the great events they’ve been involved in around the city. Our students learn what it means to provide alternative, clean fuel, not only for their cars, but for our city and that’s a great lesson for us all!
  • vmllogoVMLThere are wonderful, caring people that work at VML Advertising and a group of them got together to help us with our live webpage for the Coast To Coast trip. They worked long hours during their own personal time to get it done and we are so grateful. Then, they created the Social Fuel Tour of 2013 which garnered nearly half a billion media impressions and worldwide press.

MINDDRIVE Major Donors

  • Americo Michael Merriman witnessed the students in action during our annual “Paving The Way” fundraiser when they completely assembled our media darling, Project Lola, from wheels and tires, to rear suspension to adding the body – all in about 6 minutes. What a team! Thanks for recognizing the talents of the students in the Automotive Design Studio!
  • The Crosby Kemper Foundation  It means a lot when a fairly young organization can attract the interest of a foundation with the stature of The Crosby Kemper Foundation. We are very grateful for the members of the Board of Directors who said YES in such a meaningful way. Thank you!
  • Rick Crouch  A long-time “car guy”, Rick has been a friend of MINDDRIVE since DAY ONE. He and founder, Steve Rees, are cut from the same cloth and love to push the envelope not only in terms of what a car is able to do, but also in designing a sustainable life for our students. Thank you Rick!
  • The Karbank Family Foundation  We have an incredible building with classroom space and workshop space for a beautiful, affordable price. We are so grateful! Their financial commitment goes well beyond providing a wonderful space, too.
  • Phil Kirk You would be hard-pressed to find anyone more passionate about the education of students from the urban core of Kansas City. Phil has been working tirelessly to provide better facilities and programs that reach these kids and provide the same opportunities as those with who are more fortunate. Phil Kirk has become our greatest Ambassador and is often seen down at the shop on Saturday with a friend or two that he wants to introduce to the students. He’s the first customer for our “kit car” project for 2013 and we are excited for him to be driving our newly designed, prefabricated and modernized, all-electric Karmann Ghia!
  • Kirk Foundation  Steady and consistent. The Kirk Foundation has been generous and consistent because they believe in making a difference in the way students learn and retain the science, math, and technology that will lead us into the future. They have stepped up and said they believe in these students, and what could be more powerful than that!?
  • Shirley & Barnett Helzberg Foundation  It’s a natural fit for the Helzberg’s since many of our students come to our program from the Charter School they co-founded, University Academy. Barnett comes to the shop and stands in amazement of all they are accomplishing and asks each student what they are working toward. He’s mentoring; imagine that!
  • Tom McDonnell Foundation  Tom McDonnell has been a key sponsor to the MINDDRIVE program and we share his passion for enhancing education for today’s youth. The Foundation’s generous contributions have made a huge difference in the development of what MINDDRIVE can be, helping us to expand our services and reach more students. We are so honored to be on their roster of support and look forward to a continuous dialog about innovation.
  • Price Family Foundation  We’re so grateful for the underwriting of the expansion of our program into more schools this year, tripling our reach from the 2012/13 program. Having a representation of students from 15 area schools is something we couldn’t have achieved without the help of this passionate family, dedicated to education for the urban sector of Kansas City, Missouri and Kansas City, KS.
  • Joe Robinson From the very beginning, Joe has supported the staff of MINDDRIVE through his generous montly contribution, understanding the importance of cash flow when you’re moving from start-up to a 2nd and 3rd phase organization.
  • Eric Schwartz & Debra Fram Eric and Debra have a keen interest in the environmental issues of our time. They are excited about the MINDDRIVE program and how it engages our current generation of students in ways that enhance their education around these timely issues, while creating global citizens that are passionate about new fuel sources for automobiles, solar powered street lighting and other projects. The innovation, creativity and collaboration around these topics and more remain a top priority to the Schwartz-Fram family.
  • Jim VaughnJim has been instrumental in keeping the focus of the program on the KIDS! Yes, we make cars, but our purpose is to have a positive impact on the education of our students, getting them jazzed about learning in a new and innovative way. With his financial support, we are able to enjoy a comfortable classroom and shop space, ever expanding and reaching more students. Thank you, Jim!
  • Victor E. Speas Foundation  Bank of America has made an investment in MINDDRIVE as a growing non-profit, funding our measurable outcomes research and the expanded staff support and outside services needed to enable this important aspect which will further our reach and accessibility to the grant community.

MINDDRIVE Partners & Contributors

  • Airgas  This company provided us with the state-of-the-art equipment for 3 welding stations, a hand-held plasma cutter and safety gear for instructors and students. Their interest in the MINDDRIVE program truly comes from the heart and their desire to introduce this professional field to our students. Enhancing the vision for our students’ future includes allowing them to learn a craft that offers a very sustainable life.
  • Applebee’s  It was so great having the Applebee’s Franchisee’s step up to the plate at various stops along our Coast To Coast journey in the summer of 2012. They’ve stepped up in a more substantial way by becoming an on-going partner to MINDDRIVE and we appreciate them 100%!
  • Bob Hindson Racing  Aaron Holstrom provided the class with a “working bay” at his shop on Holmes in the early days of MINDDRIVE’S development – it was the perfect location and served us well until we could find a more permanent solution. Thank you!
  • CCAR  Established in 1994, CCAR is a nonprofit organization that provides online Safety, Envirnomental, and Hazardous Material Training along with best practice information to the automotive industry, insurance industry, OEM’s, career and technical schools, collision and automotive repair shops, governments, mumicipalities and other organizations. MINDDRIVE is very fortunate to have a partnership that allows us to fully train our mentor, who then train our students, the importance of shop safety and how to handle hazardous material in a way that is environmentally compatible.
  • Clinical Reference Laboratory  Committed to innovation, discovery and forward thinking, we appreciate the contributions from this great company, located in the southern suburb of Kansas City. Although distant physically, they have made the close connection to the future of our students with their generous contribution, leading the way for more corporate citizens of Kansas City. We appreciate them!
  • Comfort Inn & Suites by Carlson  This hotel group offered our students a comfortable place to stay during our 2013 Social Fuel Tour trip from Kansas City to Washington DC. Every time we would enter the hotel, our students would look around and get great big smiles on their faces and say things like, “Wow! This place is great!”. We are grateful for their support and sponsorship.
  • Cosentino’s Brookside Market  We are working with the Catering team at Cosentino’s to provide lunch for our students and mentors. They also have kept us supplied in coffee and gatorade for our thirsty students and mentors! Thank you – we particularly love that you are also willing to deliver the food to us – it takes a huge burden off our shoulders.
  • DeVry University  They were updating some of their computers and donated 12 PC desktop computers to the students of MINDDRIVE. These computers were the beginning of our learning track offering: Contemporary Communications. DeVry has been able to provide scholarships for a few of our students who are not represented by one of our sponsoring schools, which we appreciate!
  • Emfluence  Our social media strategic partner, Emfluence, also provided us with design and development of our branded email platform, which enables us to communicate with our interested friends and colleagues on a regular basis, and utilize our social media tools to the best of our ability.
  • General Mill Machine Shop  This group has provided machining when we’ve needed it in a timely fashion and a smile on their faces. Thank you Buck!
  • J.B. Hodgdon Foundation  We are grateful for finding the link between the love of cars and innovation to the education of high school students, sending them on a better path toward their future. We appreciate all that J.B. and Anne Hodgdon have done for the MINDDRIVE students. They fully embody the concept of “it takes a community” to help these students! Thank you!
  • jobFig is a behavioral analytics platform that takes data from an optimized Five Factor personality assessment (6 minutes instead of 60) and predicts how a group of people will work together. As a young organization itself, it’s huge that this online personality profile testing has offered their platform to MINDDRIVE to ensure our team building efforts are the most effective! We surely appreciate the partnership!
  • Kansas City Missouri Police Department  They have provided assistance to our students in learning what they need to pass the Driver’s Permit test and will continue to help us train our students to be safe drivers. We’ve also had the privilege to use their training track facility to test the efficiency of our cars at the preliminary stage of getting them first out on the road – safely. Thank you!
  • Mark One Electric  This in-kind donation was instrumental in our expansion of services. The Mark One Professionals came in and worked through our electrical distribution in the shop and added the 220 outlets needed for our welding studio. We started offering an evening welding class in November 2013, allowing us to utilize our building in a more efficient way, and to offer more classes, ultimately reaching more students.
  • Warehouse One Mary Lou Jacoby has provided MINDDRIVE with just about every surface, storage unit, trash can, desk, chair, work bench and more. We had about 4,000 square feet of empty space from the Karbank family and with the generous donation of Warehouse One, we were able to build a shop that would be enviable of any car enthusiast.
  • Waterford Properties  Ned O’Connor supports the program through his company, Waterford Properties which is a commercial real estate company that is actively involved in the urban core of Kansas City.
  • Whole Foods  We are very fortunate to have this community-focused company, which offers wonderful opportuntites for partnership. Whole foods donated orange juice and breakfast bars to the 2013/14 program, alleviating quite an expense and providing a nutritious start to our Saturday morning classes.

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