Community Involvement

Off Lease Only helped raise over $3 million for the Florida Hope Scholarship program

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Off Lease Only helped raise over $3 million for the Florida Hope Scholarship program

In an effort to combat bullying and school violence, the Florida Legislature enacted the Hope Scholarship program in 2018. It allows students to transfer to another public school or an eligible private school, if they have been the victim of bullying, harassment, robbery, threat and intimidation, or any number of other bullying or violence related problems that are plaguing our public schools today.

The program is funded by a special tax election that motor vehicle purchasers are able to opt into when they buy their car. Every car dealer in the state is required to give buyers the option to defer $105 of their sales tax to the program. This is a voluntary contribution, which many used car dealers don’t adequately represent to their customers. Off Lease Only customers on the other hand, have helped to raise over $3 million for this very worthwhile program.

The Florida Hope Scholarship is the country’s first program designed specifically for K-12 students who have been victimized by violence or bullying. In 2017, the Centers for Disease Control found that there were 18,412 reported incidences of bullying or violence in Florida high schools alone. The study found that this behavior can also lead to electronic bullying and lapsed attendance, because students felt unsafe at or on their way to/from school. The Hope Scholarship program gives students an opportunity to transfer to an out-of-district public school, or an eligible private school. Given a new environment, these students are then less likely to skip and/or drop out of school.

In order for this program to work, car dealers have to participate by informing their customers about the program, and give them the opportunity to defer $105 of their vehicle sales tax to the program. Car dealers like Off Lease Only can be designated “Partners for Hope”, when they go a step further and actively raise awareness for the program. By letting each customer know just how important this simple tax election is to the children in our state, Off Lease Only buyers have opened their hearts and helped raise over $3 million to help these at-risk students.

 

“Off Lease Only has a long-standing commitment to help make our communities a better place for all,” said Mark Fischer, founder of Off Lease Only. “We recognize the importance of education in preparing our kids to think and learn on their own, as that is the foundation for success in the workforce and in society. We are proud to be a Partner for Hope and fully support the Hope Scholarship Program to give every student the opportunity to receive the best education possible.”

“We are honored to have Off Lease Only as a partner in our mission to provide these students with the opportunity to refocus on their education in a new learning environment,” said Doug Tuthill, president of Step Up For Students. “It is because of the support of automobile dealerships like Off Lease Only that the Hope Scholarship program is possible, and we are incredibly grateful for their partnership.”

Step Up for Students, the non-profit that oversees the Hope Scholarship program, recently recognized this amazing contribution by the Finance Department staff at the Off Lease Only Orlando, Miami, Palm Beach and Ft Lauderdale locations. This is truly an incredible and worthwhile accomplishment. And we would like to thank our staff and our customers. The impact of your involvement and generosity will be felt for years to come!

For more information log onto StepUpForStudents.org!

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