By Madina Toure
Women Auto Know, a Flushing non-profit that helps women overcome their anxieties over auto repair, has launched a fund-raising campaign to attract more women drivers and auto shops.
Launched on IndieGogo last week, the campaign seeks to raise $600,000 over the next 60 days to fund automotive education workshops, enroll and empower new Women Auto Know members and add new pledged auto shops. The company needs a minimum of $300,000 a year to operate.
The website currently has more than 18,000 members nationwide and more than 700 pledged auto shops, said Audra Fordin, founder of Women Auto Know and fourth generation owner of the Great Bear Auto Repair on 164-16 Sanford Ave.
“The Women Auto Know workshops are now packaged to go into shops all over the nation,” Fordin said. “One woman, one driver, one auto shop at a time and we’ll be able to impact lives positively and bring earned respect into shops, which will help take the fear out of auto repair.”
Established in 2009 out of her family’s auto repair shop, Great Bear Auto Repair, Women Auto Know is a non-profit that educates women about vehicles and provides them with industry resources so they can become more confident, informed drivers. The non-profit runs free monthly DIY repair workshops for women.
The website features a user-generated auto shop directory and review community, allowing drivers to look up pledged auto shop in their area when they need some form of auto repair and enables them to communicate with one another in an online forum. The website also includes tutorials that teach basic car maintenance.
“Through our user-generated auto shop directory and review community, women empower other women to have a choice for free by sharing their experiences,” Fordin said.
Fordin, who has been in the automotive industry for 27 years and runs the shop with her father, Bill Fordin, and her cousin, Russell Fordin, pays for the non-profit out of pocket. Last year, she won New York’s Small Business of the Year Award as well as the first Female Service Shop Owner of the Year Award.
With the money raised from the campaign, the non-profit will be able to bring automotive education workshops to 400,000 drivers, attract 25,000 new Women Auto Know members and recruit an additional 1,500 pledged auto shops to its user-generated auto shop directory and review community. The money will also allow it to further enhance the infrastructure of its website, which has been up for the past 18 months and is in test mode.
“Women need a resource,” she said. “The information is available if you know where to get it.”
Reach reporter Madina Toure by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at (718) 260–4566.