Racing to raise money for nonprofits

Ben Lippert

Everyone has a story to tell. Most of these great stories go unheard by the general public because they aren’t considered “news worthy.” Check out The Juice throughout the semester to hear an average student’s story.

If you’ve ever helped a nonprofit group, you know the time and effort that goes into the job and the satisfaction you can get from helping people. Jeremy Klinger is one such student. He uses his passion for fixing and racing cars to raise money for notable charities like Children’s Home Society.

Ben: When did you start racing cars?

Jeremy: I got started in high school. Cars have always been kind of a hobby. Me and my friends have always been interested in cars, and we just bought our cars and then started buying parts.

Ben: So what kind of car do you have?

Jeremy: ’95 Acura Integra GSR

Ben: How much money have you put into that?

Jeremy: I bought the car for $3,000 and I’ve probably got about $6,000 total in it.

Ben: So how often do you race?

Jeremy: Marion (S.D.) has a drag strip and once a month they have street legals where people can go with any type of car they want and race. It doesn’t matter if they have a slow car or fast car, you can just go out and have fun.

Ben: You recently made a business out of repairing and racing cars. Where did that idea come from?

Jeremy: We wanted to take our hobby and use it as something to help people. We do it anyways so we might as well help someone in the process. The five of us got together and decided to plan a car show to help out a charity. We planned everything out; we went to news stations and radio stations to get the word out, and ended up raising about $1,500 for Children’s Home Society in one day.

Ben: Do you guys make any profit?

Jeremy: Nope. We’ve actually had a lot of help from Vern Eide. They paid for everything, so more money goes to the Children’s Home Society.

Ben: What is one of the coolest things your organization has done? Was it the one-day event for Children’s Home Society?

Jeremy: That’s the main thing for now. With that event we’ve decided we want to keep doing this for years to come so we’ve started the process of making an actual nonprofit organization so we can continue doing this.

Ben: What is the name of your nonprofit organization again?

Jeremy: Relentless Productions

Ben: Where did that name come from?

Jeremy: It’s actually our racing team’s name. We just decided to incorporate it.

Ben: Do you have any events coming up soon or over the summer?

Jeremy: The car show that we did last year, we’re doing the second annual show August 27 in Sioux Falls. We’re still working on the plans, but we have almost a whole week of events planned. We’re going to plan some smaller events throughout the summer, but that’s our main event.

Ben: Does your background in military have anything to do with your passion for cars?

Jeremy: My dad and my brother both work at a car dealership so cars have kind of been a history for my family and so has the military. I think the military has helped me instill into everything else; one of our core values is service before self, so I’ve kind of lived that in every aspect of my life.

Ben: You’re also a Union manager and student, so how much of your time does your nonprofit take, and where do you find time to fit all that stuff together?

Jeremy: Right now we try and keep it somewhat limited during the school year. We don’t want it to be a full-time job for everybody. Right now we probably meet once or twice a month, but during the summer we focus more on it.

Ben: So you graduate in May, and after that you plan on moving to Montana for Air Force?

Jeremy: On the 7th (May) I’ll be commissioned as a second lieutenant, and then I’ll be going to Brandenburg Air Force Base in California, and after my training is done there I’ll be full-time in Montana.

Ben: Do you have any words of wisdom to our readers that might be considering starting a nonprofit?

Jeremy: Use the talents that you already have. You don’t have to go out and find something new. We just started it from something we do on a normal basis, so don’t think that you have to go out of your way to start something. It will take a lot of work but you’ve already got the groundwork there.

If you’ve never helped a nonprofit group, take Jeremy’s advice and give it a shot this summer. My full video interview with Jeremy can be seen on our website under the “Juice” tab.

This is the last Average Jack of the school year, but stay tuned next fall for more student profiles. Thank you to all the SDSU students who shared their stories with me and the rest of The Collegian readership this semester.

Have a great summer everyone, and remember that being average usually translates to being superior.