Martin Schwartz Headshot

Martin Schwartz

President, Vehicles for Change

Speaker Spotlight


Martin started Vehicles for Change (VFC) in April 1999 with a $30,000 grant. The program awarded its first car in Carroll County, Maryland awarding 5 cars per month. Martin has directed an expansion that includes MD, VA, MI. VFC has changed the lives of more than 27,000 individuals through the awarding of more than 7,800 cars. In 2005 Martin launched Freedom Wheels a retail used car business, a fully owned subsidiary of VFC, the business has generated over $4M in financial support for VFC. He was selected as the 2007 Social Entrepreneur of the Year by the University of Baltimore and co-authored Effective Social Enterprise: Practical Advice and Best Practices from Leaders in the Field.

In 2015, Vehicles for Change opened the Full Circle Auto Repair and Training Center, training formerly incarcerated individuals to be auto mechanics. This highly successful program has trained and placed more than 220 graduates in high paying career leading, employment while boasting less than a 5% recidivism rate.  Full Circle now has 3 locations training more than 100 individuals per year.

In 2023, Martin and VFC developed VFC-VR a virtual reality auto mechanic training module. The National Auto Dealers Association called Vehicles for Change “the most innovative auto technician training program in America”.

Prior to Vehicles for Change, Martin started two other businesses, one for-profit, the Student Athlete Information Link (1996), an internet-based recruiting service for high school student-athletes and a nonprofit, Cars for Careers (1998) a low-income car ownership program in Howard County. He served as Associate Athletic Director, while teaching accounting and information systems and coaching baseball at Baltimore County Community College and was the Associate Athletic Director for Development at UMBC.

2007 – University of Baltimore Social Entrepreneur of the Year
2007 – Visit Baltimore “Sales Person of the Year”
2011 – Daily Record Influential Marylander
2011 - MassMutual Citizenship Award
2014 - SmartCEO Circle of Excellence Award
2022 – The Daily Record – Most Admired CEO
2022 – Greater Baltimore Committee - Bridging the GAP Achievement Award
2022 – VFC was highlighted on the Kelly Clarkson Show
2023 – CNN to highlight VFC and its VR training program

Board Service
Governors Workforce Investment Board
Baltimore City Community College – President’s Advisory Board
Consumer Federation of America – Automobile Insurance Committee
Greater Baltimore Committee – Chair Second Chance Coalition
Baltimore City Workforce Investment Board

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