The foundation has an agreement with the Colorado Automotive Recyclers Association that members of the recyclers group will pick up the vehicles. The vehicles are posted for sale on a website open to recyclers who have signed a form pledging they will not put the vehicles back on the road, he added.
Recyclers harvest vehicle parts such as doors, hoods and fenders, for reuse. But engines and the vehicles' chassis are crushed and shredded, Billings said.
All titles from vehicles taken in under the program are sent to Billings who in turn sends them to the Colorado Department of Revenue. "When they pick these vehicles, they don't get title; they know these are strictly for scrap," Billings said.
Most of the donated vehicles come from Colorado new-car dealers who take them in on trade. On average, the vehicles are about 20 years old, Billings said.
Consumers donate cars to the program, too. Donors are eligible for any tax credits they would qualify for if they donated the vehicles to another charity.
They learn about the program though public service announcements on TV and radio through a partnership with the foundation and the Colorado Broadcasters Association, which gets $10,000 a year from the dealers group in exchange for running the ads. In 2014, the foundation received ads valued at $750,000. Between March and July of this year alone, the foundation received ads valued at $1.2 million.
Jackson said there is hope that dealers associations in other states will join the effort and take the program national.
"The idea is to be a private-sector solution to a public-policy problem," he said. "The public-policy problem is air quality."