Author: Donald Foss

Donald Foss

Donald Foss Contributes to Challenge Detroit

The dearly departed Donald Foss made many charitable donations throughout his life. His work ethic and drive to achieve gave him the funds to bestow financial security on his family and give generous donations to charities and philanthropic efforts. One such gift was to Challenge Detroit.

In 2012, Challenge Detroit, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization helping diverse, innovative, and community-minded local initiatives move Detroit forward, received a whopping $500,000 from none other than Donald Foss himself.

Donald Foss

$500,000 Accounted for Half the Charity’s Funding for Two Years

Foss, known to those who loved him as Don, made over one billion dollars by founding various companies, the most notable being Credit Acceptance Corporation. He was the chief executive officer for many years and gave half a million dollars to Challenge Detroit during that time.

At the time (late February 2012), the nonprofit was completing the details with a local partner that would allow the organization to launch its talent attraction grant program in the summer.

Deirdre Greene Groves, the director of The Collaborative Group, which organized the Challenge Detroit program, told Model D Media that they needed a large donor to launch the initiative. And Mr. Foss gave them exactly what they needed.

How His Donation Helped Challenge Detroit Come into Fruition

The generous lump sum gave the nonprofit organization half the funding it required for two years.

According to news reports from 2012, Challenge Detroit offered 30 grants to the community’s young people, covering living expenses ($500 per month), social experience (in the form of organized activities in the neighborhoods the grant recipients resided), giving back opportunities (through monthly challenges), and employment (a role within a local company).

The initiative aimed to invite more of the dynamic younger generation into the area who will live, work, play, and volunteer their time in the greater downtown region.

Those who wanted a piece of this grant-based pie began a three-phase application process by March 16, 2012. Candidates had to submit a written and video application, with the top 100 semi-finalists appearing on Challenge Detroit’s website for the public to advocate for their favorites.

Upon whittling the list to the top 50 hopeful individuals, they were interviewed for the 30 grants, which were awarded in the summer.

To attract a wide range of young people, the requirements were manageable. Applicants did need to hold a bachelor’s degree, but they weren’t expected to be fresh graduates. Instead, Challenge Detroit, with Donald Foss’s contribution, was able to offer the 30 grants to those with tenancy, entrepreneurial ambitions, and innovative ideas to transform the city.

Donald Foss
Donald Foss

His Legacy Lives on in Challenge Detroit

If it wasn’t for the big-hearted, generous donation from Donald Foss, Challenge Detroit might not have become what it is today — a successful fellowship program with members who work together with nonprofit partners to address the city’s greatest opportunities and needs. Or, at the very least, the charity would’ve had a much slower, harder journey.

Foss may be gone, but his legacy certainly shines through in Challenge Detroit.

Donald Foss: Remembering His Legacy

Donald Foss

August 14, 2022, marks the day the billionaire subprime auto lender, Donald Foss, passed away at 78 years of age due to cancer complications surrounded by those he held dear. The industry mogul left his family (his wife and three children) and the evidence of his incredible work ethic behind, boasting an estimated net worth of $1.7 billion at the time of his death.

Foss is remembered chiefly for his Credit Acceptance Corp enterprise, which he founded in 1972, becoming the first company to offer loan programs that allow customers with poor or no credit scores to purchase a vehicle from a dealership.

The Self-Made Subprime Auto Lender Billionaire’s First Career Footsteps

He may have been a self-made billionaire, but he learned his skills of the car-buying trade from his father, who owned a Detroit-based used-car dealership.

It appears the auto bug was too tempting to ignore for Foss, as he began selling vehicles from his driveway before Credit Acceptance Corp came into existence.

In fact, Foss even opened his own lot — following in his beloved father’s footsteps — in Detroit in 1967.

The Creation of Credit Acceptance Corp

When 1972 rolled around, Donald Foss (affectionately known as Don) launched Credit Acceptance but didn’t take it public until the calendar flipped to 1992.

In 2011, he founded another business called CARite, further establishing himself as a true titan in the industry and adding to his already extortionate net worth.

He remained the Chief Executive Officer of the Credit Acceptance Corp for a whopping three decades until he stepped down as the director and retired in 2017.

But His Work Harder and Smarter Ethos Didn’t Keep Him Retired for Long

The same year as he “retired” (2017), Donald A. Foss became the co-founder (alongside Michael Raymond) and primary beneficiary of FOD Capital, a family office investment fund based in Key West, Florida.

He held both positions until his unfortunate passing on August 14, 2022.

Donald Foss
Donald Foss

Remembering Don’s Hard-Working Quick-Witted Legacy

Those who knew the self-made legend in real life say Don was incredibly quick-witted, had unbeatable business acumen, and exhibited the highest level of tenacity and perseverance possible.

Not only that, but he was revered — and continues to be idolized — by thousands across the globe for his numerous incredible impacts on national, regional, and local communities.

Donald Foss developed countless philanthropies, scholarships, and other supportive programs throughout his lifetime, adding to the already profound respect he’d garnered throughout his career.

Don Leaves Behind a Simply Unbeatable Footprint

The worshipped entrepreneur will continue making an impact on communities, thanks to his lifetime of accomplishments and hard work.

Many would agree that he was indeed an American entrepreneurial icon with a life story that undeniably brought the Great American Dream to light.

Those who encountered this bright and discerning man were enriched in indescribable ways. Even though he will be missed terribly by business moguls and close friends alike, his legacy will be revered for decades to come.

Charitable Contributions of Mr. Foss

Donald Foss was the founder of Credit Acceptance Corporation, a billion-dollar company that focused around auto financing and credit lending. He made a plethora of charitable contributions throughout his lifetime, and below, the generous donations of Donald Foss are discussed.

Alongside many private and public donations, such as to the Challenge Detroit Foundation in 2012, Foss also set up two scholarships through Northwood University. Through his company, and his dealership CarRite, he also created the Car Dealers Care National Foundation in 2015.

Challenge Detroit Donation

In 2013, Foss made a donation to the Challenge Detroit Foundation of $500,000. This money allowed the non-profit to raise half of its running costs for 2 years in one fell swoop.

Challenge Detroit is focused on providing year-long grants to young people, helping to cover living costs, employment, and social opportunities. In turn, this will then lead to greater development of the downtown area of Detroit and provide new opportunities and growth for this new generation.

The organization is now in its 10th year of operation, and it was partly thanks to Donald’s seed funding donation that they were able to get off of the ground.

Car Dealers Care National Foundation

The Car Dealers Care National Foundation was set up by Foss in 2015. Partially a private fund, Foss also partnered the non-profit with his dealership network, CarRite.

Car Dealers Care National Foundation focuses on helping young people with health, well-being, and education. They have been able to pledge over $1 million to the St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis, helping to provide care for children with life-threatening conditions and cancers.

The foundation has also set up its own scholarships and initiatives to help young people in education, following on his legacy and scholarship programs with Northwood University.


Donald Foss set up two scholarships in partnership with Northwood University in Michigan. In 1998, he founded the Donald Foss Annual Scholarship, and 17 years later followed up with the Donald Foss Endowed Scholarship in 2015.

These scholarships can be earned by students who are studying at the university who are interested in a career in the automotive industry.

Over the duration of both scholarships, over 630 students have been awarded the financial help they need through the program.

Donald Foss

Credit Acceptance

Not only does his company, Credit Acceptance, provide a lifeline to those with bad credit scores, enabling them to be able to purchase vehicles, but it also has a strong ethos of supporting charitable organizations and social projects.

Employees are invited to join the Community Service Committee, where they can champion causes close to their hearts.

The company also donates to charities such as the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation and the National Hemophilia Foundation, fundraises for causes including supporting military families through t-shirt sales, and supporting young people in the community with donations of school supplies, toys, and winter coats.

It is clear that the giving nature of Donald Foss lives on through his company, past donations, and his charity foundation, helping young people, the people of Detroit, and many others across America.

The Life and Legacy of Donald Foss

Donald Foss became a self-made billionaire by founding the subprime auto lender, Credit Acceptance Corp. He ran the business as its chairman and CEO until 2017 when he retired, at which point his net worth was $1.2 billion.

The following article details the life and legacy of Donald Foss, who passed away August 14, 2022, at the age of 78.

Early Life

Donald Foss was born on June 18, 1944. His father was a used car salesman with a dealership in Detroit, Michigan. Donald modeled his father’s craft from an early age, learning everything there was to know about the automobile sales industry.

Foss started out as a car salesman himself by selling vehicles from the driveway of his home. In 1967, he opened his very first used car dealership in Detroit at the age of 23.

Credit Acceptance Corp

Credit Acceptance Corp was launched in 1972 by Donald, as a way to allow those with bad or nonexistent credit scores to be able to purchase a car. It was one of the first subprime auto lenders that worked with dealerships whose customers may or may not have been able to secure traditional financing for their vehicles.

This not only created repeat business for dealerships but also helped the consumer in a mutually beneficial relationship. The customer was able to increase their credit score through the program, and the dealers shared in the success of the completed contract.

Over the years, Credit Acceptance Corp would assist with over 8 million vehicle purchases through their program, leading to the company to a net worth of over $9.8 billion today.

In 2002, Foss became the company’s Chairman of the Board. Fifteen years later, in January 2017, he stepped down from this role to retire.

Later Life

He died on August 14, 2022, at the age of 78 due to complications from cancer

Donald Foss

The Legacy

During his lifetime, Foss gained many accolades, including a Doctorate of Laws in 2010 from Northwood University, the NADB Hall of Fame award in 2015, and a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Metro Detroit Chapter of the Michigan NIADA for his work in the automobile sales industry.

Foss also set up many charitable foundations and causes to help others. Over 630 scholarships have been provided to students pursuing professions in the automotive sector at Northwood University through the Donald Foss Annual Scholarship, which was set up in 1998, and the Donald Foss Endowed Scholarship, which was established in 2015.

He followed this in 2016 by setting up the Car Dealers Care National Foundation. This privately funded organization was designed to give back to the community directly, and through Foss’s car dealership chain, CarRite.

He also leaves behind him the company that started it all, Credit Acceptance Corp, which has gone from one of the first to one of the biggest vehicle finance companies in America.