Our Community

Mills Automotive Group businesses and team members are eagerly engaged in our local communities- serving, participating, volunteering, hosting events, donating time, money and effort.. when it comes to helping our friends, neighbors and communities thrive, we are ALL IN!!

ABOVE: Tom Schroepfer, (far left), sales manager at Mills Ford Chrysler in Willmar, presented the Willmar High School Music Dept. a check for $5,920 for a recent Ford Drive One 4UR School Test Drive Event held at the dealership. Receiving the Mills ceremonial big check are (l-r) Neal Haugen, choir director and department chairman, along with Todd Blaser and Bryan Mara, band instructors. The WHS Music Dept. earned a total of $12,220 at its two Mills test drive events in 2017, which is used for music programs and equipment, travel to music competitions, and other music related activities.  RIGHT: With the Mills ceremonial check from Mills Ford Lincoln in Brainerd / Baxter are (on floor) Lowell Elementary School students Eliana Smith, first grade and her sister, Abigail, third grade, along with (back) Brady Sladek, Mills Ford Lincoln general manager; Lowell Principal Todd Sauer and Amy Smith of the Lowell PTA.

Mills test drive events have raised $301,410 for Brainerd, Willmar area schools since 2011

Feb. 2018:  It's often called one of the easiest fund raisers a school ever does. And, on one day!

$301,410 has been raised for schools in the Brainerd and Willmar areas by the Ford and Lincoln test drive events in the seven years the Mills Automotive Group has been doing them. The two largest schools, Brainerd High School and Willmar High School, have earned a total of $68,360 and $68,880 respectively over the seven years.

That represents more than 10,000 test drives of Ford and Lincoln vehicles provided by Mills Automotive.

"Take the wheel, help your school," is the tagline that says it all about the well-known one-day events. Mills Ford Lincoln in Brainerd/Baxter and Mills Ford Chrysler in Willmar have hosted them since 2011.  It's fun!  It's easy to do!  You see friends and neighbors, plus teachers and other school staff.  And, it helps your school! 

It's all about community support.  Ford and Lincoln make the programs available, then it's up to dealerships throughout the country to help schools make it all happen. Hundreds of test drive events are held each spring and fall throughout the country.

When it comes to community support for your school, who wouldn't like sliding into the driver's seat of a new vehicle, one you might not otherwise drive.  Test drive funds support many programs for students that schools might not otherwise be able to afford.


The Mills Automotive Group Marketing Team provides schools with complete event planning, which includes how to have a successful event. It's up each school to "drive the event," or get people to Mills dealerships on event day.  Schools have used creative ways to do just that. People are busy and there's lot of competition for their time and attention.


At least 300 can people can turn out at an event.


Nearly a dozen Mills Automotive Team Members are at each drive event. Some Team Members escort test drivers in Ford and Lincoln vehicles on a safe, short pre-determined route near the dealership. Other Team members assist and guide school staff and volunteers who register test drivers. Each test driver completes a two-part registration:  before you drive and after you drive. All registrations are returned to Ford and Lincoln to be verified. All test drivers must be at least 18 with a valid license, and one test drive per household is allowed.

Mills Team Members provide the very best Mills Guest Experience for schools, and everyone who test drives a Ford or Lincoln vehicle.

Ford started "Drive 4UR School" in 2007, making last year its 10th anniversary. $35 million has been raised for schools across the country in the 10 years.  The Lincoln "Driven to Give" program started in 2011, and nationwide the program has raised more than $8 million for schools.

When people get behind the wheel of a Ford or Lincoln in these test-drives, Mills wants to make a positive impression of the brands, and most importantly, a positive difference in our local-area communities.