LEWISTON — Joan Churchill sent off the contest application last winter:
If Community Concepts were to win a new Toyota Prius, she'd use it for people living downtown to learn to drive, and share, for free.
"I figured, 'What the heck,'" said Churchill, the nonprofit's director of development.
Toyota's 100 Cars for Good program received 4,000 entries and winnowed the pack to 500. Each day for 100 days, since May 14, it has pitted five nonprofits against each other. Whichever agency gets the most online votes is that day's winner.
Community Concepts is up Saturday.
"We know a lot of people in downtown Lewiston don't even have driver's licenses," Churchill said. "I never dreamt we would be one of the 500 who maybe get one of the 100 (cars)."
Her pitch, included on the program's Facebook page where voting is also taking place:
"We will use the Prius to help community members learn to drive, schedule a car, and use it in a community/shared way . . . We will ask volunteer drivers to help people practice driving.
"We will paint it with a creative design that speaks to its use as well as ensures it cannot be easily stolen. This may sound crazy but it is a way to get disinterested young adults who have given up on the dominant culture to become re-engaged as they touch, feel, experience and positively utilize a car and a collaborative system."
Seven Maine nonprofits were picked for the contest. The Central Aroostook Humane Society so far is the only winner.
The winner is announced online the day after the vote. Voting runs from 10 a.m. to 11:59 p.m. Eastern time.
Community Concepts is competing Saturday with a school of dentistry, an abused women's shelter, a group helping people with brain injuries and a medical center. Churchill was relieved none were animal shelters — they've fared well so far in the competition.
If Lewiston wins the Prius, a public meeting would be held to talk about its use and the creation of an advisory board to outline rules. There would also be fundraising for insurance and decorating.
The opportunity is "very, very special," Churchill said.