Founder & CEO
Susan Jacobs founded Wheels of Success in 2003 after a personal experience gave her insight into how critical reliable transportation is to maintain employment. After leaving a domestic violence situation, she found herself without a car to get to work and realized that maintaining stable employment without a vehicle was practically impossible. After dealing with the transportation challenges for several weeks, she was fortunate to have an acquaintance lend her a car while she saved enough to purchase a reliable vehicle.
Later, while running a staffing agency, Susan saw the need with many of the applicants she was working with and subsequently founded Wheels of Success to address this deficit. To date, the nonprofit organization has provided 1,200 vehicles and 1,000+ car-related services to Tampa Bay area families so they can maintain their employment and self-sufficiency.
In 2008, Susan also established the Automotive Buying Center (known as A.B.C.) as a social enterprise to assist people who either do not qualify for the Wheels of Success program or are moving up to a newer vehicle, but do not have the credit to purchase a reliable vehicle. This service helps people buy a warrantied, reliable vehicle with no interest or fees charged. The reasonable profit made from these ABC transactions are then utilized in the Wheels of Success program to help fund the operating costs of the nonprofit organization.
Susan graduated from the University of Florida with a double major in Psychology and Sociology. She was a member of the University of Florida Hall of Fame, Who’s Who in American Colleges and Universities and Phi Beta Kappa. She has also been recognized as a Purpose Prize Fellow in 2007, CNN Hero in 2009 and Lightning Community Hero in 2011.