OUR OPINION: Toyota’s philanthropy continues to expand

By NEMS Daily Journal

Northeast Mississippians first realized the strength and magnitude of Toyota’s commitment to long-term philanthropy in 2007 when, on the day of the company announcement of its manufacturing plant in Blue Springs, it made its pledge to invest $50 million for educational excellence in the three counties whose efforts recruited it to Mississippi.
The depth of Toyota Motor Manufacturing Mississippi, Inc.’s generosity has continued to unfold in the three PUL Alliance counties: Pontotoc, Union and Lee.
In the past year TMMS’s philanthropic involvement in its communities has totaled $459,000 – 44 organizations and programs. Two of the most recent gifts were made to the Lee County Library ($20,000) and $35,000 for the Boys and Girls Clubs in Tupelo and New Albany, and Faith Haven, a shelter in Tupelo.
Philanthropy with TMMMS and its national manufacturing structure is not random.
The company’s philosophy is powerfully, simply stated on its website:
“At Toyota, we believe an auto company can also be a vehicle for change. That’s why we support programs focused on environment, education and safety initiatives that help strengthen diverse communities across the U.S. – for today and for the future. We are also proud to partner with nonprofit organizations in the local communities where we live and work. Since 1991, Toyota has contributed over half a billion dollars to philanthropic programs in the U.S.”
The library grant, formally announced Monday, will purchase about 500 items aimed at children and young adult users of LCL. The investment will range from bound volumes to digital books to large screens useful for larger-group use.
The long-term effect is expected to increase digital reading materials by about 25 percent, add about 250 books and expand equipment.
The library’s reciprocity is to increase by 20 percent the number of registered children and young adults users, along with a 20 percent increase in the size of collections for them.
The website http://www.toyota.com/about/philanthropy/ offers information about applications for grants and gifts, with guidelines and preferences. The restrictions are as clearly stated as the possibilities.
Some giant corporations just don’t get it when it comes to investment, communities and relationships. Toyota gets it. Participating in and respecting its process for philanthropy can benefit thousands of people.