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Charities to take hit, Toyota generosity will be missed
ERLANGER, Ky. (Joe Webb) -- Toyota's move to Texas takes 1,600 jobs and leaves a big hole in the northern Kentucky economy but there's another, hidden, loss.
Toyota donates millions of dollars and man-hours every year to a long list of charities, fund-raisers and volunteer projects. Tuesday, those groups are dealing with the shock wave from Toyota's announcement.
The loss of around two-million dollars in tax money to the city of Erlanger and Boone County schools is a big deal. A really big deal. But so is the potential loss to the United Way, the Kentucky Symphony Orchestra and countless other non-profits who could always depend on Toyota's generosity.
For 18 years, Toyota was more than a corporate logo or badge on a car in the tri-state. It was on the t-shirts of armies of volunteers, banners at the start and finish of local races, and on some big checks to charity.
Rob Reifsnyder, President of United Way of greater Cincinnati, said, "They're one of our 25 largest supporters of United Way. Our top 25 as we call them, providing more than $625,000 in support to our community through the United Way Campaign."
Three years ago, the automaker made a one-million dollar commitment to create Toyota Born Learning Academies in local schools. There are 31 statewide, 11 in northern Kentucky.
Jess Dykes of the Kenton County school district said, "They have families come in here in the evening and provide dinner for them. They do a lot of discussion on literacy and the types of skills young children need before they start kindergarten."
That program may continue. The executive director of the Flying Pig Marathon says she also expects Toyota to continue supplying pace and timing vehicles as well. It is the title sponsor of Saturday's 10k race. Toyota sponsors the Kentucky Symphony Orchestra's summer series in Devou Park. Director J.R. Cassidy doesn't know quite what to expect in the future. The symphony has received more than 400,000 from Toyota over the years.
"Without Toyota as a very large supporter of the symphony we may not be here today. We certainly wouldn't be as in the community as much as we are without their support," said Cassidy. "Their dollars are their for the community, their people are there for the community and they volunteer and advocate for the things that they care about as well as in company in our community."
The charities said Toyota had a reputation for generosity before they came to the tri-state. They expect it to continue in Texas. They all said Toyota not only provided financial support but also got its people involved. Toyota's northern Kentucky employees will be moved to Plano, Texas, Ann Arbor, Michigan and Georgetown, Kentucky.
The relocation will have no impact on Toyota's car plant in Georgetown that employs about 7,000 people.
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