Toyota and BWF Help Drive Assistance to Veterans
2020 represented a year of change, mostly the type no one asked for. But 2020 also provided perspective and appreciation for the past. Around this time for the past two years, the Bob Woodruff Foundation (BWF) gathered with our partners at Toyota and Lexus in Scottsdale, Arizona for Barrett-Jackson’s World’s Greatest Collector Car Auctions. Toyota has made a habit of both innovation and generosity, regularly embarking on efforts to auction off some of its most important vehicles for charity.
For many reasons, we know things just do not feel the same right now. Thankfully we have been embracing some great memories as we reflect on Toyota’s generosity. During past Barret-Jackson auctions Toyota provided two of their most innovative vehicles ever and auctioned them off to generate critical funding for a number of organizations including the American Heart Association and BWF. These funds have been essential in our efforts to address veteran causes and allowed BWF to join Toyota’s goals of promoting mobility and financial inclusion. With Toyota, we were able to be there for veterans when COVID-19 hit, a time when they needed it most. These efforts are just one component of Toyota’s overall commitment to fostering community outreach, veteran assistance, and financial inclusion.
Toyota was founded on the belief that corporations have a responsibility that extends beyond simple financial gain. They have been driven by a desire to make people happy and to help promote prosperous communities. Across the world, Toyota pursues community improvement through several initiatives. With their Great Plant Hunt program, participants are encouraged to learn about the importance of biodiversity. Toyota has also been a regular sponsor of the Special Olympics for several years as part of their “Mobility For All” initiative. They are working hard to ensure that freedom of movement is universally enjoyed and hope to one day see a society where everyone can participate in athletics and engage with the community.
Since 1991 Toyota has been working with the National Center for Families Learning and has created unique educational programs that place adults and children in the same classroom. Here, families can learn about addressing social issues including health, education. The program has a particular focus on financial literacy with the intent of families working together to break out of the cycle of poverty.
The Bob Woodruff Foundation has been proud to partner with Toyota to address many of these same issues and more for the veteran and military family community. Toyota’s generosity has had a direct impact on BWF and many of the grantee organizations and veterans we work with, helping us address food insecurity, access to legal assistance, education, health care, financial inclusion, and mobility. While Toyota creates vehicles to move from one point to another, they are also helping communities move forward. They are doing this through promoting adaptive mobility for those in need as well as providing the ability for many to pursue financial independence and stability.
Through Toyota’s incredibly generous support, BWF has been able to invest in a range of best-in-class programs and organizations helping veterans, including Capital Area Food Bank, Legal Aid Services of Oklahoma, PenFed Foundation, Semper Fi Fund, Southeast Louisiana Legal Services, FourBlock, George Washington University, and American Corporate Partners.
Toyota funding has also been applied to Inner City Law Center, an organization working to help veterans facing housing insecurity. One attorney, Brandon P. Reilly, partner at Phelps and Phillips LLP, provides his services to Inner City Law Center pro bono.
"Veteran legal aid is personal to me because I lost a close friend who suffered from PTSD following his service in Iraq,” Reilly says on Inner City Law’s website. “It’s important to listen to our service members and I’m proud to do my small part in helping veterans gain back the honor they deserve.”
Our relationship with Toyota is helping us provide critical assistance to veterans. Like so many, we are feeling a bit nostalgic about the past but know that our future will hold even greater memories. Although it is a new year, many veterans are still dealing with the obstacles presented to us in 2020. We may not be able to meet with Toyota in person this year, but they are helping us meet the challenges for veterans that have carried over into 2021.