DALLAS -- Toyota Motor North America and its regional distributor, Gulf States Toyota, are pledging over $3 million to help the victims of Hurricane Harvey through cash payments to relief organizations, donations of used vehicles for transporting aid and providing volunteers to help victims of the unfolding disaster.
“As fellow Texans, our hearts go out to those who have lost so much and we would like to extend a helping hand to help with the recovery,” said Jim Lentz, CEO of Toyota Motor North America. “At Toyota, we have a comprehensive approach to disaster relief, working with numerous organizations to provide help where its needed,” he said in a statement Wednesday.
Toyota opened its new North American headquarters in the Dallas suburb of Plano this summer.
The pledged funds also come from Toyota Financial Services and The Friedkin Group, parent of Gulf States Toyota, which was founded in Houston in 1969. Gulf States serves as the distributor for all Toyota dealerships in Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Mississippi and Louisiana.
Dan Friedkin, chairman of the auto distributor, has created the Friedkin Disaster Relief Fund and guaranteed at least $1 million from the Friedkin family. “This community is our home, and it’s important for us to do whatever possible to ensure that our associates, dealers and anyone impacted by the storm have the support and resources to bounce back during this difficult time,” he said.
For Toyota and Lexus dealers who want to contribute to the Friedkin fund, Toyota has set aside up to $250,000 in matching funds for dealer contributions. Toyota will also match contributions from its U.S. employees in support of disaster relief, the company said.
Toyota Financial Services and Lexus Financial Services said they will donate pre-owned cars, trucks and SUVs to organizations moving people and property involved in the recovery.
“Access to reliable means of transportation is a critical element to any disaster relief and recovery effort,” said Mike Groff, CEO of Toyota Financial Services.
The financial arms of the two auto brands are also offering payment relief programs for customers affected by Hurricane Harvey.
Two of the organizations earmarked for donations are the American Red Cross and the St. Bernard Project, which helps victims negotiate federal dollars for relief, helps them avoid contractor fraud and educates them on battling mold from flooding. Toyota will provide $1 million directly to the organization.
In Dallas, Toyota is also exploring ways for its employees to help at evacuee shelters that have been set up for hurricane victims fleeing Houston and other affected areas. That could include donations of clothing and toiletries, as well as volunteer support at shelters such as the Kay Bailey Hutchinson Convention Center in downtown Dallas.
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