Doing good is a term that many people and companies use very loosely and abstractly. People talk about doing good, they talk about giving back. In many cases they participate in giving back to charitable causes by giving money. Which, don’t get me wrong, is a great start. But I learned something this year as a parent to a seven and a half year old daughter.
In the past, we have talked the talk when it came to trying to instill a sense of wanting to give back. She has used one night of Hanukkah to give instead of getting. We have helped her give to school toy drives or book drives. But something changed this year when instead of just giving money or “things” we started doing. Instead of just sending money or products, we started showing up to be involved. My trip to Haiti. Learning more about the organizations that we were giving back to and the people that they work with. The change in Principessa was instantaneous. It was no longer a nebulous act of giving. She began to internalize why what we were doing was important and developed her own reasons for wanting to give back.
So when Michael Rouse, Vice President, Philanthropy & Community Affairs, shared how Toyota gives back to the community both at the national levels and at the very local level, I was struck by the fact that this VERY large company does not just talk the talk. They actually walk the walk and show up to do good for efforts that relate to education, safety, and the environment
A few of my favorite ways that Toyota shows up to do good are:
The Toyota Dealer Match Program engages local dealership in their philanthropic giving by matching contributions to nonprofits up to $10,000. All 1,500 Toyota dealers in the US are eligible to participate.
Get in Gear
Toyota does not just unilaterally do good. The Dealer Match program engages communities at the dealer level, but Toyota goes one step further. By treating its associates as part of the family and encouraging them in their personal passions and interest, grants are given to charities of an associates choices in return for accrued volunteer hours with The Toyota Get In Gear Volunteer! program. Get in Gear encourages and inspires associates to serve in the communities where they live and work, fostering the idea of showing up in ways that are meaningful to individuals in addition to what is important to the company as a whole.
Toyota Driving Expectations
Since 2004, nearly 20,000 parents and teens have participated in this free safety program that puts teens and their parents behind the wheel to face challenging, real-world driving scenarios. This free program involves both the teens and the parents. The program teaches accident avoidance, reduces distracted driving, and teaches braking techniques PROACTIVELY and in partnership with the teens and the parents.
The key for me is that giving back is something that needs to be consistent, frequent, and meaningful for it to sink in and become something that a child will learn to do on their own, because they want to. The efforts of companies like Toyota remind us that these behaviors need to be modeled at all levels (and ages) so that showing up becomes more than just an expectation, it becomes part of who we are.