Toyota Financial Services Honors Martin Luther King, Jr. Legacy with 2nd Annual Donations to Historically Black Colleges and Universities

$60,000 contribution will help further boost college retention and graduation rates, seen as key to ensuring the fulfillment of Dr. King’s dream for America

In honor of the life and vision of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Toyota Financial Services (TFS) is continuing its support of Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) and their communities, by providing $60,000 to five HBCUs as well as the Tom Joyner Foundation.

“We’re really excited to work with our new partner Toyota Financial Services,” said Thomas Joyner, Jr., President and CEO of the Foundation.  “The support of these scholarships is a really important step in helping these students complete their college education and, in the long run, help sustain these HBCUs.”

Bennett College in North Carolina, Tuskegee University in Alabama, and South Carolina State University will each receive a $10,000 contribution to support their scholarship funds. Additionally, TFS is donating two $10,000 scholarships to Wiley College in Texas and North Carolina Central, through the Tom Joyner Foundation.  TFS is donating an extra $10,000 to support the Tom Joyner Foundation, as well.  The foundation provides academic support, scholarships, and programming to over 80 HBCUs in the Southern and Eastern United States.  The overall goal of these contributions is to support educational opportunities within many of the communities in which TFS operates.

Education is truly the greatest equalizer and should be accessible to all. Toyota Financial Services’ donation to Historically Black Colleges and Universities is a much needed investment that will help support students attending our HBCUs,” said Rep. Alma Adams (D-NC), Co-Chair of the Bipartisan Congressional HBCU Caucus. “As a former professor, administrator, and an alumnus of an HBCU, I’m always happy to see the philanthropic endeavors of a socially responsible company that shares my interests in scholarship, education, and helping underserved communities.”

“Toyota Financial Services is honored to echo the dream of Martin Luther King, Jr., by supporting these fine institutions and advocating higher education in these communities,” said Al Smith, TFS Group Vice President, Service Operations and Corporate Planning.  “TFS has a deeply held commitment to diversity and inclusion, not only now, but year round as seen with our national Making Life Easier Scholarship Program and with our 10th anniversary of supporting the CBS Baltimore Black History Month Oratory Contest.”

According to the Journal of Blacks in Higher Education, the college graduation rate for black students in the U.S stands at 42%, as opposed to 62% for their white counterpart. It is also noted that the financial support of universities is key in black student retention, thereby producing high graduation rates.

“When speaking with each of the institution’s officials, it’s so inspirational to hear how this money impacts these HBCUs and the plans that they have for these scholarships,  said John Ridgeway, TFS Corporate Manager of TFS’ Customer Service Center in Maryland. “HBCUs are challenged with lower student retention resulting from financial hardships. As a Toyota executive and an HBCU alumnus, I am proud that Toyota Financial Services is making a contribution to these HBCUs and the Tom Joyner Foundation to support their efforts.”

TFS has been named a DiversityInc Top 50 company for the past eight years in a row and has been consistently recognized by Black Enterprise, Hispanic Business, and the Human Rights Campaign as a Best Company for Diversity and one of the Best Places to Work.  TFS executives actively support and sponsor the company’s many diversity and inclusion initiatives. For more information about Toyota’s commitment to diversity and inclusion, please visit


Quotes from Recipients:

“Wiley College is most appreciative of Toyota Financial Services’ contribution for scholarships for promising students.  Please know that this will allow them to continue their education at Wiley without incurring increased student debt.  Of equal importance, the College affirms that Toyota’s support will enable the scholarship recipients “to go places” in their careers.  As such the Toyota brand is further underscored by supporting students; all of whom would be the first in their families to earn a college degree.  Thank you Toyota. “

– Dr. Haywood L. Strickland, President and CEO, Wiley College


“Thanks again for making college completion a reality for a Bennett Belle.  We are working with our many promising students that need this type of assistance to close the gap, build a bridge to their future, and reduce the debt load once they begin working.  This grant is the annual amount that we have calculated that makes a significant difference in meeting each of these three goals for a student.”

– Dr. Rosalind Fuse-Hall, President, Bennett College


“Tuskegee University is thrilled that Toyota Financial Services has seen fit to invest in our students by supporting our general scholarship fund.  This is especially meaningful during Black History Month, and it is appropriate that this generous gift is being made at a time in which we celebrate Martin Luther King and his impact on our society, and the world. This support will allow our most deserving students to succeed and thrive, both at Tuskegee as well as in their careers and lives. We’re deeply grateful to Toyota Financial Services, and their representative, Mr. John Ridgeway, for this relationship which we hope will only grow in the coming years.”

– Mr. Robert Blakely, Vice President of Advancement and Development, Tuskegee University


“South Carolina State University is thrilled to be the recipient of this special contribution from Toyota Financial Services.  The gift will play a major role in providing scholarships and support, that will help transform the lives of our students and inspire them to be great contributors in a highly competitive global arena.”

– Dr. W. Franklin Evans, Interim President, South Carolina State University


“North Carolina Central University is thrilled to receive a generous gift from Toyota Financial Services through the Tom Joyner Foundation that provides four of our student-scholars with scholarship support that will enable them to complete their education.  The University and our student scholarship recipients are grateful to Toyota Financial Services for investing in higher education and future leaders who will contribute greatly to the global marketplace.”

– Dr. Harriet F. Davis, Vice Chancellor for Institutional Advancement, North Carolina Central University

Toyota Financial Services FY15 Social Impact Scorecard

Toyota Financial Services announced the “Making Life Easier” program in 2007 and since then, with help from team members and nonprofit partners, has evolved the program in the area of youth education, youth development and financial empowerment across the nation.

Our commitment to evolve and expand our community presence resulted in the development of our Social Impact Scorecard last year. Our Scorecard illustrates Toyota Financial Services’ progress and our commitment to making life easier for communities nationwide, our employees and customers. We are excited to bring you our next installment which includes our newest strategic initiative: Financial Empowerment

We hope you are as excited as we are about the great contributions we have been able to make together this past year and the opportunities for the future. Thank you for reviewing the Toyota Financial Services Social Impact Scorecard!

CLICK HERE to download PDF version


“Make A Wish Come True” in Kansas City


Ever wonder what it’s like to be a foster care kid at Christmas?  Toyota Financial Services Team Member Brittany Robinson, Credit Analyst from the Kansas City Dealer Sales and Service Office (DSSO), knows all too well.  Being a former Wyandotte County Boys & Girls Club staff member, she was aware that there is a high population of foster care kids supported by this Club. At what is supposed to be a joyous time of year, many of these kids don’t look forward to the holiday season because they are not with their biological families.  This prompted Brittany to want to do something special for the teenagers at the club.  She and the DSSO staff were determined to make it something they would never forget and the “Make a Wish Come True” program was born.

A few weeks prior to the holiday party, the Club staff was tasked with finding out what each foster teen had on their holiday wish list and then that list was delivered to the Kansas City DSSO.  The TFS staff was humbled by the wish list items submitted by the teens including requests for pajamas, notebooks, pens, candy, clothes, blankets, and science books.   Each DSSO team member sponsored one Club member and bought everything on their wish list – out of their own personal funds!KC DSSO2

On December 23rd, four TFS Kansas City DSSO volunteers joined the Boys & Girls Club of Greater Kansas City, Wyandotte County Unit for their Holiday festivities of music, games, movies and snacks. TFS volunteers participated fully in the festivities and even managed to sneak in some credit trivia!

When it came time to exchange gifts, the kids were surprised by a room full of presents personally addressed to them and their smiling faces conveyed their gratitude and appreciation!  As they opened their gifts it was apparent how special it was that someone had actually taken the time to acknowledge their wants and needs.