Toyota Material Handling recognized with Spirit of Philanthropy Award

Pictured: Toyota Material Handling receives Spirit of Philanthropy Award from Indiana University in recognition of the company’s dedication to contributing to the wellbeing of the community. Pictured Left to Right: Pamela Whitten (IU President), Rafael Bahamonde (IU Indianapolis, School of Health and Human Sciences Dean), Brian Egloff (TMH, Director of Engineering), Dennis Huffer (TMH, Design Engineer Supervisor), Christopher Huber (TMH, Design Engineer), Danielle Nickerson (TMH, Corporate Social Responsibility Manager), Latha Ramchand (IU Indianapolis Chancellor)

COLUMBUS – Toyota Material Handling recently was honored by Indiana University Indianapolis with the Spirit of Philanthropy Award, recognizing the company’s financial contributions and volunteer efforts that enrich the campus and community.

Based in Columbus, Toyota has cultivated a long-standing partnership with Indiana University’s School of Health and Human Sciences’ Go Baby Go program, according to a news release.

Go Baby Go offers custom mobility solutions, including modified ride-on cars, to support the independence and cognitive development of children with disabilities.

These ride-on cars are customized versions of standard children’s ride-on cars, altered to the needs of specific children with mobility challenges. These modifications can include features like adaptive seating, specialized controls and safety enhancements to make the cars more accessible and enjoyable for children with disabilities.

The university’s students and community volunteers work together to leverage donated vehicles and monetary donations to supply design teams with tools needed for custom builds.

“Toyota Material Handling is proud of the impactful progress made through the Go Baby Go program to provide children with improved mobility and independence,” said Bill Finerty, president and CEO of Toyota Material Handling. “Corporate philanthropic involvement is one of Toyota’s core values, and we are proud to partner with the Indiana University School of Health and Human Sciences to further enrich our community.”

Toyota’s design engineers collaborate with engineering students each semester to strategize, design and customize cars for children. This collaboration amplifies the program’s impact while nurturing the next generation of professionals and fostering a more inclusive society. This partnership not only promotes inclusivity, but propels innovation forward, aligning with Toyota’s culture of Kaizen — or continuous improvement.

Last year, the company’s contribution of $10,000 to the initiative was pivotal, enabling the procurement of essential materials and equipment required to tailor electric ride-on cars and enhance children’s mobility and autonomy.

Toyota associates volunteered their time, skills and expertise to help adapt and customize these ride-on cars, ensuring high-quality production and fostering a strong sense of camaraderie and community engagement.

“Toyota Material Handling’s unwavering support and partnership with the Go Baby Go program exemplify the profound impact that corporate philanthropy can have on community health and development,” said Rafael Bahamonde, founding dean of the School of Health and Human Sciences at Indiana University Indianapolis. “Their contributions not only enhance the mobility and independence of children with disabilities but also inspire our students to apply their skills in meaningful, real-world projects that foster inclusivity and innovation.

“The ongoing partnership between Toyota Material Handling and Go Baby Go showcases the transformative influence of corporate philanthropy and volunteerism on community well-being, reaffirming Toyota’s adherence to its mission to ‘help others carry the load.’