$1 million Toyota impact grant promotes upward mobility for homeless women and children

Mobility has several connotations. But it’s exciting to see an innovative company best known for manufacturing automobiles taking a broad view of what the term can mean. You’d expect Toyota to focus on physical mobility – how people get from point A to point B. But as you’ll read in this piece about STEM-related scholarships –- and in the article below -- Toyota is also innovating when it comes to promoting upward mobility for disadvantaged populations. – Philip Bane


Earlier this month Toyota celebrated the opening of its new North American headquarters in Plano, Texas, which is about 20 miles northeast of Dallas. Most of Plano is in Collin County, although a small portion is in Denton County.

Like Toyota, many large companies are moving to Collin County and thousands of new homes are being built there. But not everyone is prospering from this growth – and a $1 million impact grant from Toyota is intended to help improve the prospects of approximately 3,000 in the county experiencing homelessness, many of whom have children.

The grant initiative, announced in January, ties into Toyota’s national focus on mobility for all and aims to empower like-minded partners to collaborate on physical and/or social mobility issues in the local community.

Empowering homeless women
“We created this grant to encourage collaboration among nonprofits with a focus on pressing mobility issues in North Texas,” said Al Smith, group vice president, Social Innovation, Toyota Motor North America. 

“This holistic program aims to empower homeless women and their children to overcome crisis and poverty, helping them gain both physical and upward mobility,” Smith added.

The grant was awarded to the newly formed Collin County Mobility Collaborative, a group of nonprofits that currently includes Agape Resource and Assistance Center, Family Promise of Collin County, Hope’s Door New Beginning Center, and Shiloh Place of McKinney. 

The multi-pronged program includes efforts to:

  • Provide safe and stable housing
  • Assist with reliable and affordable transportation
  • Facilitate childcare and youth development
  • Improve earning capacity through education, job training, certification and job placement

The grant is a joint initiative between Toyota Motor North America and Toyota Financial Services, administered in partnership with United Way of Metropolitan Dallas, and provides funds over a two-year period.

Collin County Mobility Collaborative was selected from more than 40 applications, representing approximately 150 nonprofits, academic institutions and social entrepreneurs.

A model of collaboration
“Despite the rapid growth of Collin County, there are many women and children in need,” said Janet Collinsworth, who is the founder and executive director of Agape Resource and Assistance Center.

“Our approach taps into the strengths of each of our organizations, providing a holistic approach that addresses housing, transportation, childcare, education and support services," she added. "Through this effort our hope is not only to empower these women, but also to create a model of collaboration with a program that can be replicated.”

Related articles:
Lessons from Barcelona on helping the homeless pursue their passions
Quick takes: 5 cities, 5 assorted initiatives helping the homeless
How a Texas woman used Facebook and GoFundMe to change a homeless man's life

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This article is from the Council's Compassionate Cities initiative which highlights how city leaders and other stakeholders can leverage smart technologies to end suffering in their communities and give all citizens a route out of poverty. Click the Compassionate Cities box on our registration page to receive our weekly newsletter.

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