• Toyota pledges $250,000 to Oklahoma tornado relief
  • Funds to be distributed through local organizations
  • Assistance to fund food, small-business revitalization and home rebuilding

Toyota announced it will donate $250,000 to relief efforts in Oklahoma, where a huge and deadly tornado ripped through the Oklahoma City suburb of Moore, destroying homes and businesses. Toyota says it will distribute the funds through local organizations.

Other automakers, including Ford, Volkswagen and GM, also have committed to helping out. Ford will provide $400,000 to American Red Cross and United Way, and will give customers with storm-damaged vehicles $500 toward a new Ford. Volkswagen contributed $250,000 to American Red Cross and Habitat for Humanity, and GM donated $50,000 and a vehicle to help get food to hungry Oklahomans.

Except for Toyota, each automaker used the opportunity to tout its good corporate citizenship. Toyota issued only a brief press release, citing its donation and delivering a somber message of condolence to the victims. The tornado killed at least two dozen people, including 10 children.

"On behalf of Toyota, we express our sincere condolences to everyone impacted by this devastating tornado. Our thoughts are with the affected families as they work to rebuild their lives," said Latondra Newton, Toyota's group vice president of philanthropy and chief diversity officer.

In addition to providing funds directly to local organizations, Toyota will match its employees' contributions. The Japanese automaker directly employs about 31,000 people in the United States.

Toyota already has contributed nearly $700 million to philanthropic causes in the U.S., including a $1 million donation to American Red Cross and other nonprofits after Hurricane Sandy caused devastating damage in the Northeast.

What it means to you: Like other big automakers, Toyota is a good corporate citizen, pitching in to help those affected by natural disaster. Its contributions to relief efforts in the wake of the Oklahoma tornado are the latest example.

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Nick Palermo is an automotive writer and lifelong car nut. He follows new and late-model used vehicles for AutoTrader.com, writes about vintage cars for Hemmings Classic Wheels and blogs on all things automotive at LivingVroom. He lives in Atlanta with his wife and twins.

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