An (Almost) Daily Dose of Good News

Dec 3, 2009

What’s the buzz?

The Chrysler bankruptcy filing to reorganize is important news, as its economic and morale-arresting ramifications ripple outward touching nearly every auto-related sector. And as much talk as this all generates I’m reminded of longtime radio commentator Paul Harvey’s quote: “In times like these, it helps to recall that there have always been times like these.”

We sometimes have to step back and take a broader look at all that’s going on.

Among the mass of daily e-mails I get from a multiplicity of auto- and non-auto-related sources are the updates on what’s happening, especially with regard to the economy and the state of the automobile industry. Sometimes the information from one source just about contradicts that from another: Each might be right on some points but omits facts or even truths that don’t fit its particular slant. So I search deeper, longer, culling even more sources to get closer to the real news, to get a better understanding of what’s happening. Even then, the whole truth can be elusive.

There’s just too much news out there. And it can be a bit too much on the downside of things. But Paul Harvey also reminded us, with his trademark comment, that there is “the rest of the story.”

The news is bad. And the news is good.

Amid the often-dour news delivered to my e-mail box are those wholly positive items (and I don’t mean the good-news chain letters imploring me to send them to 10 or 20 of my closest friends so I’ll be rewarded with a check in the mail for $100,000 in three weeks).

It’s that one e-mail that comes regularly – not daily, maybe weekly at the most –  that stands out. It’s from Toyota. Toyota lets me, us, know some of the good work it’s involved in in the States through the numerous foundations it has helped endow. Just a few samples:

  • The Toyota Bluegrass Miracle League in Lexington, Ky., recently celebrated its fourth season. The youth baseball league, for 5- to 19-year-olds, is a non-profit “formed to give children, who are physically and/or mentally challenged, the opportunity to play baseball in an organized league,” the Toyota Newsroom posts. Toyota became the title sponsor in 2005. The money built a ball field with a synthetic surface that makes it wheelchair-friendly.
  • Toyota Motor Mfg., of Kentucky, provided a $50,000 grant to the Kentucky Natural Lands Trust to focus on saving hemlock trees that a non-native insect species can kill.
  • The carmaker gave Kentucky United Way almost $200,000 in support of education programs that focus on early childhood development.
  • Along with Roland DGA, Toyota co-sponsored a monthlong eco-tour across South America to raise environmental awareness issues affecting that continent.

The philanthropic projects list goes on. Toyota, of course, has donated big bucks for auto-related events, too; after all, it’s a car company. I know that GM, Ford, Chrysler, et al. also have their philanthropic arms. And while millions of charitable dollars from multi-billion-dollar companies can be looked at by some as “small change,” it’s still millions of dollars invested in people and their needs.

Small businesses, like you, I’m sure also have been doing good things for your community, and maybe you let people know about them so they can see that you’re more than just a business – you’re a good business, with good people.

While times are tough for the auto trades, some good news from the industry -about matters other than how few vehicles are being sold or how many factories are being idled throughout the summer- manages to break on through to the other side, the positive side.