The View from the Playground: Toyota’s Inspiring Volunteers
Shane’s Inspiration’s inclusive playgrounds and programs are possible because of the passion and commitment of our volunteers…individuals like Sheila Swanson who gives her time, talent, and incredible financial contributions.
Sheila has also been instrumental in building a powerful corporate partnership with Toyota Motor Sales. Read more about the impact one person and one corporation can have:
Grants of Gratitude: TMS Rewards ‘Volunteer of the Year’ Winners’ Organizations
- Denise Jacobson, national market representation manager, Lexus Division – Our Lady of Fatima School
- Donna Johnson, regional business management analyst, Toyota Division – Los Angeles County Sherriff’s Department
- Pei Pei Kelman, senior business analyst, Information Systems – Friends of Weaver
- Scott Kesselring, business operations manager, Toyota Division – Hope Chapel Hermosa Beach
- Steve Silbiger, dispute resolution administrator, Toyota Customer Services – Boy Scouts of America, Los Angeles Area Council
- Dave Shambaugh, technology manager field operations, Information Systems – U.S. Naval Sea Cadet Corps Ghostriders Squadron
- David Statham, technology manager enterprise systems, Information Systems – Preemptive Love Coalition
Bax began logging her volunteer hours at the“Get in Gear Volunteer!” website soon after it went live. When she reached the 100-hour mark, TMS rewarded the foundation with a $500 grant. Then Bax applied for a “Volunteer of the Year” award and claimed a $1,000 grant for the non-profit. As such, Save the Animals Foundation benefitted from Bax’s commitment to the cause as well as the generosity of her employer.
“The grants make a huge difference,” says Bax, a 14-year NAPO veteran. “The money goes directly to food, medical expenses, maintaining the building—a little bit of everything. Our operating expenses are high, even with a 100 percent volunteer staff.”
Swanson’s volunteer commitment dates back to 2003. At the time, she served on TMS’ Charitable Contributions Committee that was charged with evaluating applications for grants submitted by community organizations. The committee asked Swanson to learn more about Shane’s Inspiration, an organization that strives to create playgrounds that are accessible to children of all social, physical and emotional abilities.
“I remember meeting one of the co-founders at Griffith Park in the rain,” says Swanson. The two-acre Los Angeles facility was the first of what is now more than 40 playgrounds the organization has developed. “At the time, they were looking for grants to help transport kids to and from the playgrounds. They don’t just build the parks and walk away. They collaborate with local officials and schools to make sure they are used and maintained.”
In addition to grants earned by logging her hours, Swanson also secured a $1,000 grant for Shane’s Inspiration through the Volunteer of the Year awards.
“That money goes a long way,” she says. “It costs about $300 to transport kids to a playground for a play date. And it costs another $100 for the crafts and snacks. It only took me about 10 minutes to fill out and submit the application. But the kids who will get to take advantage of the playground because of that funding will come away with memories that could last a lifetime. It really does make a difference.”