SOMERSET – A new Highlander Hybrid was presented to Operation UNITE by Toyota of Somerset Wednesday, November 9, as part of the Toyota 100 Cars for Good program.

The 2012 Highlander – which has a suggested retail value of $47,517 – will be used by UNITE to fulfill transportation needs associated with its youth and treatment initiatives.

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In addition, UNITE was presented a Platinum Plan Extra Care Vehicle Service Agreement (valued at $2,000) by Toyota Financial Services and a complimentary maintenance program package by Toyota Motor Sales USA’s Cincinnati Region office.

“Toyota of Somerset is proud to have been a part of the Somerset-Pulaski County community since 1988,” said Larry Turpen, dealer/principal. “Supporting UNITE’s anti-drug education and treatment efforts is just another way we can be engaged with the good works of charitable organizations in this region.”

The Toyota 100 Cars for Good program is awarding 100 vehicles to non-profit organizations across the country as part of its corporate philanthropic efforts. One winner per day over a 100-day period was determined through a Facebook-enabled competition based upon public votes.

“Toyota is to be commended for its outreach to non-profit organizations,” said Fifth District Congressman Harold “Hal” Rogers. “For many families, the lack of adequate transportation, especially throughout rural southern and eastern Kentucky, can be a formidable barrier to services and opportunities.”

“Reaching more kids with the message of hope and ensuring those seeking to turn their lives away from addiction are key focuses of UNITE,” Rogers said. “The new vehicle will enable UNITE to better meet these needs.”

Specifically, UNITE Director Karen Kelly noted that each summer there are dozens of students wishing to attend Camp UNITE – a free five-day, four-night leadership/adventure program for middle school students held at the University of the Cumberlands – but are unable to find a ride. “This new vehicle will help us transport these children to camp,” she said.

Toyota Motor Manufacturing-Kentucky’s Corporate Contributions Program in Georgetown has been the primary sponsor for Camp UNITE since 2008, Rogers said, noting “Toyota’s commitment to youth has been exceptional.”

In addition, UNITE’s staff will use the Highlander when meeting one-on-one with individuals who have received assistance through the treatment voucher program, who are seeking help for an addiction, or needing transportation to a treatment program.

“Just this past week our treatment team received calls from two individuals without transportation to treatment,” Kelly said. “These are folks wanting to get their lives back in order. We want to be able to provide assistance.”

Finally, the vehicle provides additional space to carry learning materials and tools needed to implement educational activities throughout the region and will be available to provide assistance to communities affected by natural disasters or in times of crisis.

Representing Toyota at the ceremony were Bob Burton, Cincinnati Region Sales Manager for Toyota Motor Sales USA, and Kristin Schoenig, Toyota Financial Services Area Sales Manager. The ceremony also included testimony from Casey Eastridge of Jackson County, a voucher recipient, and singing of the National Anthem by Courtney Owens of McCreary County.

Since 1991, Toyota has contributed more than $500 million to non-profit organizations and has been guided by a strong belief in serving the communities where it does business. To learn more, please visit

Program Timeline

• March 1, 2011 – Toyota announces its 100 Cars for Good program, which will award 100 vehicles over the course of 100 days to 100 deserving non-profit organizations based on votes from the public.

• March 7, 2011 – Registrations from 501c(3) non-profit organizations start being accepted through Toyota’s Facebook page.

• March 21, 2011 – Close of registration period. An independent panel of judges who are experts in the fields of philanthropy and social responsibility begin process of selecting 500 finalist organizations based on applicant’s need, potential impact of vehicle use, geographic diversity, diversity of populations served, and diversity of organizations’ missions. Once notified, finalists create 2-minute video and create an online profile.

• May 9, 2011 – Public voting begins and continues for 100 days (through August 16). Each day, five organizations are profiled on Toyota’s Facebook page and voters select the charity they feel is most deserving of the vehicle.

• June 26 – Operation UNITE emerges victorious with more votes than four other non-profit organizations – the Boys & Girls Clubs of the Los Angeles Harbor, Cincinnati Ballet Company, Harry Chapin Food Bank of Southwest Florida and SPCA Cincinnati.