BY GABRIELLE REED, Editor
Monday morning, at Ryobi Plant 1, Ryobi Die Casting announced their donation to the Shelby County Boys Club and Girls Inc. capital campaign, titled Opening Doors, Changing Lives.
President of Ryobi Tom Johnson and other company representatives presented CEO and President of Girls Inc. Amy Dillon and Executive Director of the Boys Club John Hartnett with a $200,000 check, the first gift made to the campaign.
Twenty years after donating 10 percent to the two nonprofits’ first joint capital campaign, Ryobi made another commitment to the organizations. A commitment, which Johnson believes is also an investment in the company.
“We know that a lot of our associates have come through your clubs,” Johnson said to Dillon and Hartnett. “We know that a lot of their kids are now at your clubs every day and every night.”
“We are one of the benefactors of your good clubs,” Johnson added. “Ryobi is a better company because you guys prepare the children for the jobs here at Ryobi.”
The campaign, titled Opening Doors, Changing Lives, will raise funds for everything from a 3,000 square foot addition to Girls Inc. and a storage facility at the Boys Club to infrastructure renovations and updates to both facilities and the shared parking lot.
After hearing about the campaign, Executive Vice President of Ryobi Hideni Tonifuji and Johnson marched straight to Ryobi Limited and requested permission to make a sizable donation to the local nonprofits. The next day, an affirmative answer arrived.
“This supports this community. This supports this company. Our company sees this as this is our future workers that we need to make an investment in,” Johnson said.
Campaign chair Chris King said the donation is an important jump start to the campaign.
“I think the importance is it is the first major campaign gift and with Ryobi to step up and do this, I think it is going to create a lot of momentum behind the campaign and a lot of interest from a lot of other companies,” King said. “I think it is clear how important these organizations are to Ryobi and how important Ryobi is to our community because of their willingness to do things like this.”
Dillon said the donation represents the strength of the partnership between Girls Inc., the Boys Club and Ryobi.
“We are grateful for their support and for taking a leadership role in our campaign,” Dillon said.
Among the attendees at the check presentation were several Ryobi employees including Tonifuji, Vice President of Finance of Ryobi Ryan Willhelm, Director of Compliance Rocky Lortz, Kevin Cangany, Mike Brackney, Mike Stout, and Roger Thurston.
Joining participants from Ryobi, as well as Dillon, Hartnett, Johnson and King were Mayor Tom DeBaun and Campaign Committee member Ryan Claxton.