Call it a Christmas miracle, or a holiday one, rather: Toyota is the company that stepped up Friday to save the Dallas Holiday Parade. Parade organizers wouldn't disclose the dollar amount the Plano company offered.
"To us, the credit of underwriter is not important. What's important is this parade takes place," says Chris Reynolds, executive vice president of corporate resources for Toyota.
The event on Dec. 2 was in jeopardy of being canceled if a company or family didn't offer a big check.
Parade CEO and executive director Jeffrey Giles told The Dallas Morning News last week that the parade will cost $473,000, and the group was seeking someone to cover at least $373,000 of that cost. (Giles' company, HTE Dance, says it can foot $100,000 of the bill if it has to.)
The fact that Toyota stepped in seems fitting: It moved its North Texas headquarters to Plano in mid-2017, bringing more than 4,000 employees to its new 2 million-square-foot campus. It was a "historic corporate catch," writes Dallas Morning News economy reporter Jill Cowan. Toyota joins the ranks of major businesses who have found new homes in Dallas-Fort Worth.
"It didn't take very long for various leaders in the company to come together to say, 'this is a no brainer,'" Reynolds says. "We've got to have a parade."
The decision to sponsor was made in less than 24 hours.
The parade, a tradition in Dallas since 1987, had most recently been sponsored by Children's Health. It removed its sponsorship in 2017, leaving the parade without a corporate name to help foot the bill. Giles was determined that the show would go on, but until Nov. 17, he and his team had begged deep-pocketed companies and families in the Dallas area without success.
In fact, Giles delayed the sponsorship deadline and endured an uncertain week filled with meetings and phone calls as the parade date loomed less than a month away.
Toyota's donation is joined by sponsorships from The Statler, VisitDallas, Mehrdad Moayedi, the State Fair of Texas, Royal Printing, United Mechanical, KLUV and Stripe-A-Zone.
For many of the Toyota transplants in D-FW who choose to attend the parade, it will be their first time at the annual holiday event.
"Having a holiday parade is important," says Reynolds, noting that he grew up in New York, home to the famous Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade. "I'll be there with bells on."