Enterprise Rent-A-Car’s foundation is donating $60 million to food banks where the world’s largest rental car company operates. The gift is the biggest dedicated to a single cause in the foundation’s 34-year history.
The Clayton-based company’s foundation plans to donate $10 million annually over the next six years. Checks to 365 local food banks in North America will begin arriving within the next week, Enterprise said Tuesday.
Of the $10 million annually, $2.5 million will go to Feeding America, the largest hunger relief and food rescue charity in the U.S.; $1.5 million will go to Food Banks Canada; $1 million will go to the Global FoodBanking Network; and $5 million will be donated to local food banks directly.
The St. Louis Area Foodbank, which distributes food to hundreds of food pantries, homeless shelters and senior citizen organizations in 26 counties in Missouri and Illinois, is one of four local nonprofits that, combined, are receiving “tens of thousands of dollars” from Enterprise, the company said. Foodbank distributes canned goods and other items collected from food drives around the region but often lacks fresh foods such as fruits and vegetables, said president and CEO Frank Finnegan.
“The impact locally from Enterprise’s donation will be tremendous for us,” Finnegan said. “The funds that we get through this program, we’ll use to bring in more fresh fruit and vegetables to the area.”
The $60 million figure marks Enterprise’s 60th anniversary. On its 50th anniversary, Enterprise’s foundation pledged to plant 50 million trees over 50 years at a cost of $50 million.
Enterprise Holdings, the parent of Enterprise Rent-A-Car, National Car Rental, Alamo Rent a Car and other companies, is owned by the family of its late founder, Jack Taylor. Last year, the Taylor family gave $114.5 million to multiple recipients, including the St. Louis Public Schools Foundation and the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater St. Louis.
Since Taylor started the foundation in 1982, the foundation and the Taylor family have contributed more than $1 billion to nonprofits. The foundation alone, which is funded by Enterprise’s operations, has donated $267 million since its inception and receives 5,500 requests for funding annually.
Addressing hunger was one of the last wishes of Jack Taylor, who died in July, said his granddaughter, Carolyn Kindle Betz, executive director and vice president of Enterprise’s foundation. In addition to Taylor’s influence, Enterprise employees, who volunteer at local food banks and pantries, steered the donation to the food initiative, Kindle Betz said.
“This is an unprecedented gift for us,” she said. “We really wanted to do something impactful.”
The monetary donation coincides with a hunger awareness campaign Enterprise is debuting on social media using the hashtag #FillYourTank, that will emphasize what people can achieve when they’re not suffering from hunger.
Enterprise Holdings is the region’s largest privately held company with $20.9 billion in fiscal 2016 revenue, an increase from $19.4 billion in 2015. The company this year grew its fleet to more than 1.9 million vehicles, up from 1.7 million in 2015.