Toyota's social contribution initiatives have a long history, and there is a record from 1925 of Sakichi Toyoda pledging to donate 1 million yen (at 1925 value) to the Imperial Institute of Invention and Innovation to encourage battery-related inventions. Sakichi Toyoda was an inventor and the founder of Toyoda Automatic Loom Works, Ltd., the company from which Toyota Motor Corporation was formed. Kiichiro Toyoda, Sakichi's eldest son and the founder of Toyota Motor Co.,(now Toyota Motor Corporation), and others made clear the importance of social contribution, based on the ideas of Sakichi Toyoda, in the Five Main Principles of Toyoda, a statement of the Toyota Group's fundamental principles. Since its founding period, Toyota has conducted business with the support of society based on the fundamental principle of building a thriving society through manufacturing and automaking. Toyota has also sought to contribute to the development of society by making donations such as wide-area traffic signal control devices and making donations to cultural institutions. In the late 1960s, however, as vehicle ownership in Japan increased, traffic congestion and traffic accidents became significant social issues. This was an opportunity for Toyota to reaffirm its awareness that deterioration of the traffic environment put the development of all companies and even their very existence at risk in the absence of the understanding and support of society.
It was in response to these developments that Toyota launched the All-Toyota Traffic Safety Campaign in 1969, the Fureai Green Campaign in 1976, the Toyota Community Concert program in 1981, and other social contribution programs that have been continued to the present. In 1974, on the occasion of the 40th anniversary of the Toyoda Automatic Loom Works automobile division starting automaking, the Toyota Foundation was established to contribute to society and deepen mutual understanding. The Toyota Foundation, one of the first corporate foundations in Japan, conducts activities primarily in Japan and Southeast Asia.
In 1989, Toyota established the Corporate Citizenship Activity Committee (renamed the CSR Committee in October 2007 at the time of integration with other functions), which is headed by the president. Toyota steadily prepared systems for carrying out social contribution programs, including adopting the CSR Principles in 1995 and made efforts to systematically assess social requirements and carry out effective programs. As a result, Toyota won the 1999 Environment Agency Director General's award for implementation of its Forest of Toyota plan and received a certificate of appreciation from the Japan Institute of Invention and Innovation in 2000 for its "Scientific Jack-in-the-Box! The Why/What Lecture" lectures. Toyota's social contribution programs in many different areas have been commended by society and the mass media including winning the 2001 Coexistence with Society Award from the Asahi Shimbun Foundation for its diverse contribution programs that emphasize local communities, the 2001 Japan Mecenat Award for Outstanding Barrier-Free Activity from the Association for Corporate Support of the Arts for nationwide implementation of the Toyota Able Art Forum, the 2003 Japan Mecenat Award for Exploring New Territory from the Association for Corporate Support of the Arts for creating the Toyota Choreography Award, and the 2003 Volunteer Distinguished Service Award from the Minister of Health, Labour and Welfare for the Toyota Volunteer Center. In 2006, the Toyota Volunteer Center's volunteer circles received the Tomorrow's City and Livelihood Creation Activity Award from the Chief Cabinet Secretary of Japan via the Association to Build the Japan of Tomorrow.
Toyota created the Corporate Citizenship Division in January 2006. The Corporate Citizenship Division coordinates programs with overseas group companies and relevant divisions in Japan in three priority areas–the environment, safety, and human resource development (in Japan, the arts and culture and community care are additional priority areas)–and works to expand the scope of programs, reinforce programs that are visible to the public, and strengthen global collaboration.