Here’s a piece of Target trivia: Community giving was a part of our company’s legacy 60 years before the first Target store opened in 1962.

How can that be? Philanthropy was a core value of The Dayton Company, Target Corporation's predecessor, which was founded in 1902 by George Draper Dayton. Dayton believed that "success is making ourselves useful in the world, valuable to society, helping in lifting the level of humanity." He lived his whole life according to that philosophy, giving away a tenth of his income every year and in 1918 donating $1 million (the equivalent of more than $15 million today) to establish the Dayton Foundation, which was renamed the Target Foundation in 2000.

In 1946, The Dayton Company formalized its practice of giving 5 percent of profits to the community, and we've kept that commitment alive ever since, supporting partners and programs that enrich the communities where we do business. By 1999 that 5 percent added up to $1 million a week, and by 2002 the number had doubled to more than $2 million a week. Come 2006, the total had climbed to $3 million a week.

Today, we’re proud to say we’ve reached a new company milestone: Our giving now equals more than $4 million every week to the communities we serve. Those dollars go toward fighting hunger, aiding disaster preparedness and relief efforts, supporting the arts and putting more kids on the path to high school graduation. In fact, we’re committed to giving $1 billion for education by the end of 2015.

All along, community giving has been a win-win situation: When we help build strong communities, the guests and team members who live there help us build a strong business. Check out the interactive history timeline for a look at some of our company’s biggest milestones, and learn more about how we support our local communities.

Visit A Bullseye Viewlink opens in a new window, Target’s online magazine, to read an interview with Laysha Ward, Target’s president of Community Relations, about our support for education.

TAGS: history , partnerships , community support , corporate responsibility , education , reading , schools , volunteerism , company values

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