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Taylor family gives $50 million to National Arbor Day Foundation

Enterprise founder Jack Taylor.
Enterprise founder Jack Taylor.

By Tom Weber, KWMU

St. Louis, MO. – KWMU has learned that the family behind the Enterprise Rent a Car fortune plans to donate $50 million to the National Arbor Day Foundation.

The money from the Taylor family will be used to plant a million trees a year for the next 50 years.

The Taylors are known for giving big gifts to many St. Louis area organizations, including the Symphony, the Botanical Garden, and Forest Park.

Andy Taylor, the son of Enterprise founder Jack Taylor and current company CEO, says gift is a way to mark the company's 50th anniversary.

"We just said 'What would last 50 years? What is something that just isn't in the 50th year but would be on for the next 50 years?' And this made tremendous sense," Taylor said.

The trees mostly will be planted in national forests, including Missouri's Mark Twain Forest, but also in Canada and Scotland. That's because Enterprise does business there too.

First Lady Laura Bush will be at a tree-planting ceremony Thursday to help mark the official announcement of the gift.

Arbor Day's president, John Rosenow, says his group will have a lot of flexibility on what and where to plant: "We just don't know where the greatest re-planting needs will be over the decades, and this will let us on a year-by-year basis analyze where have the fires and insect infestations and storm damage caused the most urgent need to plant trees."

Rosenow says his group originally went to the Taylors with a much smaller idea for a tree-planting gift, and the family came back with a bigger gift.