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Prius raffle winner finds car matches "green" lifestyle


New Jersey Conservation Foundation

Tom Koven’s “green” lifestyle just became even greener, with the addition of a Toyota Prius hybrid car to park beside his solar-powered home in Hunterdon County.

Koven, a resident of Hampton, was the winner of New Jersey Conservation Foundation’s 50th anniversary car raffle, featuring a top-of-the-line 2011 Prius donated by Toyota Motor Sales USA. He and his wife, Barbara, picked up their new car on Tuesday, Jan. 25, at the Crystal Toyota dealership in Green Brook.

“This is wonderful,” said Koven as he was officially presented with the sporty, silver-colored car by Yoshimi Inaba, chairman and CEO of Toyota Motor Sales USA, and L. Keith Reed, president of New Jersey Conservation Foundation. “This is a little snazzier than I’m used to – a lot snazzier, actually.”

Koven, a member of the Highlands Coalition, learned of the Prius raffle last fall while attending coalition meetings at the Bamboo Brook Outdoor Education Center in Chester Township, where New Jersey Conservation Foundation has its main office. His was one of nearly 400 tickets sold for $100 apiece.

The Prius, a gasoline-electric hybrid that runs for up to 50 miles on a gallon of gas, fits in perfectly with Koven’s strong energy conservation ethic. One year ago, Koven said, he and Barbara converted their house to all solar energy. “I love it,” he said. “It pays for all my electricity, and then some. It will make electricity for the next 20 years.”

The Prius was donated to New Jersey Conservation Foundation after Reed, who went to business school at Northwestern University in Chicago with Inaba, contacted his old friend. “I knew there was a philanthropic arm of Toyota,” explained Reed, “and I thought a Prius would be an absolutely perfect raffle prize for an organization like New Jersey Conservation Foundation.”

“We’re incredibly grateful to Toyota and Mr. Inaba for making this donation,” said Michele S. Byers, executive director of New Jersey Conservation Foundation. “It made a huge difference in the success of our 50th anniversary celebration. People were very excited to have a chance at winning a Prius.”

Since its founding in 1960, New Jersey Conservation Foundation has protected more than 120,000 acres of open space - from the Highlands to the Pine Barrens to the Delaware Bayshore, from farms to forests to urban and suburban parks. The Foundation has also been at the forefront of most major environmental policy initiatives in New Jersey during the past 50 years.

For more information about New Jersey Conservation Foundation programs and preserves, go to or call 1-888-LAND-SAVE. Find us on Facebook at or follow us on Twitter at


PHOTO CAPTION: Tom Koven, second from left, lucky winner of a new Toyota Prius hybrid in New Jersey Conservation Foundation’s 50th anniversary car raffle, got the VIP treatment when he picked up the car on Jan. 25. Presenting Koven with the Prius and a ceremonial oversized key were, from left, Mike Rendine, president of Crystal Toyota in Green Brook; Koven; Yoshimi Inaba, chairman and CEO of Toyota Motor Sales USA; and L. Keith Reed, president of New Jersey Conservation Foundation.


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