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A Different Toy Story: Making Our Communities and Country a Better Place

Published on Thursday, December 13, 2012
SPN NEWS NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2012

Robert D.C. Long cares deeply about the next generation of Americans. Whether providing great toys and hobbies, sponsoring the local football team or investing in the future of American free enterprise, Robert is doing all he can to secure a better life for today’s youth. 

After he graduated in 1949 from St. Mark’s Preparatory School in Massachusetts, it was off to Princeton University to pursue an undergraduate degree in music. After college, Robert returned home to Charleston, West Virginia, to make his way in the world.  Following his entrepreneurial instinct, he purchased a small hobby shop.

Over the next 20 years, Bob grew the little hobby shop in Charleston into a thriving business named Toy Magic, which became a full-size, two-story retail operation – an entertainment destination in addition to a retail business. In 1973, Toy Magic received official recognition from a national trade magazine.  

Local children would frequent the store to compete against each other with electric cars on several expansive racetracks. As with many small business owners, Bob was always “at the office,” in his case, to share the virtues of sportsmanship and a competitive drive with his young customers, several of whom would become successful entrepreneurs and lifelong friends.

In the spring of 1960, a local youth-league football team approached him with the opportunity to advertise his business at one of their games. With a lifelong passion to provide a positive path for children, he saw a chance to make a real difference in the lives of even more young men. The following day, he informed the coach that he wanted to be the sole sponsor of the entire team. Generous investments of time, hard work and training eventually paid off for them. In its third season Bob Long’s Midget Football Team became league champions and, during the first 14 years of his sponsorship, the team brought home four championship victories. Through his involvement with the youth football league, the lives of hundreds of young men have been enriched, on and off the field.

As the owner of a thriving business, Bob knew the hard work that lay ahead for these young men if they were to succeed. Everyone must be afforded an equal opportunity to excel. He knew all too well, continued endless counterproductive regulations and high taxes would hinder his young customers, friends and football players from achieving their own economic independence and prosperity.  

That’s why Bob has invested generously in the freedom movement. He now stands with State Policy Network in the fight to secure and advance economic freedom and opportunity. After years of helping his team of young athletes fight for a common victory, he has a strong appreciation for the unique and leveraged role SPN plays in building, supporting and mobilizing the thriving network of 60 state-focused, free-market think tanks across the country.  He knows that lasting victories can be achieved when well-organized teammates work together in concert to achieve a shared goal.  

For many years, Bob has been an avid supporter of the Salvation Army. He asserts, “They live their mission and they are on the front lines in the fight to do good.” He notes, the same can be said of SPN’s member organizations. 

Bob feels strongly that each person can and should be committed to making our country – as well as our local towns and communities – a better place for the generations to come.  His lifetime of work, volunteerism and philanthropy stands as a sterling example of what can be accomplished with a good heart and a strong passion.  

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State Policy Network is made up of free market think tanks - at least one in every state - fighting to limit government and advance market-friendly public policy at the state and local levels. SPN and our members make the Founders' vision for the American Republic a reality as the nation's only 50-state distribution network for market-oriented public policy ideas. Our programs advance and defend American liberty and free enterprise by assisting new start-up organizations, growing existing state think tanks, recruiting talent to the think tank industry, developing strategic partnerships, and promoting the free-market state movement. Read More

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