Economic development officials on Wednesday announced the first project to use funds from a $50 million education endowment pledged by Toyota Motor Corp.
The project is a curriculum management audit of eight school districts in the area surrounding a Blue Springs site where Toyota plans to build a car plant. Toyota will make its first $5 million payment in May to the education fund being run by the Tupelo-based CREATE Foundation.
Work on the plant, meanwhile, is stalled because of the recession.
“Certainly, we hope this will be another reassurance to the people who have been very patient and understanding that we are coming and we are committed,” said Barbara McDaniel, external affairs manager for Toyota Motor Engineering & Manufacturing North America.
McDaniel said the Mississippi education endowment is the largest ever given by the company.
“I think we wanted to make a strong statement that education is very important to Toyota, and we wanted the money to not just benefit the future for Toyota-related employment, but we wanted it to benefit the entire Mississippi region,” she said.