Toyota USA Foundation: Grants for K-12 Education

OVERVIEW: The Toyota USA Foundation only supports K-12 STEM education. 

IP TAKE: The Toyota USA Foundation supports established organizations that work on curriculum development, student engagement, and teacher training. Grantseekers whose work more local or school-based, may consider other opportunities on the corporate side. Grantmaking is very competitive. 

PROFILE: Established in 1987, the Toyota USA Foundation is the philanthropic arm of its corporate sister Toyota Motor Sales USA. The foundation is "committed to enhancing the quality of education by supporting innovative programs and building partnerships with organizations dedicated to improving the teaching and learning of science, technology, engineering and mathematics." It primarily invests in K-12 STEM education. 

Toyota's education giving prioritizes STEM; however, it distributes its dollars fairly evenly throughout elementary, middle, and high school-oriented projects. The foundation addresses STEM education by investing in programs that emphasize multiple programmatic approaches, including curriculum development, teacher training, and student recruitment and engagement. In 2014 alone, the foundation invested more than $3 million in K-12 STEM education funding 23 nonprofits from over 450 applications it received. Since its restructuring in 2014, the foundation now limits proposals to one-year asks and requires a funded nonprofit to subsequently sit two years on the bench before applying for funding again (for either that same program or a different one). The foundation believes this will ensure grantees make more compelling proposals. Recent grantees include the Johns Hopkins University Center for Talented Youth in Baltimore, which helped to create STEM-focused expansion and bring in 30 low-income minority students into the enrichment program. It has also funded the Center for Inspired Teaching in D.C. and the Kettering University.

There is an open, online LOI for the Toyota USA Foundation, which it accepts on a rolling basis.year-round. The broad convenes twice annually in March and October. It awards grants in the spring.

Beyond its philanthropic giving, Toyota also funds K-12 STEM education through its corporate sister's Community Outreach funds, which are offered to organizations in communities with significant Toyota corporate activities. These include cities and regions in Alabama, California, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, Mississippi, New York, Ohio, Texas, Washington, D.C., and West Virginia. The fund prioritizes STEM education is still a focus, but more generally supports K-12 education. These funds typically support more philanthropic work at a more local level. Some states and regions have hard deadlines; others are ongoing opportunities. Grantseekers should examine their geographic preference for details.

Overall, grantseekers should examine and respect the foundation's grant guidelines very closely in order to remain competitive.

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