TORRANCE, Calif., July 27, 2010 – Celebrating a 33-year partnership with the National FFA Foundation, Toyota Motor Sales (TMS) U.S.A., Inc. continues to move agricultural education efforts of the National FFA Organization (FFA) forward with significant support of existing programs and new initiatives. In the past 10 years alone, Toyota has donated nearly $4 million in cash and products to FFA, with funding benefiting various programs including student leadership development, alumni programs, local community service projects, collegiate scholarships, special events and enhancing diversity in agricultural education.
“Toyota’s longstanding support of FFA has made a real impact on countless individuals and local communities,” said National FFA Organization Chief Operating Officer Dwight Armstrong. “The strength of programs like those supported by Toyota has been the catalyst for FFA to achieve record membership numbers and reach previously underserved students.”
One FFA program developed at the request of Toyota is the “Enhancing Diversity in Agricultural Education” program. The program aims to recruit and retain young minority students who have not traditionally partnered in agricultural education and FFA, and to increase awareness and education regarding the importance of diversity in developing premier leadership, personal growth and career success in agricultural education. Toyota, like FFA, values diversity and is proud to have been the catalyst behind this program, which happens to be one of particular interest to FFA as it falls into one of the organization’s key strategic priority areas. Since the program’s inception in 2004, FFA membership by minority students has substantially increased, moving the group closer to its goal of performing as a diverse organization.
“When I first began working with FFA, I was amazed to see that even if a student’s collegiate and career path didn’t include agriculture, those students involved with FFA consistently went on to be successful in their pursuits regardless,” said Michael Rouse, vice president of Toyota philanthropy and community affairs. “For Toyota, it was important to give that same advantage to a more diverse student base and expand the impact of FFA, which the Enhancing Diversity in Agriculture Education program does today.”
Beyond Enhancing Diversity in Agriculture Education, many programs will benefit from Toyota’s donations in 2010, including the NAAE Outstanding Agriculture Teacher Award, NAAE Outstanding Post-Secondary Teacher Award, Career Show Exhibit and Toyota Motor Sales/FFA Scholarships. Toyota’s sponsorship efforts will also help support the national FFA convention this year where Toyota will provide 25 to 50 courtesy vehicles for use during the event, as well as meals for the national officer candidate dinner at the beginning of the convention. In addition to providing resource support, Toyota will be on hand as an exhibitor at the 83rd National FFA Convention from Oct. 20-23, 2010 in Indianapolis, Ind.