Toyota Wellspring Fund

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The Toyota Education Endowment Fund is the $50 million gift Toyota announced at their groundbreaking in 2007.  Payable over a 10-year period, the goal of the education gift is to create a perpetual fund to enhance education in the eight school districts in Lee, Pontotoc and Union counties, offering all students in public schools opportunities they may not have had. It is administered by the Toyota Educational Endowment Fund Advisory Committee.

Over the past five years, CREATE through the recommendation of the Toyota Wellspring Advisory Committee used the proceeds from the endowment to enhance education in Lee, Pontotoc and Union Counties.

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Toyota Wellspring grants have supported

• professional development opportunities for educators and administrators

• curriculum audits that resulted in the development of curriculum tool kits to assist teachers for all eight school districts

• laying the foundation for the Wellspring Center for Professional Futures, a high-school level advanced career center

• providing $1 million in grants that were used primarily for improving technology and its necessary infrastructure, and enhancing early childhood education to the eight school districts

• travel and registration costs for teams from each of the eight school districts to attend national conferences

• dual-enrollment courses in web app development, healthcare careers, aviation, and advanced manufacturing

• tuition for summer academic camps at MSU and Ole Miss and advanced manufacturing camps at NEMCC and ICC

• linking education to careers through an initiative that included hiring a national consulting firm to conduct interviews and provide guidance to a committee of educators and business leaders to determine how to better prepare students for careers

• the establishment of a permanent committee of educators and business leaders to help develop systemic changes to link education to careers in kindergarten through grade 12

• the initial concept and planning for a major career expo held in the fall of 2015

• funding Teacher of the Year awards in all eight districts

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Students learn about age-related health issues and illnesses at North Mississippi Medical Center while participating in the Toyota Wellspring Health careers course.  The dual-enrollment course is a joint effort between Northeast Mississippi Community College and NMMC.


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Student demonstrates his web app to a panel of MSU professors at the culmination of the web application dual-enrollment course.  Students receive high school and college credit for the courses.


Toyota Wellspring Education Fund Advisory Committee

Ricky Ferguson
Pontotoc, Mississippi

David Copenhaver
Tupelo, Mississippi

Mike Staten
BNA Bank
New Albany, Mississippi

Sean Suggs
Vice President Administration Toyota Motor Manufacturing MS, Inc. 
Blue Springs, Mississippi

Ex-Officio Members

Greg Pirkle
Partner, Phelps Dunbar, LLP
Tupelo, Mississippi

Jean Massey
Associate State Superintendent of Education
Jackson, Mississippi

Committee Advisors

Dr. Larry Anderson
Founder/Director National Center for Technology Planning
Tupelo, Mississippi


Mike Clayborne
President, CREATE
Tupelo, Mississippi

Dr. Chuck Garrett
Senior Education Consultant
New Albany, Mississippi