Toyota Community Trust celebrates second birthday as new grant recipients announced

**Toyota Community Trust celebrates two-year anniversary**

**Next round of STEM grant recipients announced**

**Over $1.5 million dollars’ worth of grants provided by the Toyota Community Trust to date**

Toyota Community Trust has marked two years since its inception with a meeting of all beneficiaries, sharing learnings and celebrating the milestone at the Toyota Centre of Excellence in Altona.

Initiated through a $32 million endowment, the Toyota Community Trust was created by Toyota Australia in October of 2017 to honour the legacy of its proud history of local manufacturing in Australia.

Since its creation, the Trust has provided over $1.5 million dollars’ worth of grants to 21 beneficiaries to encourage and inspire young people in Melbourne’s West to pursue further study and careers in Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM).

The beneficiaries of grants provided by the Toyota Community Trust are making a difference in the next generation through a number of STEM related projects. For example, the Trust’s very first grant recipient, Western Chances, has provided 54 scholarships to students aged 12-25 years using Trust funding, resulting in a long-term impact on the lives of many talented and motivated young people in Melbourne’s West.

Selam* has received two scholarships through the Western Chances program. She has experienced significant hardship during her young life, losing both parents and other family members to AIDS in Ethiopia before moving to Australia and facing further challenges with family, housing and learning English. Despite the many hardships Selam has had to overcome, she has worked extremely hard at school and was Dux of her school in Year 12. Selam is now in her third year of a Bachelor of Science at university and has already completed an internship at a facility maintenance company.

“Western Chances has given me the opportunity to continue my studies, without your help I would not have been able to pay for my textbooks. I am forever grateful, it has been very hard for me living on my own, thank you for all you have done for me,” Selam said.

The two-year milestone of the Trust coincides with the announcement of the latest round of grant recipients: Australian Science Innovations, Science Gallery Melbourne, Robokids and Little Scientists Australia.

Australian Science Innovations is a national association which provides innovative and challenging science programs, competitions and residential camps for high achievers. The Toyota grant will fund 12 additional girls from Melbourne’s West to attend the Curious Minds Program, a national girls-only program that combines two residential camps with a six-month STEM coaching program.

Science Gallery Melbourne is a dynamic new model for engaging more young people into STEM disciplines. It focuses on inspiring the minds of young Australians aged 15-25 with science and art and harnessing the passion of young people into real-world leaning opportunities and career pathways. Science Gallery Melbourne will develop and deliver “DISPOSABLE: reimagining waste” with schools in Melbourne’s West, running interactive cross curriculum workshops for secondary school students.

Robokids runs STEM robotics workshops in schools and previously ran a successful project in schools in Melbourne’s West using a grant from the Trust. Toyota funding will give Robokids the ability to continue to bring robotics to life through an additional two projects- a program in the new Footscray Learning Precinct in Melbourne’s West and a program including schools in Sydney’s Campbelltown region who are underrepresented in STEM and robotics education.

Little Scientists Australia delivers a national STEM professional development program for early childhood educators and teachers working with children aged 3-6 years and has done great work as a previous grant recipient. Using Toyota funding, Little Scientists Australia will deliver workshops on STEM for educators working with young children in Wyndham and in a regional area.

Chairman of the Toyota Community Trust, Mike Rausa, congratulated the latest grant recipients and reflected on what has been achieved to date.

“At Toyota we’re passionate about championing the next generation of STEM talent and the Trust has supported 21 beneficiaries during the past two years to run projects in this area. Toyota is proud to support young Aussies to pursue careers in STEM and we look forward to seeing what can be achieved in the future with the learnings from these projects,” he said.

About the Toyota Community Trust

The Toyota Community Trust was created by Toyota Australia in October of 2017 to honour the legacy of its proud history of local manufacturing in Australia.

Initiated through a $32 million endowment, the Trust aims to encourage young people in Melbourne’s West to pursue further study and careers in STEM. The program has now been extended to include projects located in Western Sydney and Albury-Wodonga.

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