LIBERTY – Toyota Tsusho America, Inc. has announced a donation of $100,000 to Teach For America North Carolina to expand the Future Forward program in Randolph County. This initiative focuses on enhancing career and college readiness among marginalized high school students.
Initially committing $25,000 to Eastern Randolph High School in Ramseur, Toyota Tsusho boosted its support by an additional $75,000, allowing the program to reach more area schools. Mike Lavender, Senior Vice President of Toyota Tsusho America, emphasized the company’s commitment to local community growth and education, aligning with their business expansion in North Carolina.
Future Forward, operational since 2020, has shown success in Kentucky with improved grades and increased college enrollment among participants. The program, supported by Toyota Tsusho, employs local college students as coaches who provide personalized guidance and mentorship.
Dr. Susan Chappell, Principal of Eastern Randolph High School, highlighted the program’s potential in offering opportunities for economic growth and postsecondary success in a region impacted by the decline of the textile industry.
The funding announcement coincided with Giving Tuesday, with several dignitaries attending the event in Liberty, NC. These included North Carolina State Senate President Pro Tempore Phil Berger, representatives from Governor Roy Cooper’s office, and local educational leaders.
Dr. Stephen Gainey, Superintendent of Randolph County Schools, expressed enthusiasm for the program’s alignment with the school system’s goals, emphasizing its focus on educational and employment planning.
Toyota Tsusho’s involvement in North Carolina extends beyond education, with a stake in the Toyota Battery Manufacturing plant, set to produce hybrid and electric vehicle batteries starting 2025.