$1.44 Million Donation to Renovate Theater, Increase Reach of STEM Education
Detroit (July 21, 2016) — Inspiring today’s students to become tomorrow’s science and engineering leaders is something Toyota believes is critical to society. Whether it’s autonomous cars, flying cars or something that has yet to be envisioned, the future of mobility depends on sparking children’s interests in engineering and science careers.
Likewise, as the region continues to face a shortage of STEM professionals, it is important to expose children to the different opportunities and career choices available to them. In support of creating that next generation of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) professionals, Toyota has donated $1.44 million to Michigan Science Center (MiSci) located in Midtown Detroit. This donation is the latest of many efforts by Toyota to promote and expand STEM education initiatives.
“It’s critical to foster innovative thinking at a young age,” said Toyota Technical Center Senior Vice President Jeff Makarewicz. “Developing that interest early on can create great opportunities not only for students, but for the industry as well. We’re excited to make this donation, and for our continued partnership with the Michigan Science Center.”
The donation will be used to transform and upgrade the Toyota Engineering Theatre (TET). The TET is a unique, 4D multi-media experience that engages visitors with the transformative, dynamic and exciting world of engineers and engineering.
Since MiSci’s opening in 2012, the TET has hosted more than 94,000 students, families and curious minds of all ages. In the past 8 years however, engineering has changed and the STEM sector has continued to grow. With Toyota’s support, MiSci will be able to meet these new demands and upgrade the theater’s technology, creating a more robust experience. The upgrades will include a state-of-the-art HD projection system with 3D viewing capabilities; enhanced space and lighting for a more immersive experience, and the creation of universally designed videos that play in 4D theaters and standard digital media players.
The funding will also help MiSci expand its ability to foster STEM education by developing all-new programming and educational connected learning initiatives for both teachers and students.
“Toyota’s donation allows the Science Center to do more than just upgrade the TET. This is an opportunity for us to present STEM in a relatable and relevant way, while increasing student interest in STEM careers,” said Tonya Matthews, Michigan Science Center president and CEO. “This opportunity allows us to continue our mission of being a premier institute for STEM learning and experiences in Michigan.”
The Toyota Engineering Theatre and connected learning programs are designed to combat common misconceptions surrounding engineering by portraying engineering and the world of science and math in a fun, dynamic way.
Toyota (NYSE:TM), the world's top automaker and creator of the Prius and the Mirai fuel cell vehicle, is committed to building vehicles for the way people live through our Toyota, Lexus and Scion brands. Over the past 50 years, we’ve built more than 30 million cars and trucks in North America, where we operate 14 manufacturing plants (10 in the U.S.) and directly employ more than 44,000 people (more than 34,000 in the U.S.). Our 1,800 North American dealerships (1,500 in the U.S.) sold more than 2.8 million cars and trucks (nearly 2.5 million in the U.S.) in 2015 – and about 80 percent of all Toyota vehicles sold over the past 20 years are still on the road today.
Toyota partners with philanthropic organizations across the country, with a focus on education, safety and the environment. As part of this commitment, we share the company’s extensive know-how garnered from building great cars and trucks to help community organizations and other nonprofits expand their ability to do good. For more information about Toyota, visit www.toyotanewsroom.com.
About the Michigan Science Center
The Michigan Science Center is a hands-on museum that inspires curious minds of all ages to discover, explore and appreciate science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) in a creative, dynamic learning environment. It features five theaters, including Michigan’s largest screen at the Chrysler IMAX® Dome Theatre; the Dassault Systèmes Planetarium; the Toyota Engineering 4D Theater; the DTE Energy Sparks Theater; the Chrysler Science Stage; a 9,800 square-foot Traveling Science Hall for special exhibits; hands-on exhibit galleries focusing on space, life and physical science; Kids Town just for pint-size scientists; along with, education and outreach programs. The Michigan Science Center is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization and does not receive any money from the city of Detroit or the state of Michigan. For more information, please call 313.577.8400 or visit the website, www.Mi-Sci.org.