After coming under fire from the environmental community last year for introducing a wider array of gas-guzzling large automobiles, Toyota took a step Wednesday to restore its green credentials. The leading automaker joined the National Audubon Society in forming TogetherGreen, a national program to fund conservation projects, train environmental leaders, and offer volunteer opportunities to better the environment. Toyota contributed $20 million to the cause, the largest grant in the society's 103-year history.
The program is three-pronged. Grants will fund dozens of projects that employ innovative approaches to meet environmental goals, fellowships will train up to 200 promising environmental leaders, and volunteer days will be offered at Audubon Centers to provide hands-on opportunities to address environmental problems. Toyota also plans to engage its 36,000 U.S. employees and business partners to join as volunteers. "Toyota believes in supporting programs with long-term sustainable results, and TogtherGreen fits perfectly with that philosophy," said Patricia Salas Pineda, group vice president of Toyota Motor North America.