Toyota Awards 826michigan $100,000 Grant

By John Beltz Snyder

September 11, 2010

The Toyota USA Foundation, a charitable endowment supporting education, has awarded $100,000 to a non-profit organization very near and dear to our hearts, 826michigan

826michigan is a nonprofit organization located in Ann Arbor, Michigan, with the mission of fostering students’ creative writing passion and abilities, as well as providing one-on-one tutoring in all subjects. The grant will be used to support and expand 826michigan’s free writing workshops, drop-in tutoring, and in-school programs, as well as to allow hiring of new staff. Recently, poet Catherine Calabro joined staff members Amanda Uhle and Amy Sumerton, as well as a network of hundreds of volunteers, as the newest member of the 826michigan team.
We’re thrilled that Toyota has awarded 826michigan with such an important and helpful grant. After all, some of the young writers 826 currently tutors are likely to be the journalists bringing you the automotive news and reviews in the years to come.
Oh, and if you’re ever in town, check out 826michigan’s weirdly cool Liberty Street Robot Supply and Repair store, which helps fund the organization’s programs (that’s right, it’s a front).
Read on for more details in the official press release from Toyota, below.
Toyota USA Foundation Awards $100,000 Grant to 826michigan
Funds will support After School Tutoring Program and Allow Hiring of New Staff
ANN ARBOR, MICH. (September 9, 2010) – 826michigan, an Ann Arbor nonprofit dedicated to helping students improve their creative, expository writing, math and science skills, announced today that it has received a $100,000 grant from the Toyota USA Foundation.  The grant has allowed the organization to hire a new full-time staff member to run its after school tutoring program which takes place at its Ann Arbor site as well as at Ypsilanti Middle School.  The new staff member will also oversee 826michigan’s evening creative writing workshops and other activities.  The new position, Program Coordinator, has been filled by poet and educator Catherine Calabro.
Calabro says, “826michigan is one of my favorite places in the world. I'm so looking forward to working with our talented students and collaborating with our fabulous tutors, workshop leaders, facilitators, staff, and interns.”
The ability to add staff is especially exciting for 826michigan.  Currently, the two-person staff is supported by a network of over 1,200 volunteers.  However, adding Calabro as Program Coordinator will enhance the consistency, excellence and long-term planning ability of this incredibly efficient organization.
“We remain so thrilled that we can begin to meet more of our community’s need for writing and tutoring support in math, science and other areas of study.  This is a critical time for us, and this gift is allowing us to unite some of our area’s neediest young people with the tremendous resource of adult volunteers who are able, with our guidance, to provide them with one-on-one attention for homework and other projects.  We know that, through our volunteers, we are equipping the next generation of writers, engineers, and other professionals,” said Amanda Uhle, Executive Director.  “We are so proud to know that the Toyota USA Foundation supports our work in the community by way of this generous, transformative grant.”
“The Toyota USA Foundation is proud to support 826michigan as they work hard to provide a phenomenal program that truly impacts the lives of youth and adolescents throughout their community,” said Bruce Brownlee of Toyota.
Calabro grew up in Dayton, Ohio, and studied English and French at DePauw University in Indiana.  She has worked in programming for the Dayton International Peace Museum, the YMCA of Greater Dayton, and the Bear River Writers' Conference. Calabro moved to Ann Arbor in 2007 to earn her MFA in poetry and to teach at the University of Michigan. In 2009, she was a Zell Postgraduate Fellow in Poetry and the Workshops Intern for 826michigan.
About 826michigan
826michigan is a non-profit organization dedicated to supporting students aged six to eighteen with their creative and expository writing skills, and to helping teachers inspire their students to write. Our services are structured around our belief that great leaps in learning can happen with one-on-one attention and that strong writing skills are fundamental to future success.  For more information, visit
About the Toyota USA Foundation
The Toyota USA Foundation is a $100 million charitable endowment created to support education programs serving kindergarten through 12th grade students and their teachers in the United States, with an emphasis on mathematics, science and environmental science. For additional information about the Toyota USA Foundation, visit