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Toyota Foundation Vision 2010: Building a Better Future

Since it was established in 1974, the Toyota Foundation has provided grants to research and projects in a wide variety of areas relating to human and natural environments, social welfare, and education and culture, in line with our founding philosophy of “contributing to the realization of a human-oriented society for the sake of greater human happiness.”

In recent years, the social environment and conditions within which the Foundation operates have changed dramatically. Rather than merely responding passively to these changes, however, our aim is to keep a careful watch on society as it develops, encouraging potential for the future and working toward public welfare and the development of society. We firmly believe that the role of a private-sector foundation remains the same now as the day we started.

The Toyota Foundation has recently made a new beginning as a public interest corporation. As we make our first bold steps toward a new future, we remain committed to the spirit that has driven us since our earliest days as a private grant-making foundation.

Facing Up to Difficult Times

The world faces new challenges as the first decade of the twenty-first century draws to an end, following the upheavals since the second half of the twentieth century. Alongside rapid developments in science and technology and fast-paced globalization, we are confronted by a multitude of critical issues, including global-scale environmental problems, a lack of safe water and food, international terrorism, and the spread of weapons of mass destruction. There is a need for undertakings that will tackle these problems, which threaten not only human security, but the survival of our species.

A crucial first step is to choose the most appropriate level at which to act (at the local, national, or international level) and the kind of organization best placed to deal with the problem at hand (including private companies and nonprofit organizations as well as national and local governments). In making these decisions, careful consideration needs to be given to the history and culture of the regional and national communities involved, seeking out new methods and means of forming these societies. We believe that working unstintingly to realize a better future for people and human society is a solemn responsibility we have to the generations who will follow us.

Creating New Ties

Today, when society is undergoing rapid and wide-ranging changes, there is a tendency for divisions to impair equitable and close relations between individuals, communities, and countries. If we are to succeed in building a better future for people and societies, it is crucial that each person should be able to contribute to society as an autonomous and responsible individual. At the same time, it will be essential to reestablish connections between people, uniting individuals with bonds of mutual trust and solidarity, and bringing about societies in which people can support each other in their daily lives. To this end, we need to create new, “softer” ties between people, built on the autonomy and independence of the individual. These new ties will build richer, more flexible relationships between people, transcending the bonds of blood and land that have existed in the past.

These new ties will encompass diverse communities, from families and closely linked local communities to the wider international society, constructing a platform for activities that will build a better future. Our aim is to create new connections between the people, nature, and cultures that make up these communities, and thereby contribute to the realization of safe and secure societies.

Realizing Safe and Secure Societies

In order to encourage participation in society and closer connections between people, we will concentrate on the following points as we work to create new ties and bring about safe and secure societies built on mutual support.

1. Encouraging Mutual Support and Collaboration

We aspire toward the realization of a society in which each individual can live with dignity and hope. For this reason, we support efforts to build societies that acknowledge the validity of different value systems, that incorporate the wisdom of different countries and regions, and that encourage close connections between people in their daily lives. In particular, we support pioneering activities to foster the next generation, on whom the future depends.

2. Forming New Societies

With the environments in which people live undergoing rapid and dramatic change, there is a need for new systems and new ways of forming societies and communities. We believe that responsibility for running society should not belong to national governments alone; regions and the private sector also have an important role to play. Together, these partners should collaborate to share the burden of creating the new ties that will support the societies of the future. To this end, we will support ambitious projects active in the regions or private sector.

3. Challenges for a Stronger Tomorrow

Today’s wave of globalization has carried environmental problems and other issues around the world, threatening the safety and security of people's lives and the survival of regional communities around the globe. These challenges threaten not just particular regions or countries but the international community as a whole; we support positive efforts to tackle these issues head on, contributing to the richness of human life and activity and helping to build a better future.

4. Cultural Transmission and Creation

Since ancient times, people have sought to live in harmony with nature. The relationships between people and nature have given rise to the diverse cultures of the world and to a wide range of adaptations and innovations to allow people to live in peace and stability. We support efforts to pass on and develop the world’s cultures, and that contribute to the creation of new culture in the future.

In accordance with the philosophy outlined above, we will provide active support via our grant-making programs not just to projects that aim to resolve issues already apparent in the present, but to innovative problem-finding projects with the vision and insight to grasp the first signs of future change, and to policy-driven efforts to bring about reforms in the way our world is run. Taking advantage of our unique strengths as a private grant-making foundation, we will work harder than ever to achieve our aims through our pioneering and forward-looking grant-giving programs.

June 9, 2010
The Toyota Foundation

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