A report about an education trust fund and a plea for money for a mental health program were heard at Monday morning’s Union County board meeting.
BNA Bank Vice President Mike Staten introduced Mike Clayborne president of the CREATE Foundation of Tupelo. CREATE is the administrator of the $50-million Toyota Wellspring Education Fund, which was established to benefit the education of K-12 students in Union, Pontotoc and Lee counties. The $50-million gift, payable over a period of ten years, was announced by Toyota executives at the 2007 groundbreaking of the company’s new manufacturing plant near Blue Springs in eastern Union County.
Clayborne said earnings from the fund had been used during the last year to enhance career awareness for students in the eight school districts which are beneficiaries of the fund. He said funds have also been used for professional development opportunities for educators and administrators, including a recent trip to Columbus, Indiana. Staten represents Union County on the advisory board of the Toyota Education Fund.
Ricardo Fraga, chief executive officer of Lifecore Health Group and the Region III Mental Health Center in Tupelo, told the board state funding for Region III had been cut during the recent legislative session. He asked for more funding help from Union County. The Board of Supervisors appropriated $23,500 for Region III during the current fiscal year. According to CBS News, the legislature and governor cut funding for mental health services in Mississippi by more than 10 percent for the coming 2017 fiscal year.