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2012-13 National FFA Officer Team commits to give

FFA donor believes in helping others help themselves

By Katy Mumaw

By Katy Mumaw

“Most importantly I want to help others help themselves,” Don Ball, who has been an active public servant for more than 50 years, said. This core value influenced Ball and wife Mira to recently endow $500,000 to the Give the Gift of Blue program. This program is a channel for FFA members to receive a jacket they may not have otherwise been able to afford.

Early during their year of service, the 2012-13 National FFA Officer Team decided to give back to FFA and encourage others to do the same.


t the beginning of their year of service, 2012-13 national officers Clay Sapp, Lindsey Anderson, Wiley Bailey, Brennan Costello, Joenelle Futrell and Kalie Hall created a set of values they wanted to be anchored by. In thinking of different values they wanted to exude, “give” rose to the top. “We wanted to give back to an organization that has poured so much investment into us,” Sapp, the 2012-13 national FFA president, said. “Obviously during our year we would give of our time and talents, but we wanted to do something


all credits his involvement in FFA as an important step in both his public and private career paths. He served as both a local and regional officer in FFA, and his FFA experience familiarized him with parliamentary procedure. The importance of that familiarity came to fruition during the three terms he served in the Kentucky legislature. If it wasn’t for FFA, Ball admits, he wouldn’t have had the opportunities to travel and those personal development experiences. The FFA jacket wore during his tenure in FFA was a hand-me-down. Because of this, providing deserving students with blue corduroy jackets of their own is especially meaningful. The Balls’ gift to Give the Gift of Blue will allow up to 400 jackets to be awarded annually. Ball grew up in western Kentucky and moved to Lexington in 1954 to attend the University of Kentucky. He and his wife incorporated Ball Homes, a residential construction company, in 1959. They have also been actively involved in Kentucky’s Thoroughbred industry. Continued on page 2

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Inside This Issue:

• AgCN Helps Bridge the Gap • CNH Industrial Capital Supports FFA • Ffa Donor Believes in Helping

Don Ball and his wife, Mira, welcomed state and national officers to their home in February. The Balls recently endowed $500,000 to the Give the Gift of Blue program, which awards jackets to deserving FFA members.

Blue Jackets. Bright Futures!

Spring 2014


FFA donor believes in helping others help themselves Continued from page 1

Their list of professional and political achievements is impressive, but philanthropy has been their primary motivation. “I am most proud of the fact that I have been able to give back to my community in ways I would have never imagined,” Ball said. For Ball and his wife, housing has played a key role in giving back. Ball Homes has built

I am most proud of the fact that I have been able to give back to my community in ways I would have never imagined. many homes for first-time home buyers, and the Balls, through their non-profit Barkham Inc., have created programs to help people who would normally be unable to consider home ownership. Those who have benefitted have included single parents pursuing their education, people with special needs and/or issues of mental health, victims of domestic violence, and more. In 2000, Ball was recognized by BUILDER Magazine with the Hearthstone BUILDER Humanitarian Award, which annually honors one builder who has demonstrated a lifetime commitment to making their community a better place to work and live. From coaching little league baseball and football teams to serving in political office and helping to create organizations that facilitate self-sufficiency, Ball has lived a life of service. When asked how to get others involved in supporting FFA, he responded, “Exposure to FFA and the opportunities it provides for our youth. FFA continues to teach leadership and community service, and it is a big deal!”


SPring 2014

Blue Jackets. Bright Futures!

2012-13 National FFA Officer Team commits to give Continued from page 1

more that would make an impact on members for years to come.” While having conversations with the folks from the National FFA Foundation, the team learned the impact that donors and sponsors have had because of monetary gifts. They also understood, at the time, that the Leadership Matching Challenge doubled any gift that was given from an individual donor. “So one evening at [the restaurant] Steak & Shake in Indianapolis, we were talking about things that we would like to do during the year and we all decided that we wanted to give as a team,” Sapp said. When asked what they wanted the funds to go toward, Sapp replied, “For us it is more about providing as many enriching experiences to FFA members as possible. There are certainly key programs, like WLC and the Agriscience Fair, that touch so many mem-

bers, and we just want to ensure that those chances to learn and network still exist five and 10 years down the road.” Sapp is eager to continue giving back. “I am looking forward to investing more time in local FFA chapters. There are so many talented FFA members on the local level who just need guidance and support. That was me just a few years ago. I can’t wait to help run local contests and secure funds for local chapters. The local chapter is the heart of our organization, and I can’t wait to be engaged on that level again. “In order for others to receive the same experiences that we received, we as alumni have to make a point to invest in our programs through our resources that we have, so that FFA can continue to have an impact on members’ lives,” Sapp said.

AgCN helps bridge the gap between post-secondary and career success agement system. It helps members translate their high school achievements into post-secondary success. AgCN allows members to apply for scholarships and grants online, and it provides the path to connect future employees with hiring companies. Cargill signed on as an AgCN cornerstone sponsor in order to tap into After making connectop FFA talent looking for post-secondary career options. tions at the National FFA Convention & Expo, Dirk early 90,000 FFA members will graduate Jones of Cargill recognized AgCN as a comhigh school this year. Some may be colponent to the solution for the workforce lege-bound while others will jump straight needs he was experiencing. AgCN would help into the workforce. But, securing those colfill the gap between interested, educated and lege scholarships or landing that first job inqualified FFA members and the available terview can be a daunting challenge. jobs and internships at Cargill. Employers throughout the industry of agCargill signed on as a cornerstone sponriculture have been eyeing FFA graduates for sor of AgCN and as an early adopter will help years because they know they represent some drive the development and implementation of the top talent available. Employers face a of the system. As it matures, AgCN will be challenge of filling their open job positions the primary tool for connecting FFA memand connecting with qualified candidates. bers to jobs and developing the career sucTo help bridge this gap, FFA developed the cess component of the FFA mission. Agricultural Career Network (AgCN). AgCN, For more information on how you can however, is more than a portal for career extap into AgCN, visit ploration. It is a membership success man-


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CNH Industrial Capital supports FFA through local and state recognition

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We greatly appreciate the positive impact that FFA has on so many young people and their communities. CNH Industrial Capital’s sponsorship of the State and Local Stars Recognition Program will recognize and award FFA members across the country at both the chapter and state level.


By Abigail Nickel

or years, CNH Industrial Capital has joined forces with the National FFA Foundation to help pave the way for hundreds of FFA members and their futures through the FFA scholarship program. Recently, that support has taken a slight shift in focus and is reaching FFA members at a level that hits a little closer to home through the co-sponsorship of the State and Local Stars Recognition Program. Star awards recognized at the local level within the National FFA Organization include the Star Greenhand, the Star Chapter Farmer, Star in Agribusiness, Star in Agricultural Placement and Star in Agriscience. One award can be presented in each of these categories in each local chapter across the United States. These awards can also be recognized at the state level and are considered the highest awards given by the state associations. CNH Industrial Capital’s sponsorship of the State and Local Stars Recognition Program will provide the opportunity to recognize and award FFA members across the country at both the chapter and state level. Chapter-level recipients receive a certificate and a medal to be worn on their FFA jacket, and state-level recipients will receive a certificate and a monetary award. “Our shift to the State and Local Stars Recognition Program is a natural fit for the agriculture brands we support,” CNH Industrial Capital America LLC President Steve Bierman said. “This recognition award program directly complements the support Case IH and New Holland provide at the national level for both the American FFA Degree/Stars Recognition Program and the Proficiency Award Recognition Program respectively.” North America Commercial Lending Manager Danielle Waterworth from CNH Industrial Capital was a former winner of the scholarship program and recognizes what CNH Industrial Capital’s support can do for FFA members and their futures. “It provides a good message to the kids who are working really hard—I think it sends the message that if you do a good job and keep working hard, you can and will be rewarded for it,” Waterworth said. Bierman believes that one of the most valuable components of their commitment to the National FFA Foundation is being able to witness and take part in the impact that FFA has on members across the nation. “We greatly appreciate the positive impact that FFA has on so many young people and their communities. Each year we are amazed with the student accomplishments and the commitment of these students to succeed in their chosen field of interest,” Bierman said. “With the solid foundation that FFA offers, there is a potential for many of the FFA members to develop into future leaders who will have a great effect on communities across the globe. We are glad we can support an organization that can do so much for so many,” Bierman said.


Sponsor SPotlight: Firestone’s legacy continues to lead the way for FFA By Katy Mumaw


uring last year’s National FFA Convention & Expo, 2013 Past Chair Ken Allen passed the hat to the new National FFA Foundation Sponsors’ Board chair. We look at the years of dedication and service he and his company, Firestone Tires, have given as a testament to the strength of their leadership. The Firestone family — Harvey S. Firestone and his six children — played a huge role in establishing and supporting the National FFA Foundation, and that support continues today. As one of the founding companies involved in chartering the foundation, Firestone worked with International Harvester and John Deere to form the Future Farmers of America Foundation in 1944. In 1946-47, Firestone supported Gus R. Douglass Jr., the national FFA president at the time, to participate in the first business and industry tour. On this tour Douglass met the Firestone family and became acquainted with their business and values. Douglass later went to work for Firestone Farm Tire Company as a tire salesman. Building those lifelong relationships between members and business and industry is what it’s all about, Allen said. “Before the foundation was even created, Firestone built a box to ship from one company to another to collect donations for FFA,” Allen, the current president of Firestone Farm Tires, said. He is responsible for the manufacturing, sales and marketing of Firestone-brand

Russell Firestone presents a check to Gus Douglass, the 1946-47 national FFA president, during the first tour of business and industry by a national officer. Continued on page 4

Blue Jackets. Bright Futures!

Spring 2014


National FFA Foundation P.O. Box 68960, 6060 FFA Drive Indianapolis, IN 46268-0960

Blue Jackets. Bright Futures!

Blue Jackets. Bright Futures! ‘‘Blue Jackets. Bright Futures” is a newsletter published by the National FFA Foundation, which builds partnerships with industry, education, government, other foundations and individuals to secure financial resources to fund FFA activities, recognize member achievements, develop student leaders and support the future of agricultural education. Molly Ball, President 317-802-4357 Todd Greenwood, Director Corporate Contributions 317-802-4361 Ryan Gallagher, Director Individual Giving and Major Gifts 317-802-4297 4

Spring 2014

Blue Jackets. Bright Futures!

Donor SPotlight: sponsor SPotlighT: (continued) Firestone’s legacy continues to lead the way for FFA Continued from page 3

agricultural, forestry and light construction tires. The Firestone family was also instrumental in getting President Dwight D. Eisenhower to speak at the 1953 National FFA Convention. Raymond Firestone had become friends with the young Lt. Dwight Eisenhower and shared his fondness of FFA with the future president. Since the original Firestone family’s commitment to FFA, four other executives of the company have taken on the role of foundation board chair, including Allen. “It is clear, the FFA mission mirrors our company’s purpose,” Allen said. “Harvey Firestone valued FFA and looked at the support of it as being core to the business, as it still is today. As long as we are a leader in agriculture mobility solutions, we are a consumer of talent, and there is no doubt in our minds that FFA is a developer and provider of great talent at every level, from mechanics to engineers and the future leadership.”

Allen continues his involvement with FFA and is working with current sponsors’ board chair Beth Bechdol to reengage past sponsors’ board chairs. Six former chairs attended the 86th National FFA Convention & Expo. They learned how the organization has been changing and growing. Molly Ball, president of the National FFA Foundation, said that the past chairs’ reunion was exciting to see and hopes that will create a snowball effect for future efforts. “This is the first year we’ve had the opportunity to reconnect with past chairs and have them come back. Their involvement is extremely important to us. We need to continue to make more of an effort to connect with them because of their impact on FFA and agriculture as a whole,” Ball said. Allen is confident that the Firestone Farm Tire legacy will continue to lead the way for future efforts to connect both former sponsors’ board chairs and sponsors for the National FFA Foundation.

Spring 2014 Blue Jackets. Bright Futures, the official newsletter of the National FFA Foundation  
Spring 2014 Blue Jackets. Bright Futures, the official newsletter of the National FFA Foundation