When you think about FFA, you may not think about the banking industry. However, as the Kansas FFA Foundation has launched an endowment campaign to support the Kansas FFA, it has become increasingly clear that many within the banking world got their start within this premier youth leadership organization.
Michael Burns of Dodge City, Kansas, was first a member of the Jetmore FFA chapter and now serves as the Senior Vice President of Commercial Banking at Landmark National Bank, working daily with local businesses and ag producers. Michael explained how the Kansas FFA impacted his career path. “The FFA helped me from a leadership development standpoint which has been critical in my position with Landmark.” He continued: “I also gained an understanding of community service, which has pushed me to be active in my community.”
Burns, a five-year member of the Kansas FFA Foundation Board of Trustees, helped decide to move forward with the Our Youth. Our Future. Our Kansas FFA Endowment+ Campaign, a project with the goal of raising $5 million to expand the resources available to support the Kansas FFA Association and provide funding stability. The Kansas FFA Foundation launched the statewide campaign in the spring of 2022 and has seen major successes. Most notably, a $1,000,000 pledge from Tom and Maggie Hemmer of Salina, Kansas. “The million-dollar contribution was a major windfall, but it will take gifts of all sizes to be successful on this critically important campaign. If everyone gives what they truly can, this campaign will be successful,” said Burns.
For nearly 100 years, the Kansas FFA Association has made an impact on the lives of thousands of young people across the state of Kansas. With 30% growth over the last decade, they reached a historic membership level with 11,470 Kansas FFA members in 226 chapters last year. And even with the incredible growth they have experienced, the state FFA association’s budget has not increased and currently has no reliable source of added revenue. The campaign was created to better equip the Kansas FFA with the resources it needs to make FFA successful at all levels in Kansas, from the local chapter to the state association.
“Stability for the next hundred years is our goal,” said Beth Gaines, Kansas FFA Foundation Executive Director. “We looked to our neighboring states’ FFA programs and realized that many of them can offer more support and opportunities than we can. One big difference stood out. They have endowments in place, and we didn’t. We’re looking forward to the increased stability and the opportunities our endowment will bring as it grows and matures.”
The Kansas FFA Foundation is hoping members of the Kansas Bankers Association will participate in this campaign. “There are hundreds of members of the Kansas Bankers Association out there who gained leadership skills, drive, and communication skills in the Kansas FFA, and this is a great opportunity to support the next generation of ag producers, ag business leaders, and bankers,” said Burns.
The Kansas Bankers Association members can help support this important project in many different ways:
1. Ask your Board to consider a pledge or contribution
A five-year pledge makes it easy to make a sizable contribution. Discuss with your Board if they would be willing to pledge to support the future of agriculture. The Kansas FFA Foundation can also send information or a representative to speak to your organization.
2. Host an event
If your organization is willing, please consider hosting a social hour at your location and inviting the Kansas FFA Foundation to come to interact and speak. These no-pressure events help educate the public about the Kansas FFA and the future.
3. Make a personal contribution
Your donation or pledge to the Kansas FFA Foundation will help ensure quality ag education for decades to come.
4. Spread the word
You can help the Kansas FFA Foundation by sharing information about the campaign and encouraging FFA supporters to learn more.
You can find more information about the campaign at www.ksffa.org/foundation/endowment. If you have questions regarding the campaign or how to make a pledge, please contact Johanna Anderes at 785-410-7313 or firstname.lastname@example.org.