Foundation FAQs

Q: What is FFA?

A: The National FFA Organization is a dynamic youth organization that changes lives and prepares students for premier leadership, personal growth and career success through agricultural education. An example of what works well in education, FFA is an intracurricular organization that implements the three-circle model of education – classroom instruction, hands-on learning and leadership development through FFA programs.

Q: How is the FFA structured?

A: The National FFA Organization is a federated system of state associations, located in all 50 states, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands and Guam. Each state is typically divided into districts or regions and each made up of numerous local chapters. FFA members engage in the FFA on a local level and have opportunities to engage on a regional, state and national level for more advanced leadership and competition activities. The National FFA Organization is governed by a national board of directors.

Q: Isn’t FFA just about farming, agriculture and agricultural education? Aren’t you the Future Farmers of America?

A: Agricultural education is the foundation of FFA but FFA provides leadership opportunities that extend far beyond the industry of agriculture. As the agriculture industry has changed, so has the National FFA Organization. In 1988, members changed the name from Future Farmers of America to simply the National FFA Organization. FFA prepares students for more than 300 careers in agriculture, including business, science, food safety and security and production.

Q: What does ‘intracurricular’ mean?

A: FFA provides students a comprehensive learning experience through classroom and hands-on experiences. While extracurricular activities occur outside the classroom, FFA is an intracurricular program that begins in the classroom. Students must be enrolled in an agriculture class – agriscience, horticulture, agribusiness, agriculture mechanics, animal science, plant science and others – to be FFA members. FFA is more than simply a club or extracurricular organization; it serves to prepare student leaders for experiences both inside and outside the classroom.

Q: What is the National FFA Foundation?

A: The National FFA Foundation team of professionals is committed to efficiently and effectively securing support for the programs and initiatives of the National FFA Organization and for the future of education, agriculture and student leadership development.

FFA programs are funded through corporate and individual donations and sponsorships at the local, state and national levels. The Foundation, a separately-registered nonprofit organization and works with business, industry, individuals and organizations that contribute funds for FFA programs and initiatives. The foundation also raises support for other organizations in the agricultural education community, such as professional associations for agriculture teachers. The National FFA Organization is funded through private donations and FFA members’ dues, which are only $7 annually.

Q: How is the National FFA Foundation connected to the National FFA Organization?

A: The National FFA Foundation serves as a fundraising arm for the National FFA Organization and various agricultural education-related organizations that are members of the National Council for Agricultural Education. In doing so, the foundation promotes youth leadership and career development primarily in the agriculture industry. The foundation funds awards, scholarships and other recognitions as authorized by national board of directors of FFA. The foundation also publishes an annual report to recognize receipts and expenditures, support conference and other educational facilities for the use of FFA members and their teacher advisors. The foundation is governed by a 19-member board of trustees that is comprised of educators, business sponsors, individual donors and alumni.

Q: I have heard the National FFA Foundation raises support for other organizations in addition to FFA. Is this true?

A: Yes. The National FFA Foundation is actively pursuing appropriate partnerships on behalf of other organizations who share our commitment to education, agriculture and student leadership development. Current fundraising clients include organizations that are a part of Team Ag Ed include the National FFA Organization, National Council for Agricultural Education, Postsecondary Agriculture Students, National Association of Agricultural Educators, National Association of Supervisors of Agricultural Education and Consortium of Collegiate Agricultural Organizations.

Q: What are the current strategic initiatives of the National FFA Foundation?

A: The National FFA Foundation focuses on six strategic themes, including sustainability, diversity, food and agriculture literacy, collegiate recruitment, agriculture science and global awareness and hunger relief.

The foundation is currently focused on providing support for core programs essential to the success of the FFA and its membership’s leadership and personal development. In addition, the foundation seeks to create a dynamic environment for dialogue with its many partners. Such dialogue will lead to a more rigorous agricultural sciences curriculum, food and agricultural literacy and sustainability of agriculture and the environment. Stronger partnerships will enable agricultural education to serve more students in cities and suburbs who represent diverse cultures and create global experiences and awareness to help relieve global and domestic hunger. The continuum of agricultural education from middle schools to all postsecondary institutions teaching agricultural education connects FFA members with industry partners for more scholarships, internships and opportunities for successful job placements and teacher leadership development to meet the challenges of being a key influencer in their local communities.

Q: How much of the money I donate actually goes to agricultural education and FFA?

A: About 82 percent of all sponsorship dollars support FFA members and agricultural education opportunities. Less than 20 percent is used in the foundation’s Leadership Fund that covers general foundation expenses in regard to future leadership development initiatives for students.

Q: Why should I support FFA?

A: FFA develops members by providing opportunities for premier leadership, personal growth and career success. Your contribution supports our nation’s youth both in and outside the classroom. For corporate sponsors, corporate brands can reach more than a half-million students. Sponsoring the National FFA Organization allows the opportunity to develop brand loyalty with young influencers, their families and more than 12,000 teachers.

Q: As a sponsor, how do I get recognized among the crowded sponsor list?

A: FFA makes every effort to see that sponsors are recognized for both specific program support as well as overall support of agricultural education and FFA. Sponsors should consider support of programs that are core to the FFA mission to take advantage of the strongest visibility opportunities. If a specific core program aligns closely with a sponsor’s interests, visibility will likely be more effective. While any sponsor is welcome to begin a new program, many find the most success by supporting activities where teachers and students are already engaged. By supporting the National FFA Foundation, corporations and individuals can support activities in which FFA members are already familiar and likely to remember.

Q: How do students involved in FFA perform compared to other youth?

A: Because of the engaging and comprehensive model of agricultural education, anecdotal feedback shows that FFA members earn higher scores in math and science. They are part of the solution to the national academic crisis, as FFA members are more likely to stay in school than the average of those not involved.

Q: How many members go into an agriculture careers after high school or college?

A: The exact number of FFA members who pursue careers in agriculture is unknown. But one known statistic shows many members are on the way to doing so.

Q: How many people does my contribution reach?

A: Your contribution reaches more than 1.5 million people each year – more than 500,000 FFA members, other students in agricultural education classes, parents and more than 12,000 teachers.

Q: Why do people give to the National FFA Foundation?

A: People choose to give to FFA for a variety of reasons. Most commonly, they give because the mission of the National FFA Organization supports youth leadership development. In research completed in the summer of 2009, 73 percent give to FFA for this reason. Additionally, 65 percent give to FFA because the organization’s mission aligns with their own.

Forty-five percent of corporate sponsors give to FFA to gain brand recognition while 49 percent said they give to FFA to build a positive reputation with future employees. Seventy-two percent of contributors give to further develop future leaders in agriculture.

Many individual and corporate donors give to the FFA to give back to the organization that provided priceless opportunities for them. Financially supporting FFA supports the sustainability of our organization and the future of our agriculture industry.

Q: What proof do you have that the unique educational model of the FFA really works?

A: Our intracurricular educational model proves its effectiveness through more than 80 years of growth and success in our organization and membership. Additionally, other organizations such as the Gates Foundation, Covey’s “7 Habits of Highly Effective People, National Governors Association Educational Plan,” the Center for Occupational Research and Development Domains of Learning and the broader Career and Technical Education also implement this model, named differently, as they see the progressive, successful approach.

Q: What is a Career Development Event?

A: A Career Development Events (CDE) builds upon what is learned in agricultural classes and FFA to demonstrate meaningful connections between classroom instruction and real-life scenarios CDEs. Classroom instruction comes alive as students demonstrate their skills in a competitive setting. CDEs test the abilities of individuals and teams in 23 major areas of agricultural instruction.

Q: What is a proficiency award?

A: Our proficiency award program helps FFA members set goals and learn practical skills. The program rewards FFA members at the local, state and national levels for exceptional accomplishments and excellence in a supervised agricultural experience (SAE) program. Proficiency awards are given in 47areas that represent the diversity of our agriculture industry.

Q: How does the National FFA Organization incorporate agriscience into agricultural education curriculum and FFA awards?

A: Nearly 95 percent of agricultural education programs offer agriscience in the classroom. FFA members have the opportunity to demonstrate their innovative projects through an AgriScience Fair at the state and national levels and AgriScience student awards.

Q: Is my donation to the National FFA Foundation tax deductible?

A: Yes, any donation to the National FFA Foundation is tax deductible due to our 501(c)3 status.