Although FFA provided Taylor (McNeel) Wiseman with countless skills and opportunities, she believes the spirit of giving was one of the most powerful.
A tornado ripped through her hometown of Vilonia, Ark., when Wiseman was in the 10th grade at Vilonia High School, and the response from FFA was swift.
“Our FFA chapter went out to make sure our neighbors were OK and checked on all of the farmers to make sure their livestock was safe and had shelter and feed,” recalls Wiseman, who served as the 2015-16 national president. “It was the most amazing example of service coming to life to see people coming together when our town had been ripped apart.”
The Vilonia FFA Chapter received countless letters and donations from other chapters nationwide, helping the entire community feel supported in its struggle to rebuild. The experience — and the connection to FFA members near and far — solidified Wiseman’s commitment to FFA and her desire to give back to the organization.
“It takes all kinds of people with all kinds of resources to make FFA work,” she says. “I was so proud to participate in volunteer projects, leadership camps, and state and national conventions, and I want to give back.”
Anyone can provide support financially through the National FFA Foundation. The foundation, which celebrates its 75th anniversary this year, gives financial support to provide blue jackets for FFA members in need, scholarships, Living to Serve grants and more.
Wiseman was the recipient of two national FFA scholarships that helped her achieve her goals as an undergraduate at Southern Arkansas University. As she pursues a graduate degree in agricultural economics at the University of Arkansas and serves as chair of the National FFA Alumni and Supporters advisory committee, she has prioritized contributing to the FFA foundation.
It feels good to give back, Wiseman explains, because her contributions help other high school students who share a passion for agriculture.
“The FFA foundation is made up of people who believe in FFA and have the passion and the talents to make sure these experiences are possible,” she says. “Their commitment ensures that agricultural education instructors, FFA advisors and FFA members can focus on what they do best, which is being leaders in their communities. It’s important for us, as alumni, to show up, volunteer and, if we can, donate.”