Between the Tuscarora State Forest and the Susquehanna River, Perry County, Pa., is home to hundreds of hidden fishing holes, the rolling hills of the Appalachian Mountains and members of the Greenwood FFA Chapter.
Since 1939, the Greenwood FFA Chapter has developed premier leadership, personal growth and career success for its members. Despite many challenges over the past few decades, the chapter has grown in number, success and recognition. Navigating these ups and downs was possible through the support of active alumni.
“Alumni members are not only great sources of support but also a wealth of information,” says Heather Brummer, a member of the Greenwood FFA Alumni and Supporters Chapter. “Members of our alumni are active in the Greenwood FFA Advisory Committee that meets each year to review the program of activities (POA) and to offer suggestions.”
Advising on the POA allows alumni members to support the chapter year-round by judging contests, preparing members for state and national competitions, giving presentations in the classrooms and hosting field trips to local farms.
Executing these activities often takes a significant investment, as chapters nationwide can attest. The FFA Alumni Legacy Grant, made possible by Tractor Supply Company, was the perfect opportunity for various Perry County organizations to work together to plan a Farm to Fork Dinner to raise funds for the alumni and supporters and FFA chapters in the area.
Lives Are Changed
FFA Alumni Legacy Grants can be used to create an FFA Alumni and Supporters chapter, improve the quality of existing chapters or, like the grant the Greenwood FFA Chapter received in 2017, provide more opportunities for partnership between FFA chapters and alumni and supporters chapters.
“The application process for the FFA Alumni Legacy Grant was easy,” Brummer says. “We were planning our second Farm to Fork Dinner fundraiser at the time. The alumni had some ideas to make the evening more financially successful and to collect contact information from potential supporters.”
Local businesses offered financial donations, goods for a silent and live auction, and food for the dinner. Through the FFA Alumni Legacy Grant, the chapter developed a new database to gather contact information for the nearly 300 people who attended the event. More than $2,000 was donated to the three FFA chapters and alumni programs within the county, and countless connections were made for potential FFA Alumni and Supporters projects in the future.
“In working with other alumni chapters, it is evident that members come in with some level of excitement for projects and for bringing new ideas,” Brummer says. “It is easy to get burned out by funding, planning and implementing projects. The FFA Alumni Legacy Grant alleviated that stress by providing initial funding, which provided more direct support to the FFA chapters at the completion of the project.”
To learn more about the FFA Alumni Legacy Grant and other opportunities to develop an FFA Alumni and Supporters Chapter, visit FFA.org/AlumniGrants.