Largest Endowment in FFA history to Impact ThousandsWed, 05 Jun 2013 15:02:42 CDT
A new endowment that has been established with the National FFA Foundation will allow thousands of future FFA members to attend the organization's largest leadership development conference - free of charge.
Once active, the Glenn and Maggie Stith Leadership Development Fund Endowment could provide about $1,500 each for 110 eligible FFA members from throughout the country to attend the annual Washington Leadership Conference each year. The scholarship will be awarded to the National FFA Organization to cover the cost of each recipient to attend the conference and provide a stipend to cover travel, meals, lodging and other conference-related expenses.
Glenn Stith of Ankeny, Iowa, who grew up on a family farm in Kentucky and was an FFA member in high school, was vice president of U.S. Branded Business for Seeds, Biotech Traits and Chemistry and Global Lead of Seminis Vegetable Seeds at Monsanto for 35 years. After retiring in 2010, he was named senior associate at Context Network, a business management and strategy consulting firm providing services to global agriculture, biotechnology and food companies.
Stith and wife Maggie, a senior regional director at the National FFA Foundation, announced their gift today at the 2013 Washington Leadership Conference in Washington, D.C.
"My dad told me and my two brothers that we would have to find our own way back from high school sports events. We lived 20 miles away from high school. But my dad took time away from farming to drive us to and from FFA activities," Glenn Stith said. "That's how strongly he felt about FFA and agricultural education."
To be eligible for a scholarship to attend the conference through the endowment, students must be active FFA members in good academic standing with a minimum of a 2.5 cumulative GPA. Qualifying FFA members must demonstrate financial need and be first-time attendees to the conference. Eligible FFA members who reside in Kentucky will be given first preference to receive a scholarship to attend the conference.
More than 1,800 students are registered for the 2013 Washington Leadership Conference, the second-largest student experience that the National FFA Organization hosts each year. From June 4-July 21, FFA members will spend a week under the guidance of educational professionals, counselors and professional FFA staff members. In workshops, seminars and small groups, students will focus on identifying and developing their personal strengths and goals and undergo comprehensive leadership training that will help them guide their local FFA chapters.
Students will also analyze needs of their communities back home, develop a wide-ranging and high-impact community-service initiative and implement their plan with the help of their FFA chapter upon return home. Students in recent years have created food and clothing drives, volunteer campaigns, educational outreach initiatives and more.
"Glenn and Maggie's generosity will make it possible for thousands of FFA members to attend the Washington Leadership Conference for years to come," said National FFA Organization CEO Dr. Dwight Armstrong. "Their generosity focuses on one of our core values, which is living to serve. Giving back and helping future generations has always been a driving force in Glenn Stith's personal and professional life. He and Maggie encourage others to contemplate how they can make a difference in the lives of others through dedication and support."
Since being an FFA member, earning a bachelor's degree in agriculture economics from the University of Kentucky and an executive master's degree from Washington University, Stith has made giving back to FFA a top priority, including stints serving as chair of the foundation's Sponsors' Board and on the board of trustees. He became a member of the foundation's Individual Giving Council last year and will assume chair of the group later this year.
"The most satisfying thing I can do is give back and help young people achieve their dreams and have an opportunity to enjoy a wonderful career like I've had," he said. "I take a great deal of pleasure in contributing. There is no greater satisfaction than being able to give back to a good cause like FFA."
The National FFA Foundation is the fundraising arm of the National FFA Organization, which provides leadership, personal growth and career success training through agricultural education to 557,318 student members in grades seven through 12 who belong to one of 7,498 local FFA chapters throughout the U.S., Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands.
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