Roundhouse Foundation is pleased to support the Oregon FFA Foundation by providing funding for a community grant program for high school students to gain real world leadership experiences in philanthropy. FFA chapters throughout Oregon are eligible to identify a local need that is currently not being met, make a plan to meet the need locally, and apply for funds through the Oregon FFA Foundation to put their plan into action to meet the need.
“This project is a result of COVID in a roundabout way,” says Oregon FFA Foundation Development Officer, Betsy Hartley. “With the Washington DC leadership conference cancelled for 2020 and 2021, we rebounded and created a new pathway for our Oregon FFA Members. This community grant program offers leadership experience where students learn about a need in their community, apply for funds and then do good work.”
“We kicked this program off in the Spring of 2021 and mid-term reports say awards are going to really good use,” Hartley continues. “With Roundhouse’s support we can scale this up to offer bigger incentives and more support for students and chapters to engage in community partnerships and local problem-solving.”
Oregon FFA was founded in 1929 and today continues to help the next generation rise to meet agricultural challenges by helping its members develop their own unique talents and explore their interests in a broad range of career pathways. The Oregon FFA is a three-legged organization encompassing the Association, Foundation, and Alumni that work together to encourage Oregon FFA members to thrive, succeed, and be educated in the agriculture industry.
Funds for community projects through this new grant opportunity are available after students attend a leadership training. Members take what they learned and put it into tangible action by applying for a community grant. They are asked to pinpoint their strengths and passions, identify a need and potential partners, create measurable goals and realistic objectives on how to affect change in their local community, and are supported by educators and business leaders throughout the process. Members are also asked to include stakeholder roles and responsibilities, time frames, expected short-term and long-term outcomes as well as available and needed resources.
If awarded a grant, members will be required to submit a mid-project follow-up and a final report to measure whether project goals were met and what lessons were learned.
“Developing and growing local leaders who understand, value and have real-life success with collaboration is at the heart of growth and innovation,” says Hartley. “Identifying solutions that solve local problems can have a profound butterfly effect felt far and wide. This program is an innovative approach to enhance the opportunity many Oregon students have to learn about community service and develop partnerships.”
“Supporting young people with opportunities to make an impact on what is important to them in their own communities helps grow the next generation of community builders,” says Erin Borla, Executive Director of the Roundhouse Foundation. “FFA has a long-standing tradition of developing young leaders throughout communities across Oregon and the country. We are looking forward to hearing about the solutions that come from these FFA members and how they are implemented in their communities.”
Photos and logo courtesy of Oregon FFA Foundation