May 2020

Ongoing Spring Events
An FFA Sponsor recently asked if our members, “could still do FFA.” FFA is part of a “Three Circle Model” for agricultural education that includes classroom instruction (now distance learning), work-based learning and the competitive and leadership opportunities within the FFA. Yes, FFA members are actively engaged in many of the same activities they would normally be participating in, just in different ways. Here is a current recap.

  • The Leadership Development Events that normally take place at the State Convention were conducted virtually with members and judges connecting via teleconference. Here is a link to videos of the speaking events: CLICK HERE
  • The Career Development Events- Nursery/Landscape, Meats Evaluation, Floriculture, Crops, Poultry, Forestry, Mechanics and Ag Communication – will be held virtually at both district and state levels. Because there is no travel involved and less time restrictions, MORE students will be able to test their skills and explore new career opportunities than would have been possible with live events.
  • Our 2019-2020 State Officers have been posting videos six days a week on FFA social media platforms to engage with FFA members. The clips have ranged from encouraging messages, to educational, to “just for fun” ways to stay busy during quarantine.
  • The 2020-2021 State Officers were appointed and started their year in office on May 1st
  • FFA members who are high school seniors are being recognized daily via social media to celebrate their graduation and highlight their FFA memories and accomplishments.
  • Local FFA chapters have moved spring plant sales to online shopping and contactless pickup. Chapter officers organize virtual chapter meetings and team practices. Members are planting community gardens and volunteering at food banks. They are mowing lawns and doing shopping for their vulnerable neighbors. And, they are working, at home, or in the community. Sometimes for experience and cash, sometimes to help support their families. Our members continue to live out the FFA Motto: Learning to Do, Doing to Learn, Earning to Live, and Living to Serve.

The pandemic is showing FFA members and the public the multiple links in the food supply chain and the connection to global markets that affect producers and consumers alike. More time at home has increased awareness about where our food comes from, growing our own vegetables, cooking from scratch, home repairs, and creative problem solving. All things FFA members learn in the classroom, at work, or at home.

The Financial Impact of COVID-19 on Oregon FFA
Because of the financial support of the Oregon FFA Foundation, the Association was able to pivot quickly and move to a virtual convention when a live event became impossible. It was important for members and advisors that we celebrated accomplishments and presented awards to the extent possible. Cancelling the “in-person” convention resulted in a net loss to Oregon FFA of over $13,000 because of sunk costs in printing, the cost of the video production, and the loss of registration and Expo revenue.

We are reviewing budgets and adjusting future expenses to account for an expected reduction in corporate support of $106,000 by the end of the year.

Expected Cash Needs in the Near Term
The pandemic is having a financial impact on some FFA members and their families due to job loss or business closures. In addition, spring fundraising activities by FFA chapters and many of the local organizations that support them, have been curtailed or cancelled. As a result, we expect a range of needs to surface in the next few weeks that may include:

  • Covering some or of all the cost of District Leadership Camps if members or chapters lack the funds
  • State Officer training since the State Officer Summit in Washington DC will take place virtually and will need to be supplemented with additional materials
  • Travel stipends for chapters to attend leadership camps or the State Fair if school districts freeze travel budgets for school vehicles
  • PPE and sanitizing supplies for state officers as they attend any summer events that are allowed
  • Recording and broadcasting the state parliamentary procedure contest scheduled for later this summer so that members, parents, and guests can watch, and teachers can use the recording for training purposes in the fall
  • Travel and meal costs for members to conduct presentations on the Oregon Showcase education stage at the state fair to replace the experiences missed out on at the state convention
  • Technology access for FFA chapters to conduct online plant sales and other fundraising or remote celebration events
  • Stipends for ag teachers to attend the summer state professional development conference if school districts have frozen district funds that pay for professional development or travel
  • Materials needed for “virtual” state Career Development Events and technology to provide fair access for all participants
  • Equipment, broadcast services, and access to digital conference centers if summer leadership camps and other events are allowed but are limited in the number of participants so that remote participating is required
  • Travel funds for teams that qualify for national competition but cannot have the fundraising events that allow them to attend the events
  • Shipping awards and recognition plaques to state convention and career development event winners

We don’t know what all the requests might be, but the Oregon FFA Foundation needs to be in the position to provide the necessary funding to the FFA Association in uncertain times. 

How Can You Help?
There are countless community service groups and local nonprofits working to address immediate needs for food and shelter. If you receive a stimulus check and don’t need it because you are still employed or have other resources, consider where those dollars might do the most good. The economy benefits when those dollars circulate through the community.

Shop local. Get takeout from a mom and pop restaurant. Offer a side job to someone currently laid off. Hire an FFA member to care for your yard or plant a garden- they get work experience and you enjoy the benefits.

Consider becoming a member of the 1928 Society, the Oregon FFA Foundation’s individual giving program. The year 1928 was when FFA was founded. To commemorate that year, members of the “1928 Society” pledge $1,928 annually, over two years, or over three years as they are able.

We now have a “Blue and Gold” level of the 1928 Society for contributors making an annual gift of $192.80 or a recurring donation of $19.28 per month.

We have also introduced a “Blue and Gold Under 25” level for young people getting started in their careers or who are still in school. An annual gift of $19.28 entitles those under the age of 25 to membership in the 1928 Society. All Society members receive a static cling sticker for the car. Additional gifts recognize higher levels of support.

To learn more about the 1928 Society or to become a member now, CLICK HERE.

To make an online donation of any amount now CLICK HEREDonations by check may be mailed to: Oregon FFA Foundation, PO Box 1165, Canby OR 97013. The Oregon FFA Foundation is a 501(c)3 nonprofit. Donations are tax deductible.

THANK YOU!
THANK YOU, our friends and generous supporters who continue to make all this possible

Gratefully,

Oregon FFA Chief Executive Officer Shawn Dooley Email: shawn.dooley@oregonffa.com