Largest endowment in FFA history to impact thousands

By Agri-Pulse staff

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WASHINGTON, June 5, 2013 - A new endowment established with the National FFA Foundation will make it easier for FFA members to attend the organization's largest leadership conference. 
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 grew up on a family farm in Kentucky, was an FFA member in high school, and retired from Monsanto in 2010 after 35 years working for the company. Now a senior associate at Context Network, Stith said the importance of FFA was ingrained in his family by his father. 

“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.”

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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. 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.

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,” Stith 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.”

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