Star Mission Partnerships are a proven support base for Wisconsin FFA members. To date, Wisconsin FFA entities have collectively benefitted from $80,000 in unrestricted funds and an additional $50,000 in project-specific grant funds, after the program was initially launched in fall 2011.
Star Mission Partners are dedicated to supporting the core of the Wisconsin FFA mission: developing members' potential for premier leadership, personal growth and career success. Their partnership aids all entities of Wisconsin FFA (Wisconsin FFA Alumni, Wisconsin Association of FFA, Wisconsin FFA Center, Wisconsin FFA Foundation and Wisconsin Association of Agricultural Educators).
Half of their contribution is directly distributed evenly to the five organizations for their annual operations. For example, WAAE has utilized their funds for advocacy opportunities such as sending four representatives to the National Policy Seminar annually and hosting an interactive booth during the Wisconsin Association of School Boards Convention.
The other half of contributions from Star Mission partnerships is used as an internal grant program, wherein the five Wisconsin FFA entities can request resources for a project that will benefit the whole of Wisconsin Agricultural Education and FFA.
The initial grant programs have included a new, unified website for all of the organizations (www.WisconsinAgEd.org), an Alumni Seminar newly added to the Wisconsin FFA Convention and instructional packets developed as a resource for current teachers.
"This is obviously a huge resource for us judging by the creative, innovative thinking during our meetings and brainstorming sessions whenever we remind everyone of these available funds," says Jeff Hicken, State FFA Advisor and Agriculture and Natural Resources Education Consultant.
The long-term impact of the Star Mission Partner support means financial stability and foundation for growth for Wisconsin Agricultural Education and FFA. This program is helping to define the trajectory for the organization.
Whereas the organizations were previously faced with limited resources for operating budgets that didn't leave margin for new projects, they now have the ability to make greater strides in improving aspects that will improve the overall program. It is still the staff and volunteers who create and carry out the efforts, but the resources are available to whoever steps up to the task.
"The impact of these support funds in just the first couple years of the program has far exceeded everyone's expectations. There are so many projects and initiatives that have occurred during that time that simply would not have happened had these resources not been available," says Sara Schoenborn, Wisconsin FFA Foundation executive director.
Current Two-Star Mission Partners include ANIMART, Badgerland Financial, CHS Foundation, Organic Valley/CROPP Cooperative, Inc. and Rural Mutual Insurance Company. One-Star Mission Partners are the Alliant Energy Foundation and Oscar Mayer.
Learn more about the Wisconsin FFA Foundation and sponsorship opportunities by visiting www.wisconsinffafoundation.org.