Agricultural educators play a critical role in preparing the next generation in agriculture, however the journey to becoming an educator often requires navigating financial hurdles.
For example, many first-year teachers are faced with covering the costs of their college education plus housing and travel expenses to complete their student-teacher training before they begin earning a regular paycheck. The Iowa FFA Foundation is working to minimize this burden.
Funds raised from the 8th Annual Black Tie Blue Jackets Gala combined with generous donations from several partner organizations, including FCSAmerica, helped the Iowa FFA Foundation launch an endowment to support the recruitment, retention and diversity, equity and inclusion efforts of agricultural educators.
Using the funds, the Iowa FFA Foundation provided 25 first-year agricultural educators with a $1,000 stipend for living expenses while they work to become established in their new schools and communities.
“As we look to the 100th anniversary of FFA in 2029, we must continue to find ways to support the growing need for agricultural educators in Iowa,” says Josh Remington, executive director of the Iowa FFA Foundation. “Fortunately, the New Ag Teacher Incentives program is helping to fill that gap one teacher at a time.”
Hear from some of the endowment recipients directly:
“I wanted to send a heartfelt thank you for the $1,000 gift from the donors of the Iowa FFA
Foundation. I have had an unestimated year of challenges and this contribution will ease some of that stress!”
“I would like to extend our gratitude to you for providing funds for the New Ag Teacher
Incentives. Speaking from experience, student teaching and the first year of teaching can be brutal financially! We greatly appreciate you investment in our preservice and new teachers!”
“I don’t think the donors and partners of the Iowa FFA Foundation will ever know how much this means to me. Because of my student loans to get this degree, I was recently declined a credit card. With only $15 in my bank account prior to receiving this award, I had no idea how I was going to be able to pay my living expenses. Thank you!”
“As a nontraditional college student, I have become accustomed to doing things a bit different. While others took the weekend off, I was doing my college course work so I could work a full-time job. I had to give up this job in order to start my teaching career. For me, missing a meal is tough, but not impossible. However, I am a single-father of three children – and I can’t bear to tell them that because of my desire to be a teacher we won’t have food to put on the table. This check is truly an answer to my prayers!”