Following a successful initial campaign in 2013, Tractor Supply Company has announced the second annual Growing Scholars program in partnership with the National FFA Foundation.
Last year, Tractor Supply customers donated $362,324, resulting in 284 scholarships awarded to FFA members in their pursuit of a college degree.
The Growing Scholars program will be supported nationally by each of the more than 1,245 Tractor Supply and Del's Feed & Farm Supply stores Feb. 14-23, which includes National FFA Week.
Tractor Supply customers can donate $1 or more at store registers during the checkout process to support local FFA chapters and their members. Ninety percent of funds raised through Tractor Supply's Growing Scholars program will be utilized to fund scholarships for FFA members. The remaining 10% of donations will benefit state FFA organizations.
"The funding we received from our customers last year was incredible," said Tractor Supply President and CEO Greg Sandfort. "We're honored to be able to provide critical funding to FFA members who intend to pursue a college degree and local FFA chapters that enrich the lives of young members by teaching life skills, citizenship and leadership qualities. Giving back to our 1,200-plus communities that we serve is very important, and the Growing Scholars program is one of the ways that we support our current and future customers and future team members."
To be eligible for the scholarship program, students must be current FFA members and either high school seniors or a freshman, sophomore or junior college student seeking a two- or four-year degree or other specialized training program. Major areas of study will also be considered when determining scholarship recipients.
"We can't thank Tractor Supply and its customers enough for supporting FFA, student and alumni members and agriculture education in general," said National FFA Foundation Executive Director Robert K. Cooper. "The Growing Scholars program truly makes a difference in the lives of our youth."
In addition to the Growing Scholars program, Tractor Supply and the National FFA Foundation have many other joint initiatives, including the FFA horse evaluation career development event, National FFA Week and the annual National Association of Agricultural Educators Conference.
At an individual store level, Tractor Supply continually hosts fund-raising events and works closely with local FFA chapters and high school agriculture advisors to provide resources and leverage synergies.
"Local high school agricultural advisors and FFA chapters feel at home in their local Tractor Supply stores," said John Wendler, senior vice president of marketing at Tractor Supply. "These groups often host fund-raising events at our stores to raise money for community projects, like building a school greenhouse, a new bridge in a public park or an animal care lab.
"Our stores also work with local FFA members to support specific programs and proficiencies by providing demonstrations from knowledgeable Tractor Supply employees and our vendor partners, which brings significant value to both organizations," Wendler added.