Doing our part with heart
MFA Incorporated Charitable Foundation helps fund community projects that support agriculture, education and rural life.
High school agriculture programs and small-town sports. Food pantries and fair boards. Volunteer fire departments and community parks.
All of these causes—and more—are benefiting from grants awarded by the MFA Incorporated Charitable Foundation, which was founded in 2005 to provide financial assistance for worthy projects related to rural youth, agriculture and cooperative education. It also supports nonprofit organizations that are active in improving quality of life in their communities.
This year, the foundation distributed more than $310,000 to nonprofit organizations throughout the territory where MFA and its affiliates operate. Those grants included more than $106,000 for community projects, nearly $67,000 for education, more than $79,000 for food security programs and $58,000 to improve public safety.
In total, the Charitable Foundation has awarded $2,076,363 since its establishment 17 years ago. Giving back to the communities MFA serves is not only one of the key cooperative principles but also demonstrates the company’s stewardship value, said MFA Incorporated CEO Ernie Verslues.
“MFA’s success isn’t measured solely by sales volumes and the ability to serve our member-owners,” he said. “We believe the true measure of a company is what we give back to the industry and communities we serve.”
Among the more substantial donations in 2022 were $50,000 earmarked for volunteer fire departments, $25,000 to fund FFA Supervised Agricultural Experience projects, $15,000 to bolster the Missouri Farmers Care Drive to Feed Kids and $7,500 to help sponsor the Central Missouri Honor Flight Tractor Pull. Other grants ranged from several hundred to several thousand dollars.
Grant requests for the MFA Incorporated Charitable Foundation require an MFA employee sponsor. Here are a few examples of this year’s grant recipients:
• A $5,000 grant will help FFA members and ag students at Missouri’s California R-1 High School expand their livestock facility to house show animals in a safe environment and provide students hands-on management of their projects.
• Jasper, Mo., schools received $5,000 to go toward new playground equipment, focusing on accessibility for the district’s 479 students.
• The foundation donated $2,000 to the “Dollars for Diamonds” campaign at Adair County R-1 School in Novinger, Mo., to help make much-needed upgrades to the lights at the school’s ballfield, which is used year-round by both baseball and softball teams as well as summer leagues.
• The Jacksonville Assistance League of the Missouri Veterans Cemetery will use a $2,000 MFA Incorporated Charitable Foundation grant to improve the cemetery grounds and install a reflection garden.
• MFA provided J.T. Richardson’s Northwestern Community Shooting Complex $5,000 to build a shooting range for local FFA trap teams and 4-H shooting sports teams. The range will be used for practices and to host competitions.
• The Orrick Booster Club is reintroducing Little League Basketball in the community for the 2022-2023 season, and a $2,500 grant will partially fund new goals, basketballs and uniforms.
• Willow Springs FFA will be able to expand and modernize its greenhouse operation with $5,000 from the MFA Charitable Foundation. The updated facility will allow for increased production and advance the program’s goal of preparing students for college and career readiness after high school.
In addition to its Charitable Foundation giving, MFA Incorporated also helps provide educational opportunities for youth through the MFA Foundation, which is jointly administered by MFA Incorporated and MFA Oil and their local affiliates. This includes the MFA Scholarships, which are awarded to children, stepchildren or grandchildren/step-grandchildren of MFA Incorporated and MFA Oil member-level customers. In total, nearly $17 million has been awarded since that program began in 1965. The 2022 application period is now open and runs until Feb. 15, 2023.
While the college scholarship program constitutes the main thrust of the MFA Incorporated/MFA Oil Foundation, it also makes gifts directly to private and public colleges as well as contributions to the Missouri 4-H Foundation, Missouri FFA Association and the Missouri Young Farmers Association. In addition, the MFA Foundation administers special scholarship programs and has made substantial contributions to the University of Missouri College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources.
For more information on MFA charitable giving, visit mfa-inc.com/charity.
Read more in this Dec/Jan2023 issue of Today’s Farmer
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