Union FFA Alumni raise over $10,000 in one-night, multiple awards received

By on Wednesday, March 13th, 2024 in More Top Stories Northeastern Oregon News

UNION – It cannot be understated just how much heavy lifting alumni organizations do for their local schools and clubs, particularly when it comes to fundraising. Field Trips, scholarships and new construction all take time and money to make happen. Thankfully, the Union FFA chapter has no shortage of dedicated supporters.

The Union FFA Alumni chapter, comprising roughly 100 registered members and 10-12 active members, recently held their first annual dinner and auction event on Saturday, February 24th. With roughly 100 guests in attendance in the Becker Family Sale Pavilion at the Eastern Oregon Livestock Showgrounds, the alumni raised over $10,000 for the Union FFA chapter. As commented by Mandy Collins, Union Alumni President. 

“For our first-year event we were ecstatic with the amount that we raised! This opens the doors to so many opportunities. I feel like this is an accomplishment. I know it’s very specialized in the area that it’s in, but it’s impacting our whole little town!”

Currently, there is no shortage of opportunities in the works. According to Collins, the funds will go toward scholarships and travel expenses for the Union FFA chapter. Educational scholarships on offer will cover trade schools, colleges and community colleges, and certificate programs. Another scholarship being supported is the Washington Leadership Conference, where the funds will be used to send two (though hopefully more) students to Washington D.C. for a week-long leadership learning opportunity.

Other areas the funds are going to support include helping to cover meals for the chapter during state and national conventions, and even supporting the Union ag program, such as the potential expansion of the school’s greenhouse operation. Currently, FFA members can apply for the educational scholarships, with the application for the Leadership Conference scholarship currently in the works.

The funding isn’t the only big news for the Union FFA Alumni, however. It was also announced that the alumni chapter will receive the FFA Alumni Outstanding Chapter Award by the Oregon FFA Alumni during the State FFA convention on March 23rd. The chapter’s secretary board treasurer, Val Stockhoff, is also set to receive the Outstanding Achievement Award, while Mandi Collins herself will receive her Honorary State FFA Degree on March 22, the highest honor that can be bestowed by the Oregon FFA. 

As for the fundraising itself, aside from the dinner on offer, the alumni hosted quite a selection of silent and live auction prizes. Items on offer included gift baskets, coolers, metal garden decorations, firewood, laser engraved Yeti mugs, and metal garden planters fabricated by the FFA students. Items on offer were either donated by local businesses or, as mentioned, fabricated in-house by the FFA program.

Riding the recent success, the Union FFA Alumni plan to make the dinner and auction an annual event. Next year’s dinner is slated for March 8, also to be hosted in the Becker Family Sale Pavilion. As best summarized by Collins:

“There was apprehension, with it being a first-year event, over how well it was going to do. We were pleasantly surprised with how well it did. I think it just built the momentum for years to come, because we would like this to be an annual event.”