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Indiana FFA Center's Pay It Forward campaign pushes to pay off debt

Indiana FFA Center's Pay It Forward campaign pushes to pay off debt

Here are answers to questions people have about why Indiana FFA launched this campaign.

The Indiana FFA Center near Trafalgar is still one of the flagships of FFA in Indiana. The land was purchased in 1968. While donations and support from the ag community have helped erect and improve facilities over the years, turning it into a first-rate facility for use by Indiana FFA, other youth groups and even adult groups, there is still debt on the property. Indiana FFA launched the Pay It Forward campaign recently to raise money to erase that debt.

Launching this campaign raised some legitimate questions, even from ag and FFA. Lisa Chaudion, Indiana FFA Foundation director, agreed to answer those questions during an interview with Indiana Prairie Farmer.

WHERE LEARNING HAPPENS: Recreation goes along with learning at the Indiana FFA Center. Both happen on this giant waterslide in the lake at the center. The slide was donated by the Johnson County REMC.

IPF: Exactly what is the Pay It Forward campaign?

Chaudion: The Indiana FFA Foundation launched a two-year campaign with the goal of raising enough money to secure the future of the Indiana FFA Leadership Center by paying off the $180,000 mortgage and adding $320,000 to the Give Hope annuity created to help with future capital projects.

IPF: How can people contribute?

Chaudion: Go to inffa.org. Under Support, click on Give Today, and put "Pay It Forward" in the comments section. You can also send a check to: Indiana FFA Foundation, P.O. Box 9, Trafalgar, IN 46181. Put "Pay It Forward" in the memo section.   

IPF: How much money has been collected so far?

Chaudion: Pay It Forward has collected $30,000 to date. Indiana Farm Bureau Insurance and Indiana Farm Bureau Inc. donated $25,000. Harrison County Farm Bureau donated $1,000 in honor of retired ag teacher Gary Geswein.

IPF: The center has carried debt for 50 years. Why is it important to pay it off now?

Chaudion: An estimated 100,000 FFA members have used the facility. On that hallowed ground, generations of leaders have been shaped and inspired. For nearly 50 years Indiana FFA members have been blessed to inherit such a remarkable place to call home, and now it is time to Pay It Forward. The Indiana FFA Foundation board included paying off the debt as a major goal in a five-year strategic plan now in effect.

IPF: What is the difference between this campaign and the previous Give Hope campaign?

Chaudion: Give Hope dollars are an additional source of income for the center. It was created to help with capital projects or another source of income for the center. The money is in an annuity and has a guarantee value just over $200,000. Annually, guaranteed interest can be used, but the foundation board has chosen to roll it back into the fund. Upon maturity of the fund, it will be at the pleasure of the foundation board to role it into an endowment or invest it in the center.

IPF: Are donations to Pay It Forward tax-deductible?

Chaudion: Yes. Indiana FFA is a 501(c)(3), not-for-profit. All donations are deductible.

IPF: Should donations to Pay It Forward be on top of regular contributions to the FFA foundation?

Chaudion: Yes. We still need to maintain our support of other programs of the Indiana FFA. However, a majority of dollars donated from local FFA chapters will go to the Pay It Forward campaign. We feel it’s important for local chapters to be invested in the campaign since the center is a valuable part of their experience in FFA.

IPF: What if more money is raised than needed to pay off the debt?

Chaudion: It will go into the Give Hope annuity.

IPF: What if not enough is raised to pay the debt?

Chaudion: It’s a two-year campaign. Quarterly, as dollars come in, they will be applied to the principal of the mortgage. We plan to be successful.

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