Kentucky FFA members in eleven counties now have even more opportunity to receive a grant to help with their SAE project, thanks to a donation by First Southern National Bank.

First Southern made a $25,000 gift to the Kentucky FFA Foundation, directed to $500 SAE grants for FFA members in any county with a First Southern location.

SAE’s are independent student projects supervised by agriculture teachers. They are often entrepreneurial, like starting a beef cattle herd, a lawn-mowing service, or another small business. SAE’s teach agriculture students money management, record keeping, and many other skills it takes to be a successful entrepreneur.

These lessons align well with First Southern’s goal of helping lay the foundation for future business leaders in their communities.

“FFA is an organization that many of us inside our banks feel had an impact on our lives,” said Jimmy Rousey, the CEO of First Southern National Bank. “Impromptu speaking, evaluating properties, learning how to manage a project financially – the things we learned, we’re still using today. FFA is one of the best investments we can make in our future leaders.”

The first of these SAE grants were awarded this fall, with students receiving funds to help with projects ranging from raising hogs, to harvesting maple syrup, to starting a welding business.

“Our members who apply for these grants are so deserving of support,” said Sheldon McKinney, the executive director of the Kentucky FFA Foundation. “They have a vision and are already working hard to see it through. This is not only a tremendous help financially, but it’s a way to let them know what they’re doing is important in their communities and that their communities want to see them succeed.

“We are so grateful to First Southern National Bank for this donation. They are strengthening their communities by investing in the young people who live there and will be leaders in just a few years.”