Don and Mira Ball, who co-founded Lexington, Ky.-based custom home-building company Ball Homes more than 50 years ago, kicked off 2014 National FFA Week by inviting some National FFA and Kentucky FFA officers to their home and share details about an endowment they created to support the National FFA Organization’s Give the Gift of Blue campaign.
The campaign relies on financial contributions to the National FFA Foundation used to provide a new, official FFA corduroy jacket to members who can’t afford one. The Balls created a $500,000 endowment that will award up to 400 free FFA jackets each year to qualified members.
Don Ball grew up in western Kentucky. He is a former local and regional FFA officer – the jacket he wore was handed down to him so backing the Give the Gift of Blue campaign is especially meaningful to him – who went on to graduate from the University of Kentucky. Within five years of graduation, he and his wife started Ball Homes, which has flourished and allowed the couple to give back to a host of community organizations and endeavors, including FFA.
He believes that the experiences and values instilled in him through his involvement in FFA played a big role in his career and philanthropic successes. His training in parliamentary procedure, he said, served him well in his three terms in the Kentucky state legislature.
“If it wasn’t for FFA, I wouldn’t have made it out of my driveway,” he said. “I’m proud that I have been able to give back to my community in ways I would have never imagined.”
The National FFA Organization provides leadership, personal growth and career success training through agricultural education to 579,678 student members in grades seven through 12 who belong to one of 7,570 local FFA chapters throughout the U.S., Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands.