National FFA Organization has received a three-year, $1.5 million grant from Lilly Endowment Inc. Funding through the grant will support delivery of the National FFA Organization’s mission and vision through the annual National FFA Convention & Expo, which returns to Indianapolis this fall and will continue through 2024. The National FFA Convention & Expo is the premier gathering at which all FFA competitive events and programs are recognized on the national level. With attendance of more than 65,000, the convention and expo is the nation’s largest annual student gathering, bringing together FFA members to learn, explore career opportunities, be inspired to serve and celebrate their accomplishments through agricultural education. “We are grateful for this generous grant,” said W. Dwight Armstrong, chief executive officer of the National FFA Organization and National FFA Foundation. “These funds will help us ensure that our conventions are premier experiences for our members while making a greater impact on Indianapolis and the state of Indiana. The conventions are an essential component of how FFA grows leaders, builds local communities and strengthens American agriculture.”
In 2015, the National FFA Organization announced that it will hold its national convention and expo in Indianapolis for the next nine years, with an estimated economic impact of more than $36 million each year on the city and the surrounding region. The 2016 National FFA Convention & Expo will be held Oct. 19-22 and utilize many downtown venues, including Bankers Life Fieldhouse, Lucas Oil Stadium, the Indiana Convention Center, and eight event hotels, as well as the Indiana State Fairgrounds. “Our entire hospitality industry is excited to welcome back the best and brightest to Indy for National FFA’s annual gathering,” said James Wallis, executive vice president of Visit Indy. “We are proud to host this prestigious gathering through 2024, and we appreciate the strong community support from Lilly Endowment.”
Each year, the convention and expo provides transformational experiences for FFA members who will be the next generation of leaders, managers and workers for American agriculture. In addition to bringing economic impact to Indianapolis and the region, the FFA convention and expo offers unique opportunities to showcase the state’s agricultural assets and recruit top human resource talent to Indiana agriculture while significantly advancing the state’s goal of becoming an innovative regional, national and international hub for food, agriculture, natural resources and life sciences.
“We’re thrilled to have the National FFA Convention & Expo return to Indianapolis, this time for nine years,” said Ted McKinney, the director of the Indiana State Department of Agriculture. “Lilly Endowment has been gracious with its support and recognizes the power of the youth leadership coming to our city and state this year and in the years to come.”