North Dakota FFA Celebrates 116th Birthday of Influential Donor

The North Dakota FFA Foundation is celebrating what would have been the 116th birthday of a donor that made an influential and lasting contribution.

Fridtjov “Fred” Bakk’s contribution – a gift of land in North Dakota’s Sargent and Richland counties – was the cornerstone that founded the North Dakota FFA Foundation. Today, the foundation says Bakk’s gift creates an income of more than $100,000 annually. That money is given to North Dakota FFA members to help pursue their passions and interest in leadership, agriculture and personal development.

Bakk would have turned 116 years old January 30.

“Bakk’s generous gift has benefited thousands of North Dakota FFA members throughout the years by allowing the Foundation to offer college scholarships; travel stipends for conventions and competitive events; convention assistance dollars; and more,” said the ND FFA Foundation.

One visible way that Bakk’s gift has directly influenced FFA members in recent weeks was announced the first week of January when 30 North Dakota members received $30,000 worth of grants to establish or expand their supervised agricultural experiences.

Projects approved for grants included everything from community gardens, aquaculture production, crop production and more.

The funding for these grants dates back to 2006 when Fridjov Bakk gifted the North Dakota FFA farmland from a trust with the intention that it be used for the benefit of North Dakota’s FFA members. Since that time the profits from the land’s production have been used to fund beginning and expansion SAE Grants, college scholarships and tuition grants for clients in the North Dakota Farm Business Management program.

“We are grateful for the ability to provide grants like these that make our member’s projects possible,” says Tamra Maddock, executive director of the North Dakota FFA Foundation. “Without generous donations like the one given by Mr. Bakk it would not be possible to fund these grants that expose our youth to the value of agriculture and entrepreneurship. There are so many life skills that can come from managing these projects.”

Of the thirty grants given, half are designated as beginning grants and half are designated as expansion grants. These grants were formally awarded at the North Dakota FFA’s Winter Leadership Conference in Bismarck on Jan. 6.

The North Dakota SAE grant program is similar to one administered by National FFA. In 2017, FFA awarded SAE grants to 157 members nationwide.

Unique donations such as Mr. Bakk’s are becoming more routine as donors look to support FFA members for generations to come. Planned giving in the form of securities, real estate and estate planning/bequests are options that help guarantee the future success of those that wear that respected FFA blue jacket.