Carter creates endowment to support local ag education and FFA program

A Hustonville High School alum is giving back in a big way to the program he says helped him find success in his career.

Nick Carter graduated from Hustonville High School in 1964. A Lincoln County farm boy, Carter naturally gravitated toward agriculture classes and FFA in high school. He was very involved, and held local, and regional offices before serving as the state FFA sentinel. He also participated in many FFA contests like Parliamentary Procedure and Tractor Driving.

After high school, Carter worked various capacities within coal industry, and at one time ran the nation’s largest mineral landholding company. He credits his farming background and his experiences in FFA for giving him the work ethic, leadership training, and confidence it took to be successful in business.

“All the training I received in FFA about how to communicate, manage meetings, give public speeches, and how to respond to others has been extremely helpful in my career,” said Carter. “Once I was given an opportunity to give back, it really became a passion of mine to help the Kentucky FFA Foundation raise as much money as we can to help as many kids as we can.”

In addition to being an annual donor to Kentucky FFA, Carter gives generously of his time. He serves on the Kentucky FFA Foundation Board of Directors, and regularly volunteers to serve as a judge for FFA contests.

Recently, however, Carter decided to focus some of his generosity locally. He has committed $60,000 to the Kentucky FFA Foundation’s Forever Blue Endowment fund and stipulated that the dividends of that gift benefit the Lincoln County High School agriculture program and FFA chapter. Carter plans to continue to contribute to the Lincoln County endowment, and is working with other individuals and businesses from Lincoln County to grow the fund even more. He would like to see the fund reach $100,000.

“This is such a positive opportunity for us, and we are so appreciative of Mr. Carter,” said Harvey Franklin, one of the three agriculture teachers at Lincoln County High School.

“We’ve got a very diverse group of students involved in agriculture here,” he said. “We have a lot of good community support. We have always worked to make our program self-sufficient – through fruit sales, greenhouse sales – that sort of thing, but this is an amazing opportunity for a renewable gift that can pay some really big dividends.”

The agriculture teachers and Mr. Carter have discussed ideas for how the funds can be used to best benefit students. A priority is providing opportunities for even more students to participate in leadership-building activities like conferences, contests, and public speaking events without a financial burden.

“Nick Carter should be commended for leading the effort to give back in his hometown,” said Sheldon McKinney, the executive director of the Kentucky FFA Foundation.

The foundation created the Forever Blue Endowment fund to give donors like Carter a framework for making large gifts to benefit FFA as well as direct those gifts to the local chapter or chapters of their choice. “People want to give,” said McKinney. “They believe in the mission of FFA, and they believe in the town that brought them up. When you offer an opportunity to give locally, give sustainably, and have it managed in a professional way that will be beneficial for generations, they see their opportunity to do exactly what they’ve been wanting to do.”

“If you want to make an effective gift that will have a lasting impact on individuals and the community, a gift to assist an FFA member in leadership training, an SAE project, a trip to the state fair, or anything else, is a gift that will never be forgotten,” said Carter. “You will be personally rewarded and the community will benefit from it.”

The Kentucky FFA Foundation cultivates partnerships which support the FFA vision to grow leaders, build communities, and strengthen agriculture. Kentucky FFA Foundation initiatives impact more than 15,700 FFA members in 158 FFA chapters across Kentucky.