Blue & Gold Gala
February 22nd, 2020
Not only will 2020 ring in the start of a new decade but this next year will be the 4th annual Blue & Gold Gala, “The Biggest Night in Arizona Agriculture” presented by Arizona Farm Bureau and Farm Bureau Financial Services.
The Blue & Gold Gala is the largest fundraiser for the Arizona Agricultural Education/FFA Foundation and it helps support their mission to provide educational opportunities for agricultural education and the FFA.
The Blue & Gold Gala is led by chair, Heather Rayner. Heather has been involved since the beginning in 2016 when the Foundation board decided to move their fundraising event from a single dinner in Tucson to a stand-alone event.
“I’m the founding chair and I’m blessed to have Farrah Smith as a co-chair since the second Gala in 2018 and now we have Elizabeth Foster, executive director with the Maricopa County Farm Bureau, as a co-chair as well,” Heather said.
Rochell Planty has been involved with the Blue & Gold Gala for two years. A product of FFA herself, Rochell went through the agriculture education program back in the mid-80s, served as a State FFA Officer in 1988-89, was State FFA Alumni President for two years in the 90s and is now honored to serve as the Arizona Agricultural Education/FFA Foundation Executive Director for the past year.
Both Heather and Rochell were happy to share their excitement and details for the 2020 Blue & Gold Gala.
What goes on during the Blue & Gold Gala?
Our program includes a reception with a silent auction and live entertainment with the Canyon Walls Band Duo. The evening will also include a delicious dinner, live auction, gift card frenzy, paddle raiser and Gator Raffle.
Plus, this is the time of year where we honor our Blue and Gold award winner, presented by the Foundation, and the Agriculturalist of the Year, presented by the Arizona Association FFA.
The Blue & Gold Award recognizes an individual, group or organization that best supports the Foundation, the Arizona FFA youth and agriculture education. The Agriculturalist of the Year is given annually to a member of the agriculture community who has a strong spirit of leadership and has made a significant contribution to Arizona agriculture and the community.
Last year, over $260,000 was raised at the Blue & Gold Gala. What is your goal this year?
We have a goal to raise $300,000 and sell out the event with 600 attendees (60 tables)!
How does the Blue & Gold Gala make a difference?
Because of our success in the past three years, the FFA is able to endow new scholarships and fund 100% of FFA Career Development Events and student Career Development Event travel.
“We help support the Arizona Association FFA, Arizona Agriculture Teachers Association, University of Arizona, College of Agriculture, Department of Agriculture Education & Innovations along with the Arizona FFA Alumni Association,” said Rochell. “There are over 11,000 FFA Members and 80 agriculture education programs across Arizona. We can make a significant impact of the lives of our future leaders.”
How can ACRES readers help?
We invite you or your organization to become a sponsor. We have Level Sponsorship opportunities available as well as Table Sponsors.
There is the opportunity to contribute through a donation of a gift, service or experience for the silent auction and gift card donations.
Plus, we also donate 80 FFA Jackets through the Blue & Gold Gala to students that may not have an opportunity to have their own jacket. We are still looking for donors to sponsor a jacket through an investment of $75 per jacket.
Empire Agriculture is proud to be a Silver Sponsor this year.
“The support of Empire Agriculture is very important to me. I know I can always count on Empire to support the Gala and the FFA Foundation and our four groups that depend on our financial support,” said Heather. “Tim Robinson, General Sales Manager Ag at Empire, was one of the very first to come on board as a sponsor in 2016 when we started the Gala. The day after the 2017 Gala (the first one), he left me a very special voicemail on my phone about how impressed he was with the Gala and how much he enjoyed it. I still have that voicemail.”
Tickets to the event are $150 each and on sale now at www.blueandgoldgala.org