Our Distribution Facilities’ Classroom Minigrant Program Helps Teachers Incorporate Agriculture and Environmental Stewardship Into Their Classrooms
CF understands the critical exchange of information, resources and talent that happens between our facilities and the communities where we operate. We have a common goal of raising young people who are curious and engaged and who grow up to contribute to society in positive ways.
That’s why for the past 20 years, CF distribution terminals across North America have awarded grants to educators through our Classroom Minigrant Program. Grants help teachers incorporate agriculture or environmental stewardship into their classrooms with priority placed on projects that focus on water quality education.
In 2017, the program awarded its one millionth dollar in grant funding. The recipient, located near our Albany, Illinois, terminal, was the River Bend School District. The district used the $5,000 grant to purchase supplies for an elementary school’s Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math (STEAM) Day event.
The grant is representative of how requests have changed over the past 20 years. Today, CF receives fewer requests for grants involving print resources and more requests for technology devices and software. Students at three other recipient high schools are using a special monitor to track bat populations, testing and comparing water samples with a colorimeter, and evaluating soil quality using the 4Rs based on lessons from a certified crop advisor.
Another unexpected development has been the program’s multiplier effect. Several projects have generated a widening ripple of support that delivers value far beyond the initial grant. After CF provided seed money to build a greenhouse at Garner-Hayfield-Ventura High School in Iowa, local businesses donated an additional $75,000 to complete the project. Harrison Elementary School in Indiana combined its minigrant with funding from a local Lowe’s store to create an outdoor pavilion that will be used for lessons on nature, nutrition and gardening.
Today’s students are tomorrow’s farmers, technicians and engineers. Through the Classroom Minigrant Program, we’re planting the seeds of agricultural and environmental protection early — by growing knowledge and skills that will bring shared benefits to our communities for years to come.