The FFA gives back

As cold weather approaches Michigan, it’s important to help local shelters and food pantries provide for those who don’t have the money to survive the harsh winter.

The Ferris Faculty Association (FFA) donated $250 on Wednesday, Oct. 19, to eight different local organizations that give back to the community of Big Rapids and Mecosta County including Our Brothers Keeper, Angels of Action, Project Starburst, Manna Pantry, American Legion Food Pantry, God’s Helping Hands, WISE and the Ferris State Wesley House.

“We have other donations we give out this year, so far we’ve given out written checks for $3,400 and I think we set a limit of $4,000 this year,” said Ferris associate professor of mathematics Dr. Jim Nystrom, who is also in charge of External Relations.

Although the FFA considers requests for donations on a regular basis, these eight organizations were chosen by the FFA because they deal directly with the homeless, the hungry and with organizations like WISE and victims of domestic abuse, according to Nystrom.

“Well, the Ferris Faculty Association is the faculty union, so we’re responsible for bargaining with the administration, periodically for our contracts, which define our job descriptions and responsibilities, our compensation etc.,” said Charles Bacon, Ferris professor of physics and chemistry and FFA president.

All the money donated by the FFA comes from membership dues from approximately 390 members, according to Bacon.

“The faculty is concerned not only with what happens at the university but of the community as well. It’s an important relationship between the community and the university because they depend on us but we depend on them,” Bacon said.

The FFA wants to recognize the upcoming Mecosta County Philanthropy Day, formerly known as Match Day, that will be hosted by the Mecosta County Community Foundation, as another event where community members can make more donations to local organizations.

“Over the years that I’ve been here, this is getting more and more money here, so what the foundations do now is they have a big base of money and they’re using some of the interest and some of the annual earnings to then give out to these other [foundations],” Nystrom said.

The Mecosta County Community Foundation is an affiliate of the Fremont Area Community Foundation.

“A lot of communities have community foundations. They’re set up for the purpose of funding proposals, basically, to fund community type things,” Bacon said.

The Philanthropy Day will be held at the Big Rapids Holiday Inn Tuesday, Nov. 1, from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Visit for more event information.