Why I Give

Continuing the tradition of FarmHouse, remembering a loved one, giving back to something that changed your life...each day we hear a new reason you chose to make a gift to the FarmHouse Foundation. Share your reason by emailing Andrea@FarmHouse.org.

Why I Give

"I started to look at all the chapters we had lost or had to re-start over the years and wondered where we’d be if all of them had 50 plus members today. And that led me to realize that, across the board, the key difference between a successful chapter and one that fails is strong volunteer leadership." – Jim Herbert (TN ’61)

Why I Give

WE WANTED TO HELP THE TROY CHAPTER THE SAME WAY THEY HELPED LANCE

Why I Give

IF WE’RE BUILDING FOR THE FUTURE OF FARMHOUSE, WE HAVE TO EDUCATE AND SUPPORT OUR ALUMNI VOLUNTEERS

Why I Give

WE WANTED TO INVEST IN THE IMPRESSIVE YOUNG MEN WE CONTINUSLY ENCOUNTERED AT FARMHOUSE EVENTS

Why I Give

WE WANT TO GIVE THE MEN OF FARMHOUSE A HAND UP, NOT A HAND OUT, BY FINANCIALLY SUPPORTING THEM IN MEANINGFUL WAYS

Why I Give

I WANTED TO DO SOMETHING OUT OF THE ORDINARY

Why I Give

WE WANT TO MAKE A SIGNIFICANT IMPACT

Why I Give

I’M HELPING ENSURE MY CHAPTER CAN CONTINUE TO OFFER A UNIQUE EXPERIENCE

Why I Give

WE WANTED TO MAKE IT EASIER FOR FARMHOUSE UNDERGRADUATES TO TRAVEL ABROAD


IF WE’RE BUILDING FOR THE FUTURE OF FARMHOUSE, WE HAVE TO EDUCATE AND SUPPORT OUR ALUMNI VOLUNTEERS

Wherever life took Jim (TN ’61) and Judi Herbert—through college, career changes, growing their family and founding Neogen Corporation—volunteering has always been a priority. 

It began in college where they met while serving as president of their respective chapters—Jim at FarmHouse and Judi at Sigma Kappa. It has continued through the years to include service to their community and fraternal organizations.

Living near several college campuses over the years, they were able to volunteer at the local level with undergraduates.

“In our experience over the years, we have seen how important volunteers are to the health of chapters. They help keep members focused and out of trouble as well as provide advice and connections for careers after graduation,” Jim said.

Their volunteer experience doesn’t end there—they have both served their organizations at the national level as well. Jim served as a Foundation Trustee from 2008-14, including a term as Chairman. Judi serves on national committees and helped raise funds to build a new Sigma Kappa chapter house on the University of Tennessee-Knoxville campus.

It was Jim’s role with the Foundation and his passion for volunteering that began their journey to endowing support for volunteer leadership training.

He observed that growing FarmHouse was similar to growing a company in that it’s cheaper to keep an existing customer (chapter) than to find a new one.

“I started to look at all the chapters we had lost or had to re-start over the years and wondered where we’d be if all of them had 50 plus members today. And that led me to realize that, across the board, the key difference between a successful chapter and one that fails is strong volunteer leadership,” he reflected.

He spent time thinking about his own experiences with volunteer leaders and how he could improve the situation.

“The most common response I hear when asking an alumnus why they haven’t been involved is, ‘nobody asked me.’” He had first-hand experience with this when he was chapter president.

“I was encouraged to call James Skidmore (IL ’21), a local alumnus. That call started a relationship with someone who had career opportunities for members and provided financial support and mentorship to our chapter. It never would have happened if I hadn’t called him. While he had the desire to be involved, he said he hadn’t wanted to intrude. He needed an invitation to get involved,” Jim said.

Another hindrance to raising a hand is often feeling unqualified to provide the necessary support.

“The Fraternity is doing such a great job of creating new programs for our undergraduates. We should be doing the same for our volunteer leaders. If we’re building for the future of FarmHouse, we have to educate and support our alumni volunteers,” Jim added.

Volunteers at heart, Jim and Judi stepped forward to make this possible by pledging over $500,000 to establish the Herbert Volunteer Leadership Endowment Fund.

The purpose of the fund is to support the development, implementation and facilitation of leadership programs to prepare, educate and recognize the importance of alumni involvement at the local level.

At Conclave 2014, the Fraternity launched the Volunteer Leadership Summit (VLS) with a day of educational programming specifically for alumni volunteers.

Thanks to the Herberts, the Fraternity was able to expand VLS into a three-day program held at the National 4-H Conference Center in Washington, D.C., Aug. 21-23, 2015.

They went a step further and committed an additional matching gift with Jim Tobin (IA ’76) and Gina Heagney—above and beyond their initial pledge—to raise additional support for VLS in 2015.

Jim said, “Wouldn’t it be great if we combined with others to take it one step further?”

And that is exactly what he dreams of doing. 

“I would love to see a staff position dedicated to working with volunteer leaders one day. They could determine which chapters need help and work to recruit volunteers to help,” he said.

Until then, he will continue to volunteer and recruit others to continue the work.