We Wanted to Invest in the Impressive Young Men We Continusly Encountered at Farmhouse Events
WHY I GIVE
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FarmHouse is a family legacy for Doug (IL 65) and Nancy Sims. Doug’s father, uncle and three cousins and Nancy’s brother and uncle are all members of FarmHouse, so involvement in FarmHouse was natural and is a passion for both of them.
“We have always tried to remain involved with FarmHouse alumni and undergraduates—and, no matter the event, we continue to be impressed with the product,” Doug said.
Doug is a product of FarmHouse himself. Growing up on a farm in western Illinois, Doug wanted to see more of the world. FarmHouse provided him with the opportunities to broaden his horizons.
“FarmHouse opened a lot of doors for me coming from a small rural community,” Doug recalls. “It gave me the opportunity to travel to India during college, and it was where I met some of my best friends, who I never would have met without FarmHouse.”
“Throughout my time, I was provided with many opportunities to be a leader as recruitment chair, secretary and member of the chapter’s executive committee. During this time, I learned what it takes for a group to work together. Leaders must stand on their feet, clearly articulate their views and set an example to make an impact,” he added.
These leadership experiences provided the foundation for his successful career in the U.S. Farm Credit System. After 37 years in various roles, Doug retired as CEO of CoBank, a national cooperative bank serving vital industries across rural America, in 2006.
During his time with CoBank, Doug executed 15 mergers and acquisitions and grew the bank from a $9 billion financial institution to a $34 billion internationally recognized cooperative bank. Doug credits his leadership experiences in FH to his ability to evaluate and mentor his employees throughout his career, finding many of them were also products of FarmHouse.
In fact, throughout his career, Doug encountered FH brothers from chapters all across North America in various branches of the industry and saw first-hand the leadership and impact FarmHouse has on agriculture in the United States and globally.
He remains involved in FarmHouse. They attend events such as Conclave and the Power of 7 Seminar. He also served as a Foundation Trustee for six years and previously was a part of the Foundation’s annual scholarship committee. He is currently a member of the Chapter Housing Loan Program Committee.
Doug’s continued involvement has been recognized by both the Fraternity and the Foundation. In 2006, he was honored with the Foundation’s Philanthropy Laureate Award and he was named a Master Builder in 2008.
When they were considering a commitment to Live. Learn. Lead.—The Campaign for FarmHouse, Doug and Nancy decided to invest in the impressive young men they continuously encountered at FH functions. They looked to one of Doug’s mentors, the late William May (OK ’38), for inspiration.
Doug and Bill knew each other through their work in the U.S. Farm Credit System, when Bill was President of the Federal Land Bank in Wichita, Kan. The Sims were impressed by the scholarship endowment Bill and his wife, Catherine, established in 1988 that provides five $1,000 scholarships each year to undergraduates from any chapter.
Taking into consideration the impact FarmHouse has made on Doug and how it shaped him into the leader he is today, they thought, “what a great thing to do for the next generation of FH men.”
In 2014, they created a scholarship endowment to recognize and reward outstanding leaders of FarmHouse who exemplify the Object and are considered to be “Builders of Men.”
The “Doug and Nancy Sims Scholarship Endowment Fund” provides two annual undergraduate scholarships, the first of which will be awarded in the 2015-16 academic year.
“The ideal candidate for this scholarship is a student not only in good academic standing, but also someone who is a well-rounded leader. If you look at the recipients of our 2015-16 scholarships, you will notice that these men are very active. They are not just strongly involved within their chapter, but also heavily involved on their campuses,” Doug said.
Having already sponsored scholarships for the Illinois Chapter, they decided to make their scholarship available to all chapters.
“We are firm believers in competition and believe that the best candidates should be awarded the scholarship, regardless of their chapter.”
As the newest member of the Order of the Crest, the Foundation’s highest giving society for accumulative gifts of $250,000 and more, and past FarmHouse Foundation Chairman, Doug believes that the most important work the Foundation does is to invest in Building the Leaders of Tomorrow.
He elaborated, “Today, society struggles for leadership. I am a firm believer that those from rural backgrounds can provide the necessary guidance that the world needs when they are developed by superior organizations like FarmHouse Fraternity.”
And, through this scholarship, he and Nancy are leaving a legacy that will ensure the next generation of young FarmHouse men will become the leaders our world needs.