The fund is in memory of Leland Bagwell, founder of American Proteins and past chairman of Southeastern Poultry & Egg Association (now USPOULTRY), and recognizes the many contributions the former vocational agriculture teacher and leader made to the poultry industry. The $1 million gift will offer young people the opportunity to be a part of the poultry industry with a focus on innovation, education and providing opportunities to lower income students.
“My wife and I decided to focus most of our philanthropy on education issues so as to provide an opportunity for students. We established our own family foundation for this purpose. We normally do not give to endowments; however, we made an exception for the Harold E. Ford Foundation. The first reason concerns Harold Ford and my father, Leland Bagwell, and their friendship. The second, the poultry industry is where our family has made its living. Finally, we could not think of a better steward of these funds than people from the poultry industry,” remarked Tommy Bagwell, chairman & CEO, American Proteins.
“We are honored and grateful to receive this $1 million gift. The endowment will help support the U.S. Poultry & Egg Harold E. Ford Foundation’s mission of continuing to attract young leaders to our industry, as well as fund research that will ensure the poultry and egg industry’s sustainability and prosperity in the future,” said Elton Maddox, president & CEO of Wayne Farms and treasurer of the USPOULTRY Foundation.
“One of the keys to USPOULTRY’s success over the years has been tremendous industry leadership, such as Leland Bagwell provided. In fact, it was during Leland’s tenure that Harold E. Ford was named executive director of Southeastern Poultry & Egg Association. Coming so close to the recent loss of Mr. Ford, this outstanding gift from Tommy and Chantal is especially meaningful,” remarked John Starkey, president of USPOULTRY.