County 4-H Endowment Campaign: Making the Final Match



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The Ingham County 4-H Endowment Fund was one of nine counties that raised $50,000 or more in local gifts as part of the Make the Match County 4-H Endowment Campaign. The endowment’s interest earnings can provide general support for Ingham County 4-H. Pictured above are participants at the Ingham County 4-H Still Life Workshop in January.

The Ingham County 4-H Endowment Fund was one of nine counties that raised $50,000 or more in local gifts as part of the Make the Match County 4-H Endowment Campaign. The endowment’s interest earnings can provide general support for Ingham County 4-H. Pictured above are participants at the Ingham County 4-H Still Life Workshop in January.

Local 4-H endowments encourage continued private and public investment

Michigan 4-H has expanded its philanthropic community among 4-H alumni, volunteers and families with the Make the Match County 4-H Endowment Campaign. This campaign was designed to engage and educate the Michigan 4-H family to increase their private support for 4-H.

We are pleased that 31 Michigan county 4-H programs said yes to the opportunity to participate in the Michigan 4-H Foundation’s county 4-H endowment match campaign. The 31 county 4-H endowment match campaign partners are: Allegan, Arenac, Branch, Calhoun, Chippewa, Clare, Clinton, Eaton, Grand Traverse, Gratiot, Hillsdale, Houghton-Keweenaw, Ingham, Ionia, Kalkaska, Kent, Lapeer, Lenawee, Macomb, Mason, Midland, Montcalm, Muskegon, Oakland, Osceola, Ottawa, Sanilac, Shiawassee, St. Joseph, Washtenaw and Wayne counties.

As of Dec. 31, 2016, these counties had raised a total of $897,286 from 1,579 donors.

“We believe the campaign has achieved the goal of helping to stem the threat to the future of 4-H, which has been increasingly challenged by declining public support,” said Cheryl Howell, Michigan 4-H Foundation executive director. “This campaign has served to build the private philanthropic culture and commitment among 4-H families, alumni, staff members and volunteers to ensure continued local and statewide support for Michigan 4-H programs.”

The $10,000 endowment minimum was met by 30 of the 31 participating county 4-H programs to be eligible for the match. Nineteen of the participating counties have met or exceeded their published local campaign goals. Additionally, nine counties raised $50,000 or more in local gifts: Gratiot, Kent, Lenawee, Montcalm, Osceola, Shiawassee, St. Joseph, Washtenaw and Ingham.

The Ingham County 4-H Make the Match Endowment Campaign was co-chaired by MSU Extension retirees Cynthia Mark and James Mulvany. Along with a small committee of current and past 4-H volunteers and staff members and in cooperation with the Ingham County 4-H Council, they were able to make the endowment a reality for Ingham County.

“We created a job description for the endowment committee so they knew what was expected of them,” Mark said. “We kicked off at the fair the summer of 2015. We met, had displays at the fair in the 4-H areas – mostly to raise awareness of the endowment and what it is.”

Mark explained that she and other committee members had to educate potential donors first so that there was a general understanding of what an endowment is as well as matching funds.

“We didn’t raise a lot of money at the first fair but it did get us thinking on what we should do next. We then sent a letter to buyers from the livestock sale,” she said.

The committee’s hard work paid off. The fund received some generous donations towards the endowment from the Ingham County 4-H Council and the Ingham County 4-H Livestock Committee, as well as local service club organizations, including the Mason Lions Club.

“I think the match made us focus on the endowment – it made us say ‘We can do this,’ and get involved. It gave us a chance to get it started because the Michigan 4-H Foundation provided support materials and the match.”

The endowment committee has continued to meet to plan next steps, such as upcoming events to thank donors and ways to continue to remind people that the endowment is a way to support 4-H locally.

“We think that this continues to build a legacy for the county. People can give and have their money used right away; however building this long-term fund gives a chance for continual funding for 4-H. That’s why I got involved,” Mark said.

The endowment’s investment earnings can provide general support for current 4-H program delivery, purchase or development of new program and learning materials, support for 4-H youth out-of-county experiences and participation fees or any future areas of great need to advance the county 4-H program.

“I appreciate all the support from the foundation, county and donors that gave. We had 120 donors that included individuals, clubs and businesses. It shows we have great support for 4-H in Ingham County,” Mark said.

The county 4-H endowment match pool was built by investments from the Herbert H. and Grace A. Dow Foundation, the Rollin M. Gerstacker Foundation, the Seevers Family Foundation and a number of individual leadership donors. Together, these donors have contributed $805,702 toward the match pool.

Because county 4-H endowment totals have exceeded that amount, the match opportunity was suspended Dec. 31, 2016. To complete the promise to match all qualifying dollars raised by county 4-H programs through Dec. 31, 2016, the foundation continues to seek funding to complete the $1 million match pool goal.

To be eligible for matching funds, the county 4-H endowment must have reached a minimum of $10,000, and at least half of the funds must have come from individuals and/or 4-H youth clubs. The maximum match for a single county was $50,000.

Although gifts are no longer eligible for a match from the foundation, counties are encouraged to continue to grow their 4-H endowment funds. All contributions can help both local county 4-H endowment campaigns and the Campaign for Michigan 4-H’s Future reach their goals.