Michigan 4-H Foundation

Tuscola and Wexford Counties Invest in Future of 4-H



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Gordon and Viola Bierlein

Gordon and Viola Bierlein

Recently the 4-H councils in Tuscola and Wexford counties made long-term investments in 4-H by establishing funds with the Michigan 4-H Foundation.

Both funds are term or quasi-endowment funds, more commonly called county funds, which function as endowments – they earn investment proceeds on money that can be returned to the county at any time. A minimum of $5,000 is required to establish a county fund.

The Wexford County 4-H Fund was created by the Wexford County 4-H Council. The fund will support the annual needs of the 4-H program in Wexford County.

“We decided to create the fund as we’ve been collecting money and not spending it for several years, so we had it saved up,” said Carol Blake, Wexford County MSU Extension 4-H program coordinator.

“We had an ongoing fundraiser to sell platbooks. The council gets the books, and we distribute to local businesses that sell them,” explained Jill Benson, Wexford County 4-H volunteer.

Platbooks are area maps of the county divided into sections showing property lines and ownership.

“If you have to look longer term at things, that’s a good way to make sure that things that are already established continue on,” Benson said.

The Tuscola County 4-H Scholarship Fund was established with initial contributions by the Tuscola County 4-H Council in support of the Gordon and Viola Bierlein 4-H Scholarship.

The Bierleins made a major impact in the Tuscola County 4-H community throughout their lives and were honored for 58 years of service to 4-H in 2012. Gordon passed away in 2013, and Viola in 2015. Family, education and 4-H were all important to them, and they passed those values on to their children and grandchildren. A scholarship for postsecondary education will be awarded in their honor to a Tuscola County 4-H member.