Michigan 4-H Foundation

Gift of Grain leads to Shiawassee County 4-H Endowment Fund

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Glenn and Cleo Williams have been married for 64 years and Shiawassee County 4-H has played a meaningful role in their lives both before they met and since they married.

In 2013, they honored the role of 4-H in their lives by making a significant gift of grain to the Michigan 4-H Foundation, that when it was sold, established the Shiawassee County 4-H Endowment Fund.

Glenn joined the Fairfield Township 4-H Club at age 10 and remained a member until he was 19. When he and Cleo were married, their wedding reception was hosted by that 4-H club. Cleo had been a 4-H member in Ingham County. Cleo became a volunteer leader of the Fairfield Sewers and Cookers 4-H Community Club, where she remained a volunteer for 23 years.

The couple’s four adult children were all 4-H members and raised on the family farm, a centennial farm started by Glenn’s grandfather 150 years ago. Originally a dairy farm, the farm is predominantly a cash crop farm producing corn, soybeans and wheat today. It was a gift of soybeans that funded the Shiawassee County 4-H Endowment Fund.

“When the administrator in Shiawassee County decided that MSU Extension could be cut, we went to rally to be there to support 4-H,” Glenn said. “It was Cleo’s idea that we do this gift.”

“I just wanted 4-H to continue,” Cleo said.

“4-H is a way to learn how to live life,” Glen added. “You learn responsibility, you have to keep records, you have to feed the animals when they need it, you have to work at something when you could just be lying around on the sofa!”

The recommendation for making their gift as a gift-in-kind using agricultural product came from MSU Extension educator Dennis Stein.

“Farmers produce a product and sometimes they have opportunity to share that product,” Stein said. “A charity can then sell that gift of product to benefit their charity. The time was right for the Williamses to make this gift.”

The Williamses’ gift for Shiawassee County will be doubled by the Michigan 4-H Foundation as part of the statewide county 4-H endowment match campaign. Young people in Shiawassee County will be supported for generations to come by this perpetual gift to support local 4-H programming. Donors interested in making a gift of grain should contact the Michigan 4-H Foundation and consult with their tax and financial advisers to determine if making such a gift makes sense for them.

Annual earnings from the fund’s investment can provide for scholarships for 4-H youth out-of-county experiences and participation fees; the purchase and development of new program and learning materials or any future areas of great need to advance the
Shiawassee County 4-H program.