National 4-H grants help Michigan 4-H succeed
National 4-H Council continues to be a strong partner in leveraging corporate grants to support local 4-H programs. For the past two fiscal years, support from National 4-H Council partnerships has exceeded $250,000 annually. This includes grants from Microsoft, CME Group, JOANN, Monsanto, Tractor Supply Company and Walmart.
Michigan 4-H is among eight states participating in the Commodity Carnival, an interactive fair experience, through a six-year partnership between 4-H and CME Group, the world’s leading and most diverse derivatives marketplace. The goal of the Commodity Carnival program is to increase public understanding of agricultural commodities and the role that futures markets play in today’s world. Commodity Carnival includes two hands-on mini carnival games to introduce the concepts of agricultural risk management to families and youth ages 8 to 14. Each activity guides participants through the process of producing a commodity, such as a hog, and selling it. In Commodity Carnival, youth are tasked with “raising” a hog – balancing the costs of feed, health and nutrition, production and energy and resources. Next, the hog is weighed and the participant drops a correlating disc down a plinko-style board, with “risk” pegs representing elements beyond the youth’s control – pests, bad weather, health news, government regulations and trade, and seasonal demands. Youth whose hogs earned them money receive a special prize. Additionally, participants are encouraged to download the mobile app Risk Ranch. Through this interactive game, users virtually raise steers and hogs and bring them to market while in the comfort of their own homes.
JOANN Fabrics stores have partnered with 4‑H to bring hands-on programs to local communities across the nation. For two months in spring 2018 and spring 2019, JOANN stores asked their customers to donate to 4-H with the Clovers for Kids campaign. In 2018, Michigan raised nearly $23,000 to support 4-H, ranking the state third in the nation. The counties that raised the most donations were Wayne, Oakland, Washtenaw, Macomb and Lenawee. JOANN also offers a rewards card for current and lifetime members, parents, volunteers and 4-H staff members to receive 15 percent off total purchases every day. In return, JOANN donates a minimum of 2.5 percent back to National 4-H Council. In addition, JOANN and Shop4-H.org now carry a line of 4-H fabric, with a portion of sales benefitting 4-H.
The 4-H Ag Innovators Experience, presented by Bayer, challenges youth to apply critical thinking and STEM skills to address a real-world agricultural challenge. Michigan 4-H is among five states participating the 2019 4‑H Ag Innovators Experience, Native Bee Challenge. Through this experience, 4‑H youth will learn the importance of pollination to agriculture and its connection to a sustainable food supply, specifically as it relates to native bees. Youth will learn about the process of pollination, the role of pollinators in our food supply, and the importance of creating habitat for native bees.
Tractor Supply Company has partnered with 4-H since 2010 to sell 4-H paper clovers nationwide with the proceeds donated back to 4-H. For the first time, this past fall over a million dollars ($1,032,711) was raised nationally in a single 4-H Paper Clover campaign. Michigan ranked sixth in the nation by raising $53,000 to support 4-H. When combined with the spring campaign totals, Michigan’s TSC 4-H Paper Clover campaign generated $107,989 in 2018, the most ever in an annual year. Michigan counties that raised the most in donations were Oakland, Grand Traverse, Genesee, Macomb and Saginaw. The spring 2019 Paper Clover campaign concluded April 7. You can show your support by purchasing a paper clover at a TSC store near you during the fall 2019 Paper Clover Promotion, Oct. 9-20.
Michigan 4-H continues to increase nutrition education and physical fitness activities for youth with the Walmart Healthy Habits grant. The 2018-19 grant will build on established community partnerships and expand to provide mini grants for 10 counties. Each county will have at least five healthy-living teen ambassadors to oversee the local healthy living program. Through a variety of workshops, activities and camps for fourth through 12th graders, youth will learn about healthy food choices and receive nutrition education. Programs will incorporate fresh fruits and vegetables grown in raised beds placed at local community centers and schools, and from farmers’ markets. Youth groups are encouraged to create 4-H community gardens and connections with local farmers’ markets. The program also includes physical activity programs, recipes to encourage families to cook and eat together, and youth cooking competitions.