St. Joseph County Makes the Match for 4-H
From Vantage, Fall 2015
St. Joseph County is one of 31 counties participating in the Make the Match County 4-H Endowment Campaign.
Every dollar raised locally in St. Joseph and other participating counties is eligible to be matched dollar-for-dollar thanks to the Make the Match Campaign match fund, made possible by grants from the Herbert H. and Grace A. Dow Foundation, the Rollin M. Gerstacker Foundation and individual leadership gifts.
“You can’t miss. If there’s ever been a win-win situation, this is it!” said Fred Henningsen, St. Joseph County 4-H Make the Match Campaign Committee member and MSU Extension retiree. “Because of the income made off of the assets of the endowment fund, there’s going to be some dollars on an ongoing basis. Now the 4-H program doesn’t have to go back each year to ask for money. It takes the pressure off. This fund is going to give strength to 4-H educational programs.”
Annual earnings from the endowment fund’s investment can provide annual support for current 4-H program delivery, including scholarships for 4-H youth for out-of-county experiences and participation fees, purchase of or development of new programs and learning materials, or any future areas of great need to advance the county 4-H program.
Last spring, a St. Joseph County 4-H Make the Match Campaign committee was assembled to raise $20,000 to establish the St. Joseph County 4-H Endowment.
Henningsen said Sally Stuby was the driving force in St. Joseph County.
“We do what we do to make a difference in the 4-H program,” Stuby said. “Without the committee, we wouldn’t have been nearly as successful. We assembled a small committee of people who have both passion for the program and who are highly recognized in the community – both youth and adults.”
Committee members are Eva Beeker, Lynn Fiegel, Fred Henningsen, Tony Hochstetler, Sally Stuby, Wendy Walters and youth representative Loren King.
In March, the committee sent letters to local 4-H supporters. Shortly thereafter, donations had exceeded the initial goal.
“We wrote a personal note at the top of the letters. It proved to be very successful,” Henningsen said. “I’ve never had a committee assignment with such little effort. People came out of the woodwork!”
The committee decided to increase the goal to $25,000 and in no time once again surpassed that goal.
“A number of us picked some folks to follow up with. Out of the 10 to 15 people I made contact with, I made contact with only one in person. I’ve never had anything so easy, so successful. This county has always been recognized for its support of 4-H, and this showed it,” he said.
The campaign goal is now $35,000 – of which $33,736 (96 percent) had been raised as of Oct. 31.
“We are almost to our $35,000 goal,” Stuby said. “I’m hopeful we’ll have that done by the end of the year!”
Through October 2015, counties had raised $561,027 in community support for county 4-H endowed funds. Of this amount, $489,000 is currently eligible for the foundation’s match. Eligibility is determined by the requirement that 50 percent of all gifts matched for a county endowed fund must be contributed by individual donors. (See the chart on page 5 for Make the Match County 4-H Endowment campaign progress by county.)
Additional counties participating in the Make the Match campaign are Allegan, Arenac, Branch, Calhoun, Chippewa, Clare, Clinton, Eaton, Grand Traverse, Hillsdale, Houghton/Keweenaw, Ingham, Ionia, Kalkaska, Lapeer, Lenawee, Macomb, Mason, Midland, Montcalm, Muskegon, Oakland, Ottawa, Sanilac, Washtenaw and Wayne. Gratiot County recently surpassed the maximum match of $50,000, joining Kent, Osceola and Shiawassee counties, which have also met the maximum match.
“We are pleased with the success that 4-H has seen in building such partnerships to grow endowments that can serve to ensure community-based Extension youth programming forever,” said Julie Chapin, state 4-H leader and director of MSU Extension children and youth programs. “There are volunteers working with Extension 4-H staff across the state building support for the future of 4-H youth development in their communities.”