4-H foundation board approves new strategic plan

Michigan 4-H Foundation horizontal logo
Michigan 4-H Foundation horizontal logo

The Michigan 4-H Foundation Board of Trustees approved a new 10-year strategic plan in early 2021.

In 2019, after the completion of the 2011-2018 Campaign for Michigan 4-H’s Future, the Michigan 4-H Foundation undertook the process of developing a new strategic plan. Sara Stuby, board president at the time, assigned a task force of several Michigan 4-H Foundation trustees, led by trustee Julie Chapin, to identify a goal to guide the organization’s work for the next 10 years.

“It was important that the board developed a new strategic plan to provide a road map for the future,” said Julie Chapin, Strategic Planning Taskforce chair. “I was pleased to lead this effort, which will provide the board with direction and focus in our fundraising and partnership efforts.”

The Strategic Plan overall long-term goal is for the Michigan 4-H Foundation to provide 50 percent of the annual state 4-H programming budget to support the 4-H learning experiences and training for youth and adults in the next 10 years. Examples of statewide 4-H learning experiences may include events, programs, workshops, trainings, innovative programming efforts, 4-H Children’s Gardens programming, county and club grants, scholarships, etc.

The Michigan 4-H Foundation currently supports 36 percent of the $1.97 million program budget for Michigan 4-H Youth Development (including statewide and county programming budget).

“We are fortunate to have a foundation board that is so dedicated to investing in the future of 4-H youth development,” said Jacob DeDecker, state leader for Michigan 4-H. “We look forward to continuing and strengthening our partnership over the next decade.”

The foundation’s board committees identified the following priorities to help accomplish the Strategic Plan. The board committees responsible for these steps also have outlined plans with specific action steps to help meet these goals.

Michigan 4-H Foundation Strategic Plan Priorities

  1. Create a reserve fund to a level of $400,000 or the equivalent of one year of foundation expenses. (Finance Committee)
  2. Michigan 4-H Foundation has investment assets that generate annual support for Michigan 4-H at the state, county and local levels. (Full board, Resource Development and Finance committees)
  3. 100% of counties have a local endowment to support 4-H programming. (Resource Development Committee)
  4. Grow investment and endowment funds. (Finance and Resource Development Committees)
  5. Operating expenses of the Michigan 4-H Foundation are funded by endowment interest, rather than administration on fees on new gifts. (Finance Committee)
  6. Michigan 4-H Foundation serves a fiduciary for county grants of $5,000 or less.
  7. Increase the diversity and capacity of the Michigan 4-H Foundation board. (Board Development Committee and full board)
  8. Equip Michigan 4-H Foundation board members to advocate for and promote Michigan 4-H programming. (Board Development and Program committees)
  9. Educate MSU Extension staff members about the Michigan 4-H Foundation and its role in helping build support and resources for Michigan 4-H at the local, county and state levels. (Program Committee and full board)

Midland County 4-H volunteer Ervin Currie II, of Midland, was elected to the Michigan 4-H Foundation board of trustees at its April board meeting.

Ervin Currie II

Ervin Currie II

Trustees are volunteers who manage foundation policies and operations, and are community advocates for ongoing and increasing support for 4-H. They are also charged with overseeing the activities of foundation staff members and working on committees to facilitate foundation operations.

Currie is a project manager for Dow Inc. with a primary focus on IT infrastructure projects. He is responsible for project planning and management throughout the project lifecycle and accountable for budget, contingency, scope, as well as issue and risk management. He also facilitates the Agile training for the company’s project management office. He has spent the last 22 years supporting the success of the company in multiple IT leadership positions which included short assignments in Freeport, Texas, Philadelphia, Brazil, and India.

Currie’s four young boys all participate in a multitude of sports and 4-H activities. They are all current members of both Gray and Northern Dreamers 4-H clubs in Midland County where Currie is an active adult leader. He is the current vice president of the Midland County 4-H Council and has been an active council member since 2018. He is a certified archery instructor through the 4-H Shooting Sports Program and uses his knowledge to conduct the archery activities at the weeklong Camp Neyati program for the Midland County 4-H youth.

As an avid gardener, livestock farmer, outdoor sportsman and entrepreneur, Currie took his passion to the next level and launched Open Season Coffee. The company spends a portion of the proceeds on youth hunter safety programs and wildlife habitat improvements.

Currie received an honorable discharge from the U.S. Marine Corps and earned both an associate’s degree in science from Delta Community College and a bachelor’s degree in general studies with a focus on project and business management from Baker College.

4-H members and volunteer sit a table building a STEAM project.
4-H members and volunteer sit a table building a STEAM project.

Each year, the Michigan 4-H Foundation provides 4-H statewide learning experience sponsorships to a variety of Michigan 4-H programs and events. These sponsorships greatly reduce the cost of 4-H activities and make them more accessible for 4-H youth, volunteers and staff to attend. Generous gifts from donors, endowment fund earnings and general fund support from the Michigan 4-H Foundation make the sponsorships possible. 4-H program staff and event coordinators may apply for 4-H statewide learning experience fund sponsorships on a yearly basis through a competitive process.

For the 2023-24 program year, the following programs received a total of $104,000 in sponsorships from the Michigan 4-H Foundation:

  • 4-H Animal Science Career Quest 2024
  • 4-H Creative Campaign Contest
  • 4-H Exploration Days
  • 4-H National Congress (supporting Michigan 4-H youth to attend the event)
  • Michigan 4-H Creative Arts Celebration
  • Michigan 4-H Dairy Conference
  • Michigan 4-H Great Lakes and Natural Resources Camp
  • Michigan 4-H Month of the Military Child Virtual Challenge
  • Michigan 4-H Shooting Sports Workshops
  • Michigan 4-H Skillathon
  • Michigan 4-H Spectacular Youth Leadership Institute
  • Michigan 4-H State Goat Show
  • Michigan 4-H State Horse Show
  • Michigan 4-H Statewide Program Promotion
  • Michigan 4-H/FFA State Livestock Judging Contest
  • National 4-H Dairy Cattle Judging Contest (supporting Michigan 4-H youth to attend the event)
  • National 4-H Dairy Conference (supporting Michigan 4-H youth to attend the event)
  • National 4-H True Leaders in Equity Institute (supporting Michigan 4-H youth to attend the event)
  • World Food Prize Michigan Youth Institute

In addition, the following statewide 4-H programs will receive more than $30,000 in continued funding in the 2023-2024 program year, as designated by donors who have made contributions specifically to these events.

  • Michigan 4-H Beef, Sheep and Swine Workshop
  • Michigan 4-H Dairy Conference
  • Michigan 4-H Great Lakes and Natural Resources Camp
  • Michigan 4-H Poultry Workshop
  • Michigan 4-H Proud Equestrians Program
  • Michigan 4-H Shooting Sports Workshops

Annual support for 4-H learning experiences is provided by these Michigan 4-H Foundation endowment funds:

  • Adam Family Endowment Fund
  • James H. and Dorothy A. Anderson Fund
  • Jack and Betty Barnes Tribute Fund
  • Thelma and Leonard Burleigh Fund
  • Thomas H. Cobb Shooting Sports Fund
  • The Echo Endowment Fund
  • Phyllis Eppelheimer Memorial Fund
  • John F. and Andrea E. Grix Endowment
  • Donald J. and John H. Hawkins Memorial Fund
  • Henning Family Fund
  • George E. and Deanna J. House Endowment
  • A.G. Kettunen Endowment
  • Russell G. and Lou Ann S. Mawby Endowment
  • William Allen Schiller Memorial Endowment
  • Sandra Clarkson Stuckman 4-H Endowment Fund
  • Francis H. and Ingrid E. Thacker Endowment
  • Turner-Ousterhout Memorial Fund
  • Norman R. and Marjory A. Veliquette Endowment
  • Westrate Family Fund
  • WNF&GA, Michigan Division Endowment
  • Howard Zindel Memorial Fund

Support for 4-H learning experiences in the 2023-24 program year is also provided by individual donations and these sponsors:

  • Cooperative Elevator Company
  • GreenStone Farm Credit Services
  • National 4-H Council partnerships with JOANN and Tractor Supply Company
  • Tkachik Sisters Charitable Fund of the Community Foundation of Southeast Michigan.

If you or your organization are interested in sponsoring a 4-H learning experience, visit https://mi4hfdtn.org/statewide-4-h-learning-experiences.