Eleanor Miller creates endowment for Leelanau County 4-H
Leelanau County 4-H volunteer Eleanor Miller, of Cedar, believes so strongly in 4-H that she created an endowment to provide support for future generations of 4-H’ers in her county.
“I’ve been involved with 4-H for a long time,” Miller said. “4-H has always been a passion of mine.”
The Leelanau County 4-H Endowment Fund is a perpetual endowed fund and will provide an annual source of unrestricted revenue for everything from special 4-H projects to scholarships for 4-H Exploration Days and other 4-H trips and events.
“Leelanau County has had a strong 4-H presence for many years, and this endowment will ensure that there is continued support for our local youth to take part in local clubs and programming, as well as events across the state and the country,” said Rosali Collier, Leelanau County MSU Extension 4-H program coordinator. “We have many families who need financial assistance in order to send their children to these opportunities.
“This endowment will ensure that youth and their families receive local scholarships and have the chance to benefit from all that we offer through 4-H. Our youth numbers are small, and in order to promote our 4-H programming and grow our numbers of involved youth, we will need to be able to offer financial assistance to our local families, clubs and programs.”
This is why Miller established the endowment – to provide annual funding for the Leelanau County 4-H learning opportunities.
“Some kids are not able to afford to attend clinics and other 4-H educational opportunities,” Miller said. “I wanted to provide a fund to allow kids to be involved . Hopefully others will also contribute.”
Miller moved to Michigan from Wisconsin where she was a social worker. She wanted to work with horses in Michigan and found a natural fit with therapeutic horseback riding programs. She became a 4-H certified therapeutic riding instructor and worked at the Cheff Therapeutic Riding Center in Augusta. Over time, she was able to open her own arena and 4-H therapeutic riding program in Cedar, which serves the five-county area.
Through the 4-H Proud Equestrians Program, Michigan’s 4-H therapeutic riding program, riders can improve balance, coordination, posture and muscle tone with the help of trained and caring volunteers. Horseback riding has also been shown to increase self-esteem, self-confidence, discipline and social growth.
“Horses mean a lot to me – they’re animals that have so much to offer. They are so responsive and such a great vehicle for youth to express themselves.”
Miller has served as a 4-H volunteer leader for over 40 years. She currently leads the Hidden Beach Equestrians, a 4-H club of 16 youth members ranging in ages from 9 to 19. Additionally, she has coached 4-H Horse Bowl Teams – a game similar to quiz bowl, but with only horse science and industry-related questions – and had several teams compete at the national level.
“I really like the programs. I had a lot of members that went on to veterinary school and medical professions because of the science learned in 4-H.”
With Miller’s guidance, the Hidden Beach Equestrians also learn the value of community service. The club has fundraised and volunteered for horse rescue organizations and collected riding helmets to donate to youth in Mongolia.
“What I really like about 4-H, from a leader’s point of view, is that I can do what I feel works for the kids and what the kids want to learn about. We can feel free to expand and explore.”
In addition to her 4-H volunteer service, Miller also serves on the MSU Extension District 3 Advisory Council and several local boards.
“Eleanor is an exemplary 4-H volunteer: she is patient, calm, and kind, and her greatest focus is to help the youth in her club succeed,” Collier said.
“If youth in her club can’t afford to have their own horses, Eleanor encourages them to use the horses on her property; if a youth shows leadership potential, Eleanor puts that young person in charge in some way. Eleanor puts kids first and is very modest about her own role in the success of her club members. She truly is a wonderful 4-H leader for Leelanau County!”
Julie and Larry Chapin have created a new 4-H endowment in honor of their retirements.
Participation in the Ottawa County 4-H Program as a youth started Julie on a lifelong journey of engagement with MSU Extension and Michigan 4-H Youth Development. Julie and Larry both were engaged as 4-H volunteers in Ottawa and Ingham counties. Julie’s career with MSU Extension included work with 4-H at the county, departmental and state levels. Each of these experiences contributed to a commitment to support these three aspects of
4-H work. It is their hope that this endowment will be used to help provide support to youth, volunteers and the staff members who recruit, train and support them.
“We believe giving back is as important as receiving the many gifts and benefits our engagement with MSU, Extension and 4-H have provided,” Julie said. “This endowment gift completes the cycle of the true purpose of 4-H and MSU Extension – ‘Making the Best Better’ – and improving lives through education.”
The Julie A. and Larry T. Chapin 4-H Endowment will provide unrestricted support for Michigan 4-H youth programs with priority to assisting with costs associated with 4-H program participation fees for youth participating in 4-H programs, volunteer training, or staff professional development.
Julie Chapin, an Ottawa County 4-H alumna and 4-H Emerald Clover Society member, has dedicated her 36-year career toward the positive development of young people through multiple MSU Extension and 4-H roles. Since 2010, she has served as director of the MSU Extension Children and Youth Institute and in that role also served as Michigan’s state 4-H leader and secretary of the Michigan 4-H Foundation Board of Trustees. In 1981, she began her career as an MSU Extension 4-H youth agent, then became a youth animal science specialist before serving as state 4-H program leader for volunteer development. Chapin is recognized nationally for her leadership in convening and directing the National Center for Action in Science and Technology and the National Network for Science and Technology, both dedicated to expanding youth opportunities to explore science and technology through formal and nonformal learning opportunities. She also helped launch the 4-H Club Read youth literacy initiative in response to Michigan’s commitment to have every child reading by grade three. She has been honored for her Extension service with the Michigan and National Distinguished Service Awards. Chapin is as active in supporting positive youth development in her private life as she is in her professional life. She has announced her retirement at the end of January 2018.
Larry Chapin retired earlier this year from the MSU Department of Animal Science where he conducted research. He also served as a 4-H volunteer and until recently, the Chapins worked with youth as Tae Kwon Do instructors and volunteered in their local community for the American Cancer Society, Habitat for Humanity and the local band boosters.
“We encourage others to commit to helping make this world a better place for our next generations and give freely of their time and treasure throughout their lives,” Julie said.
Additional gifts are welcome to help grow the Julie A. and Larry T. Chapin 4-H Endowment. To contribute, mail a check, written to Michigan State University including the fund name above, to 535 Chestnut Road, Room 300, East Lansing, MI 48824. Donations may also be made online at givingto.msu.edu.
Hillsdale County 4-H alumnus Arlon Elser and his wife, Shirley, a Branch County 4-H alumna, provided a capital campaign gift to help establish 4-H endowments in Branch and Hillsdale counties and to grow the Make the Match Campaign match fund.
Arlon serves as vice chair of Whitestone Keep, LLC, and is the former program director of the W.K. Kellogg Foundation. Because he is a W.K. Kellogg Foundation retiree, the Elsers’ initial gift qualified for an employer match of 1:2, thus tripling the impact of their charitable gift.
The W.K. Kellogg Foundation (WKKF), founded in 1930 as an independent, private foundation by breakfast cereal pioneer Will Keith Kellogg, works with communities to create conditions for vulnerable children so they can realize their full potential in school, work and life.
With the WKKF match, the Elsers’ gift helped to jump start county endowment campaigns in both Branch and Hillsdale counties.
General 4-H county endowment funds help provide annual support for 4-H program delivery, including scholarships for 4-H youth out-of-county experiences and participation fees, purchase of or development of new program and learning materials, or any future areas of great need to advance the county 4-H programs.
Because their gift funded general 4-H county endowment funds, their contribution will be matched again 1:1 by the Make the Match County 4-H Endowment match fund, thus doubling its impact for Branch and Hillsdale counties.
Kettunen Center, Michigan 4-H’s volunteer and youth development training facility, was fortunate enough to have two new endowment funds created this past year to support the maintenance and long term care of Kettunen Center facilities and its adjacent grounds. Support from these funds can also be used to sustain 4-H educational programs there.
An endowment is a fund that is permanently restricted – the corpus of the fund is invested and held intact, and the earnings from the fund are used for program support. Endowments provide a dependable and perpetual source of funding that, combined with other annual support, assures that 4-H opportunities are always available for youth.
These newly established endowment funds will not only support Kettunen Center in perpetuity, but will also serve as permanent memorials.
The Francis H. and Ingrid E. Thacker Endowment for Kettunen Center was created in memory of Francis Thacker by his wife, Ingrid Thacker, in appreciation for the positive influence of 4-H in Francis’ life.
“4-H was really the beginning of his life,” Ingrid Thacker said. “He was able to spend time with his brother. Those years really played a big role in their lives. It is really a good thing for kids to go through 4-H.”
Francis was a 4-H member and took great pride in his 4-H achievements. He went on to manage the family farm and was very involved with community affairs. He served as the LeRoy Township supervisor and for 25 years was an Osceola County commissioner. Additionally, he served 26 years on the Lake Osceola Soil Conservation District and over 20 years as a member of the LeRoy Historical Society. He was a lifelong member of the United Methodist Church in LeRoy until his passing in July 2014.
The George E. and Deanna J. House Endowment Fund for Kettunen Center was created in memory of George House by his wife, Deanna House, and their children, Sara and Paul, to recognize their family’s long-term involvement with 4-H as members, volunteers and donors.
“This fund honors George’s belief in 4-H and his long-term service on the board,” Deanna House said. “It was a good way to remember him long-term – it is also a good cause. “
4-H camps and centers like Kettunen Center are fading. They need to have support to keep them up-to-date,” she said.“This way, the funds from the endowment can be used as those in charge feel it’s needed well into the future.”
George and Deanna House both grew up as 4-H members in Illinois and Wisconsin. They went to college in Wisconsin, George at the University of Wisconsin and Deanna at the University of Wisconsin-Stout. After they married and moved to Michigan, they became highly valued Michigan 4-H volunteers, first in Kalamazoo County and then statewide.
George joined the Michigan 4-H Foundation Board of Trustees in 1979 and served on the board until 2009. In his 30 years as a trustee, he served as president, vice president and treasurer of the board. He believed in the power of dedicated facilities to foster positive youth development. He helped lead the $4.3 million campaign to renovate Kettunen Center, and also helped generate support for the facilities campaign for 4-H Camp Kidwell in Allegan County.
Deanna is well known as a nutrition and healthy foods columnist, author, consultant, speaker and 4-H volunteer. She helped young people see the value in healthy eating and cooking, and helped them develop the skills to do so successfully. When microwave cooking was introduced as a fast way to prepare meals, Deanna helped young people navigate this new technology by co-authoring the 4-H curriculum Microwave Connections.
“4-H shaped my life,” Deanna House said. “We both felt that we should be paying back, and youth are one of the things we believe in. This was a great fit.”
The Houses have been generous annual donors to 4-H for over three decades. In 2006, they also established the Founder’s Fund, an operational endowment for the Michigan 4-H Foundation, which promises to pay dividends of support for 4-H for many years to come.
Two new endowments will leave a legacy and provide perpetual support for 4-H
Two new endowments were recently established with the Michigan 4-H Foundation.
An endowment is a fund that is permanently restricted – the corpus of the fund is invested and held intact, and the earnings from the fund are used for program support. Endowments provide a dependable and perpetual source for funding, that combined with other annual support, assures that 4-H opportunities are always available.
Nicholie Ashcraft, of Harrison, created the 4-H Staff Development Endowment Fund. This fund will support 4-H staff volunteer management training to prepare 4-H staff members in how to best recruit, train, nurture and recognize volunteers.
Ashcraft believes that since the training of volunteers is provided by staff, staff need to be better equipped to provide streamlined training across the state. This endowment will help fund the most recent, cutting-edge staff training.
Ashcraft, a Clare County 4-H alumna, served as a 4-H agent in Gratiot County and later as a statewide 4-H program leader. The latter part of her career focused on 4-H program evaluation in six states.
This past summer, Basil and Coralene Bloss, of Howell, established The Echo Endowment Fund, named for Coralene’s first calf, Echo. Through Livingston County 4-H, Coralene and Echo had great adventures participating in 4-H and at the Fowlerville Fair. Coralene also participated in 4-H Dairy Judging and won both the Michigan 4-H State Home Improvement Demonstration Contest and the Michigan 4-H Public Speaking Contest, winning trips to Washington, D.C., and to National 4-H Club Congress in Chicago.
With this endowment, the Blosses look forward to future generations having similar opportunities to grow and expand their skills and life opportunities. The fund supports 4-H livestock or dairy judging or other programs that encourage and provide opportunity for 4-H members to develop their knowledge of livestock and refine their public speaking skills.
These newly established endowment funds will not only support 4-H but also provide permanent tribute to the donors. Building local, state and facility endowment funds is a priority for The Campaign for 4-H’s Future.
The Calhoun County 4-H Endowment Fund was established with an initial estate gift made to Calhoun County 4-H by Harold E. Thomas.
Thomas was an active Calhoun County 4-H volunteer who started the Legends of 4-H Award and was often seen helping at the Show of Champions. He would also help get people in line at both the Marshall Christmas Parade and the Calhoun County Fair Parade.
Thomas graduated from Marshall High School and served in the U.S. Army. He worked as a machine shop supervisor for the Grand Trunk Railroad for 41 years. An active member of Moose Lodge 676, he earned his degree of fellowship in 1972 and his pilgrim degree of merit in 2011.
Calhoun County 4-H is one of the 31 counties participating in the Make the Match County 4-H Endowment Campaign. Gifts to grow the Calhoun County 4-H Endowment Fund will have double the impact with the 1:1 match from the endowment match fund while match funds are available. Additional donations are welcomed to help grow the fund.
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.
This year the Macomb County 4-H Youth Council joined the Make the Match County 4-H Endowment Campaign as a leading contributor and established the Macomb County 4-H Endowment Fund.
The Macomb County 4-H Youth Council is made up of five teens representing the youth voice of 4-H in Macomb County.
“In 2013, five youth came together to become the first youth council in Macomb County. We figured that 4-H is a youth-led organization, so we should have our youth leading the decision making,” said Maggie Bohm, Macomb County 4-H Youth Council president and Macomb County 4-H’er.
“The first year, we focused on giving out scholarships for 4-H Exploration Days and running fundraisers at fair. This year, we had more of a base, so we offered a few more workshops and
revamped our fundraisers,” she said. In previous years, the Macomb County 4-H Youth Council raised money through the annual livestock sale, photo booths and a petting farm held at the county fair.
“Our previous fundraiser was a photo booth with hay bales and a cute country setting, and people would donate money for us to take their photograph. Because of cell phones, though, it wasn’t working out that great, so we started brainstorming new ideas,” Bohm said.
“We noticed the midway and how the vendors don’t open until noon, but most of the 4-H’ers are up and ready at 9 a.m. We thought about how we could meet the exhibitors’ and parents’ needs with a coffee cart full of fruit, coffee and other snacks,” she said.
The coffee cart was one of the successful fund-raising ventures that made the endowment donation possible. Additionally, the youth council decided to use saved money more wisely.
“We had quite a large chunk of money saved up from when the leadership association was running the feeding farm. It was sitting in the bank, not even earning interest, so we decided to put it to better use with the endowment fund,” Bohm said.
“I think the endowment is so important because it’s helping us think about our future. We don’t know what’s happening with government funding and if it’s going to be around for much longer. By setting this money aside, we’re hoping that the interest alone will be able to support 4-H and keep things running,” she said. “That’s the biggest reason we decided to do it.”
Annual earnings from the endowment fund’s investment can provide annual support for current 4-H program delivery, including scholarships for 4-H participation fees and youth to attend out-ofcounty learning experiences, the development of new programs and learning materials, or any future areas of great need to advance the county 4-H program.
“The endowment is a huge opportunity to have a large amount of money matched,” said Liz Duran, Macomb County MSU Extension 4-H program coordinator. “I brought up the idea of donating to the endowment. The youth council decided together by votes that this would be a wonderful opportunity to secure the financial future of 4-H in Macomb County,” she said.
“I trust in [the foundation’s] decision-making skills to successfully make a profit. We figured out what we spent last year and looked at the interest of the campaign, and it more than covers what we spent in a year programming,” Duran said. “We know that you can’t continue to spend without a source of income. At this point in Macomb County 4-H, the interest from the endowment alone will keep us sustainable,” she said.
“I like to see the kids understand how the endowment works and let them see why it was such a wise decision to invest in,” she added.
“There is no other program like 4-H in the world in terms of youth development. I believe in all higher education and all youth development programs, but now that I’ve worked with 4-H for so long, I clearly see the difference,” she said. “The youth are our future, and it’s important that we provide them with lots of support and opportunity.”
Macomb County is one of 31 counties participating in the Make the Match County 4-H Endowment campaign. Through October 2016, participating counties had received commitments totaling $798,179. (See map for the breakdown by county.) The Make the Match campaign officially launched July 1, 2013, with the benefit of an endowment match pool contributed by gifts from the Herbert H. and Grace A. Dow Foundation, the Rollin M. Gerstacker Foundation and individual leadership donors totaling nearly $800,000.
County totals have nearly exceeded that amount. Qualifying county 4-H endowment gifts will be matched until Dec. 31, 2016. The matching funds will be suspended thereafter, unless additional match pool funds are received. The Michigan 4-H Foundation continues to seek funding to grow the match pool to $1 million.
Michigan 4-H Foundation launches county 4-H endowment match campaign
County 4-H programs in Michigan have historically been funded by a partnership between federal, state and county governments, Michigan State University and gifts from private supporters. With increasing reductions in public support, 4-H families, volunteers, clubs, alumni and other friends are coming together to build private support to sustain 4-H in local communities.
Supporters of county 4-H programs can double their personal support for 4-H by donating to the Make the Match Campaign for their county 4-H program. The goal is to raise $1 million in endowment for county 4-H programs in Michigan that will in turn be doubled by a match fund.
The Make the Match Campaign match fund is made possible by grants from the Herbert H. and Grace A. Dow Foundation, the Rollin M. Gerstacker Foundation and individual leadership gifts from Gary and Eiko Seevers and the Seevers Family Foundation, Donald and Rebecca Jost, Dale and Sally Stuby, Noel and Sandra Clarkson Stuckman, Larry and Julie Chapin, and Lowell and Marilyn Rothert.
Several counties have set goals of raising a minimum of $10,000 locally, which, if successful, will qualify the county 4-H program to receive a 1:1 match from the Michigan 4-H Foundation of every dollar raised to build an endowment to support their county’s 4-H programs.
An endowment is a fund that is permanently restricted. The corpus of the fund is invested and held intact, and the earnings from the fund are used for program support. Professional managers oversee endowment funds, investing the money in stocks, bonds, and other instruments.
Annual earnings from the fund’s investment can provide annual support for current 4-H program delivery, including scholarships for 4-H youth out-of-county experiences and participation fees; purchase of or development of new program and learning materials, or any future areas of great need to advance the county 4-H program.
Counties currently participating in the match campaign to build new endowments are Chippewa, Eaton, Luce, Mason and Midland.
Counties that already have general endowed funds with the Michigan 4-H Foundation can also use the match campaign to grow existing endowed funds. Clare and Houghton/Keweenaw counties are taking advantage of this opportunity. Both counties established 4-H endowment funds in 2007 and 2008, respectively, and have launched local campaigns to continue to grow their current endowments to make a larger investment for the future.
Kalkaska County also plans to grow the Kalkaska 4-H Youth Development Fund through this match campaign. Their endowment was created in 1987 by the Kalkaska County 4-H Leaders Association with proceeds from a real estate donation from Paul Johnson.
Kent, Osceola and Shiawassee counties have already met the maximum match and will also be receiving match funds.
The match pool has also grown from gifts from Lana Dart, Wayne and Faye Adam, James Mulvany, and W. Conard and Mary Search.
Nearly $500,000 has been committed to support local 4-H endowment funds across the state thanks to the Make the Match County 4-H Endowment Campaign, one of the priorities for The Campaign for Michigan 4-H’s Future.
Chippewa County 4-H, one of the now 31 counties participating in the campaign, set an endowment goal of $50,000, the maximum that can be matched by the Michigan 4-H Foundation.
Chippewa County’s 4-H Endowment campaign chairs are James Moore, Chippewa County 4-H volunteer leader and 4-H council chair, and Lindsey Kromemeyer, Chippewa County 4-H teen volunteer with oversight from the Chippewa County 4-H Council.
“With this endowment we would have money to help keep our 4-H program going,” Moore said. “I was a county commissioner for 10 years while I sat on the 4-H council as vice chair. I saw the council give out and take in money that kept 4-H alive.”
Over the past year of the campaign, Chippewa County 4-H has raised nearly $13,000 from 4-H clubs and local businesses who have proved to be strong partners in this endeavor.
“We picked the higher goal. We’re still trying to reach half of our donations from private individuals which may be the hardest part,” Moore said. “We’re trying to get the word out.”
In June last year, the council held the first Burger Bash, a fundraiser for the Chippewa County 4-H Endowment held at the local Elks Lodge.
“We are really looking forward to the Burger Bash again,” said Melanie Greenfield, Chippewa County 4-H program coordinator. “The Silver Spurs 4-H Club is taking leadership this year.”
Additionally, the local Tractor Supply Store has hosted a carnival and been very supportive of 4-H.
“Our TSC store is amazing!” Greenfield said. “They’ve paid for a popcorn machine, cotton candy, etc.!”
In addition, the county has done mailings to garner support. Greenfield feels this has raised the most awareness of the campaign.
“Most of the people buying tickets to the Burger Bash are already 4-H supporters. After the first mailing last year, we received a lot of contacts from others not currently involved with 4-H,” she explained.
“We want to show we are working hard to preserve our future,” Greenfield said. “We have to invest in our youth. 4-H connects kids with positive adults in the community and provides fun, hands-on learning opportunities.”
Annual earnings from the fund’s investment can provide annual support for current 4-H program delivery, including scholarships for 4-H youth out-of-county experiences and participation fees, purchase of or development of new program and learning materials, or any future areas of great need to advance the county 4-H program.
Additional counties currently participating in the Make the Match campaign are: Allegan, Arenac, Branch, Calhoun, Chippewa, Clare, Clinton, Eaton, Grand Traverse, Gratiot, Hillsdale, Houghton/Keweenaw, Ingham, Ionia, Kalkaska, Lapeer, Lenawee, Macomb, Mason, Midland, Montcalm, Muskegon, Oakland, Ottawa, Sanilac, St. Joseph, Washtenaw and Wayne.
Kent, Osceola and Shiawassee counties have already met the maximum match of $50,000.