Wyoming State 4-H Foundation donations to county organizations increased by more than $53,000 in fiscal 2013, boosting the total to a record $241,041.
With more than 7,000 4-H members in Wyoming, the foundation and 4-H program expose youth to animal science, technology and natural resources., helping them gain life skills in confidence and the ability to solve problems.
Non-profit foundation 4-H efforts are the fundraising segment of the organization, which nationally is now more than 100 years old.
The sole purpose of the foundation is to generate income, explains Wyoming 4-H Program coordinator Johnathan Despain.
"At some point in time, the program will either go away, or people are going to have to step up to make the program happen and figure out long-term sustainability plans," he warns, noting that funding has declined, requiring new support.
"We're trying to, through the foundation, create those plans so our programs can continue on … so the kids always have the benefit for the long haul."
The $53,000 increase for the year was due partly to fundraising success in many events, but also due to contributions by a benefactor who left a large amount of money to the foundation upon his death.
Ezra H. Nichols, of Laramie, who passed away in 2012, left $900,000 to the foundation.
"The foundation board got together, and they took a big chunk of that money and started a matching program for the counties," he adds. "If the counties will fund-raise up to $10,000, they'll match it for every county in the state 4-H program, endowed in the foundation, where the income of that is theirs to spend in the county programs forever."
County clubs have two or three years to take advantage of the program. He says he hopes the money will be there to conduct a future matching fund project.
Excluding the match, a county receives foundation money based on the number of members participating in individual programs.