The Randolph County 4-H Foundation recently established the largest county 4-H endowment in the history of the West Virginia University Foundation, creating a legacy that will benefit the youth development program in the county for years to come.
Randolph County 4-H Foundation members felt that it was a good time to create an endowment to ensure future support of the 4-H program in the county. The WVU Extension Service Development Office will work with the county to provide fundraising support, including soliciting gifts and helping with direct mail fundraisers, among other services.
“There will always be a risk involved, but the statistics were quite impressive,” said Randolph County 4-H Foundation President Larry Jones. “Personally, I feel somewhat more comfortable knowing that the foundation’s involvement is, for a lack of better terms, a shared risk.”
The Randolph County 4-H Foundation Endowment also marks the third county endowment specifically tailored to 4-H organizations that allows “spend,” the cash generated from the endowment, to be disbursed to the organization in one lump sum each year in July.
“Like so many other counties, our active volunteer base seems to be shrinking,” Jones said, making it difficult for existing volunteers to develop fundraisers. “For us, the endowment was a great and sensible means to set aside an endowment from the estate of Ms. Irene Corely, a longtime 4-H leader and educator in Randolph County.”
Current members of the county foundation board include representatives from the Randolph County 4-H Leaders, Randolph County 4-H Teen Leaders, Randolph County Community Educational Outreach Service, Randolph County Commission, and six at-large members from communities in the county.
Jones said other counties may want to consider establishing endowments.
In the short term, Jones believes having an endowment with the WVU Foundation will increase accountability and access to fundraising expertise. Long term, he hopes that the fund will grow and “allow us to continue providing academic scholarships, camp scholars, Camp Pioneer upgrades and renovations, and provide support to the Randolph County 4-H program.”
The WVU Foundation is a private non-profit corporation that was chartered in 1954 to secure, hold, and administer funds and properties by individuals, corporations and philanthropic foundations in support of West Virginia University and its affiliated organizations.
The Randolph County 4-H Foundation was founded in 1996.
“The goal then and now is to bring all friends of 4-H together to financially support and provide resources to develop a well-rounded 4-H program in the county,” he said. “While there are times that have seemed rather lean, we have never lost sight that the future of 4-H and humanity lies within the youth of today.”
Contact: Julie Cryser, West Virginia University Extension