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WVU Extension presents philanthropy awards

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WVU Extension Service’s 2017 Outstanding Partner Award was presented to the National 4-H Council. Carolyn Fernandez and Becky McKay accepted the award on behalf of the Council. (Pictured l to r, Abby Esguerra, Director of Development, WVU Extension Service, Carolyn Fernandez and Becky McKay of the National 4-H Council, and Dean Steven Bonanno, Dean, WVU Extension Service).

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West Virginia University Extension Service provides valuable outreach, research, programs and education to improve lives in every county in West Virginia. Behind those efforts are loyal, committed donors who share our passion for improving the lives of West Virginians. WVU Extension Service recently recognized several donors who have made significant contributions to Extension’s mission with Extension Partner Appreciation awards.

The 2017 recipients include the West Virginia Oil and Natural Gas Association, National 4-H Council, EQT Foundation, and Mary M. “Mickey” Welch.

West Virginia Oil and Natural Gas Association – Outstanding Organization Appreciation Award
This award recognizes an outstanding organization that has been a generous and loyal partner to WVU Extension. The West Virginia Virginia Oil and Natural Gas Association worked with member organizations to help secure matching funds for a $400,000 FEMA grant for well-fire training through WVU Fire Service Extension. Gifts ranging from $2,000 to $20,000 contributed to the $55,000 raised to assist in the WVU Fire Service Extension match obligation. Anne Blankenship accepted the award on behalf of the West Virginia Oil and Natural Gas Association.

National 4-H Council – Outstanding Partner Award
WVU Extension’s relationships with partners throughout the state and nation enable the organization to focus on its mission. The National 4‑H Council has provided more than $1.4 million in financial support during th past 20 years for key initiatives including Health Rocks!, Youth Voice: Youth Choice and our innovative 4-H STEM program.

Carolyn Fernandez, Betsy McKay and Eleanor Wilson accepted the award on behalf of the Council.

EQT Foundation – Outstanding Regional Partner
This year’s recipient of the Outstanding Regional Partner award was EQT Foundation. This award recognizes an organization that has been a loyal and committed partner in a specific geographic area. WVU Extension Service was selected as one of the philanthropic interests of the EQT Foundation in 2017. The Foundation generously provided $30,000 to enhance and expand the nationally-recognized Energy Express program in Wetzel, Ritchie, Harrison and Doddridge counties. Accepting the award on behalf of EQT Foundation was Ellen Rossi.

Mary “Mickey” Welch – Outstanding Philanthropist
Mickey Welch, owner of Mary M. Welch Oil and Gas in her hometown of Parkersburg, was selected as the WVU Extension’s Outstanding Philanthropist. Through her incredible generosity, she created the Mary “Mickey” Welch Scholars Program, a fund that will provide scholarships to WVU undergraduate students from Wood County, and the Mary “Mickey” Welch Wood County 4-H Scholarship Fund, a fund which will provide scholarships to send youth to 4-H camps, events and related activities who may not be able to attend otherwise due to financial constraints.

“Support from donors and partners like the West Virginia Oil and Natural Gas Association, EQT Foundation, National 4-H Council, and Mickey Welch, is critical to our organization,” said Steven Bonanno, dean and director, WVU Extension Service. “Without their generosity and commitment to the people of West Virginia, we would not be able to provide programs and services to all 55 counties in West Virginia. Each are very deserving of this recognition, and we’re grateful for their support

For more information on 4-H opportunities in your community, contact your local county office of the WVU Extension Service or visit Visit us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter.



CONTACT: Tara Curtis, WVU Extension Service

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