The 4-H Foundation may soon be dissolved into the University of Minnesota Foundation in favor of a new funding system.
On Oct. 13, University of Minnesota Extension brought a resolution to the Board of Regents to change its existing funding structures for the state’s 4-H programs.
The resolution would dissolve the Minnesota 4-H Foundation and transfer its funding and responsibilities to the University of Minnesota Foundation.
Both groups played roles in funding 4-H, which led to an overlap in responsibilities, said Beverly R. Durgan, dean of University Extension.
“It was a little bit awkward to be raising money through UMF for 4-H and also for the 4-H Foundation to be raising money. This, now, will make it very seamless,” Durgan said.
4-H is a U.S. Department of Agriculture program that aims to aid youth development programs in communities around the country.
The Minnesota 4-H Foundation was established in 1980 to raise money to fund the programs implemented through Extension.
Fundraising and distribution of funds should remain unchanged, Durgan said.
She added that the Extension system will save money due to increased efficiency and not having to fund another office’s operational expenses.
The move had been discussed between the 4-H Foundation Board of Trustees and Extension for the past two years.
As a result, the move garnered unanimous support from the 4-H Foundation’s Board of Trustees in June.
“We had a lot of discussions around what the pros and cons were... When all the answers were put on the table, it was a very easy, clear decision that this is what’s best for the youth of Minnesota,” said Peter Scheffert, vice-chair of the 4-H Foundation’s Board of Trustees.
4-H Foundation employees will continue their roles under Extension, and many Board of Trustees members will remain as part of an advisory council, Durgan said.
The Board of Regents will vote on the resolution in December.
“Both from a legal standpoint and from the business strategy standpoint, it seems to make a lot of sense,” said David McMillan, chair of the Board of Regents at their Oct. 13 meeting.
Should the resolution pass, Extension hopes to complete the structure shift by the end of January, Durgan said.
“We really see this as a win and we think that it's going to be great for raising money to support our 4-H programs,” she said.