COLUMBIA, Mo. — Missouri 4-H has announced the development of a new Innovation Grant initiative to reward and encourage programs, ideas and partnerships that will advance the national 4-H goal of embracing and meeting the diverse needs of our country’s youth by the year 2025.
Starting this fall, Missouri 4-H faculty will be eligible to apply for grants up to $500, thanks to generous contributions from the Missouri 4-H Foundation and support from the 4-H Center for Youth Development at the University of Missouri.
National 4-H has pledged that by 2025, the organization’s members, faculty, staff, volunteer and programs will reflect the demographics of our country, serving the many diverse needs of our nation’s youth, including vulnerable populations.
“These innovation grants will recognize youth development programs statewide that meet the highest standard of program quality and innovation advancing positive youth development,” said Melissa Scheer, a 4-H youth development specialist in Jefferson County, who has been working with a team of 4-H professionals from across the state to develop the plan and criteria for the grants. “Our hope is that MU Extension 4-H faculty and staff will be able to further their work with community partners to address emerging needs of youth and their families in all communities across Missouri.”
An innovative program could be a new approach to a current program or an entirely new effort in youth development. The goal is to inspire 4-H programming that reflects the uniqueness of each locality — adapting to serve diverse local needs through different club types, project areas and events to ensure 4-H attracts and serves all Missouri youth.
The grant deadline is Aug. 15, with award announcements planned for Sept. 1 for programs that will run through August 2021. The Missouri 4-H Foundation, sponsor of the 4-H Innovation Grants, is the private resource partner of the MU Extension 4-H Center for Youth Development.
“Innovation is critically important, especially during challenging times like the COVID-19 crisis. These mini grants are just one way the Missouri 4-H Foundation can help 4-H faculty and staff across the state meet the ever-changing needs of young people and their families,” said Missouri 4-H Foundation Director Rachael Augustine.
Established in 1949, the Missouri 4-H Foundation partners with universities, corporations, foundations and individuals to build stronger 4-H programs and provide financial support to benefit Missouri’s youth. The foundation helps empower young people in every county of the state to learn by doing and become the leaders of tomorrow.
More than 55,000 members strong, Missouri 4-H is an active, dynamic organization of young people who are learning, growing and preparing to be the leaders of today and tomorrow – making a real difference in their community, country and world. 4-H is the youth development program of the University of Missouri and the nation’s Cooperative Extension System. For more information on Missouri 4-H, visit 4h.missouri.edu.
— Melissa Scheer, University of Missouri Extension
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