This year, the Iowa 4-H Foundation created a new funding opportunity called the 4-H Forward Grant. Designed as seed investments for an innovative local program, through these grants, we hope counties will be able to better recruit and retain members, reach new audiences and grow local capacity. Four proposals were selected from a competitive pool, to receive a total of $35,000 over a three-year period, beginning in 2024. These funds were allocated through the Program Endowment Fund. Congratulations to these grant recipients!
Emmet County: 4-H Soccer for Success
To better engage the Latino population, Emmet County will hire a summer bilingual Soccer for Success coordinator who will be responsible for recruiting coach-mentors, recruiting participants, working with partners, scheduling events, managing risks, and connecting with families. Goal: To increase the diversity of youth participating in Emmet County 4-H by 10% and increase youth enrolled in long-term opportunities in Emmet County by 15%.
Hamilton County: First-Year Forward Cohort Program
The First Year Forward Cohort program will meet every other month for the span of one 4-H year, as a way to help orient new members and families to the 4-H Program and increase retention of 4-H members. Meetings will cover the basics of 4-H, what it means to be in 4-H, and the educational goals of 4-H. A free meal for each 4-H’er and their family along with childcare will be provided each month. Goals: Increase re-enrollment by 10%.
Linn County: Igniting SPARK 4-H Clubs to Engage Youth and Address Community Needs
SPARK-based 4-H clubs will be created for youth interested in horticulture with a goal to help address food insecurity in Linn County. Clubs will be led by newly recruited community volunteers who will be trained 4-H club volunteers with the option to become trained Master Gardeners. This unique crossover opportunity between 4-H and the Master Gardeners will leverage expertise and passion of the volunteers while creating a high-quality learning experience. Goal: To reach 50 youth.
Louisa County: Special Interest 4-H Club Expansion
This project will build capacity and focus on positive youth development and extend reach to non-traditional audiences through First Lego League focused 4-H Clubs. Louisa County is a recreational desert and has few opportunities for youth to access STEM programming--two new First Lego League 4-H Clubs will help meet this need and reach a more diverse audience. Goal: To help youth develop critical thinking skills, participate in civic engagement, develop leadership attributes and encourage independence.