When Stacy Johnson, Redwood County 4-H program coordinator, first started her job, she began having conversations with volunteers about an idea to help enhance the local 4-H program and the families it serves.

That idea blossomed as Johnson started talking with others about it, and the more people heard about it the more momentum grew. After spending some time allowing those involved with the program to help raise funds, it was announced in early December 2017 that a new Redwood County 4-H endowment had been established.

“We established an advisory board,” said Johnson, adding that board set a goal to earn 10 percent of the goal of setting up a $100,000 endowment.

Once that goal was reached, the endowment would be established.

Fundraising happened in various ways through the efforts of 4-H families, including what Johnson called the little green pigs.

Families were given a small green plastic pig bank and were asked to fill it with loose change. In addition clubs held fund-raising activities, and the Redwood County 4-H federation began hosting a pancake breakfast Sunday morning during the Redwood County Fair. 

All of the funds being raised, in addition to a financial donation from the federation, helped to meet the $10,000 goal, and as of this month an endowment is being set up through the University of Minnesota.

According to Johnson, the decision to run the endowment through the U of M is a good thing for the county, as it helps with management of the endowment. Yet, all of the funds that are raised will be used to enhance programming and opportunities for the Redwood County 4-H program.

Johnson said the vision is known as Dream 2020, and by that year the hope is to have met the goal and to allow the interest gained from the endowment to be used in various ways.

“The money that has been donated with continue to be invested until we hit the $100,000 mark,” said Johnson.

That, she said, could be to offer county-wide programs for youth involved in 4-H, or 4-H members could request funds for programs they want to conduct.

“The only rule is that the funds need to be used to programming that is offered for the entire county,” said Johnson, adding, as an example, it could be used to help purchase supplies for an event or for a trip youth across the county could take to gain experiences that will help them grow.

Johnson said there are many ways people can give to the endowment.

“This would be a great way for people to help keep the legacy of 4-H alive in Redwood County,” said Johnson.

Details about how one may donate are going to be posted online through the U of M Extension Service Web site set up for Redwood County.

Those who are interested in making a donation may also contact the Redwood County Extension Service office in Redwood Falls by calling (507) 637-4025.

Johnson expressed her appreciation to those who raised funds for the endowment, adding she is excited about the possibilities that can come from having a program like this for youth in Redwood County.