Louisiana 4-H Foundation: A History of Growing the Clover

Richard Bogren  |  2/3/2017 4:04:19 PM

Patrick Tuck

The Louisiana 4-H Foundation currently holds 74 permanent endowed and nonendowed funds totaling $2.9 million within the LSU Foundation. Endowments generate interest that is spent annually to sup­port Louisiana 4-H. At their September 2016 board meeting, foundation trustees voted unanimously to embark upon a five-year campaign to establish $1 mil­lion in educational trips endowments. These accounts will permanently sup­port the foundation’s $50,000 annual commitment to educational awards trips for deserving Louisiana 4-H youth.

The concept of funds based on pri­vate contributions to augment support of 4-H activities in Louisiana began in 1978 when friends and colleagues of John A. Cox sought a suitable way to honor him upon his retirement as direc­tor of the Cooperative Extension Service. On April 29, 1978, the John A. Cox 4-H Development Fund was inaugurated to honor a man who had energetically sup­ported 4-H throughout his career.

To expand the scope of private sup­port for 4-H programs, the board of directors of the development fund in December 1983 created several Louisiana 4-H Foundation funds within the LSU Foundation that now encompass the John A. Cox Fund, the Louisiana Campaign for 4-H, many accounts in memory and honor of 4-H support­ers and other special-interest drives for funds to support 4-H activities.

The heart of Louisiana 4-H fundrais­ing lives in the 64 parish foundations established in 1993. These affiliated 501(c)(3) foundations hold a total of $5 million to support daily 4-H program expenses in every parish. Six parish foundations now receive support from the St. Charles United Way, St. John United Way and beginning in July 2016, the Capital Area United Way.

The Louisiana 4-H Foundation reached $1 million in funds in 1995. Later that year, the foundation received its first philanthropist-level gift of $500,000 from the estate of Dr. Carl Baldridge and Beulah Landry Baldridge, an endowment which has since grown to over $600,000. The foundation reached $2 million in funds in 2000. It was not until 2013 that the foundation received its second philanthropist-lev­el gift of $502,000 from RoyOMartin Inc. The gift was made as a part of the Grant Walker Build the Pavilion Fund. More than $1.3 million in cash and in-kind donations was raised for the pavilion. A 2015 dedication ceremony named the structure the Ellis S. Martin Pavilion and the road around the camp Lew Ewing Drive. Former state senator Randy Ewing noted at the opening cere­mony that he and Bill Richardson, LSU vice president for agriculture, conceived of the project at the urging of previous 4-H camp director Kim Landry. Ewing was delighted that all three were in attendance to share in the celebration of this significant improvement to the 4-H Grant Walker Educational Center.

The Louisiana Campaign for 4-H began in 2013 when Dwight Landreneau, retired associate vice chancellor, ded­icated his retirement gift to enhance the Foundation Operating Fund. Now known as the Grow the Clover Campaign, this drive helps sustain a balance of roughly $40,000 in what has become one of most agile and essential accounts. Annual donors such as the Louisiana Farm Bureau Federation are crucial partners in this endeavor.

The Louisiana 4-H Foundation reached its next major milestone on Sept. 28, 2016, when Honey Brake Lodge representatives Tack Robinson and Drew Keeth visited LSU to sign an agreement for the largest donation from a single donor Louisiana 4-H history. Honey Brake pledged $1 million over 10 years to create permanent endowments for edu­cational trips and camps.

Honey Brake hosted the Louisiana 4-H annual Guns & Gumbo fundrais­er in February 2016. Paul Coreil, LSU AgCenter vice chancellor emeritus, and foundation executive director Patrick Tuck visited Honey Brake earlier this fall to finalize plans for Guns & Gumbo 2017.

Patrick Tuck is the executive director of the Louisiana 4-H Foundation.

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