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Oklahoma 4-H Foundation and Program state staff and 4-H officers gather with Masonic Charity Foundation of Oklahoma staff for a check presentation. (Photo by Kristin Young, Oklahoma 4-H Youth Development)

Oklahoma 4-H Foundation receives $125,000 gift

Tuesday, April 27, 2021

Media Contact: Kristin Young | Marketing Coordinator | 405-744-8886 | kristin.young@okstate.edu

A prosperous partnership between the Oklahoma 4-H Foundation and the Masonic Charity Foundation of Oklahoma (MCFOK) continues to benefit Oklahoma 4-H Youth Development members with the 4-H Foundation’s reception of a $125,000 charitable gift.

This donation follows a $100,000 donation made by MCFOK in spring 2020 to establish the Masonic Charity Foundation of Oklahoma Endowment Fund within the 4-H Foundation.

“These two gifts are transformational for our organization,” said Milford H. Jenkins, executive director for the 4-H Foundation. “We express our heartfelt appreciation to the Masonic Charity Foundation of Oklahoma for their continued investment in 4-H youth.”

Of the recent $125,000 gift, $100,000 will be added to the MCFOK permanent endowment which supports 4-H science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) programming and the annual State 4-H Roundup. The remaining $25,000 will enhance the 4-H Innovate Leadership Summit, through which teen leaders are trained to teach science and agricultural lessons to other youth.

Innovate Leadership Summit

Established in 2019, the Innovate Leadership Summit has made a tremendous effort to introduce 4-H members to STEM-related fields, including computer science, robotics and hydroponics, said Alex Cox, Oklahoma 4-H STEM specialist. 4-H teens attend the Summit to gain expertise and skills to conduct educational STEM workshops in their communities. During the Summit’s inaugural year, 39 teen leaders reached more than 5,500 individuals through workshops and lessons.

When it comes to the future of the Innovate Leadership Summit, Cox said the financial support from MCFOK will provide opportunities for growth and expanded impact of 4-H STEM programming.

“With this generous donation, we will be able to provide more resources and tools for our teen leaders teaching these STEM workshops,” she said. “This year, each teen who attends the Summit will receive a kit filled with items needed to offer more enriching activities to other youth.”

Cox said as the state 4-H STEM specialist, she works to expose 4-H members to career opportunities in STEM, and the Innovate Leadership Summit is just one of many vehicles in developing future STEM leaders.

“Nearly 80 percent of the workforce requires STEM skills,” she said. “By introducing youth to STEM through fun and engaging methods, we are hopefully encouraging them to consider pursuing careers in the field.”

Oklahoma 4-H Roundup

One of the pinnacle experiences for an Oklahoma 4-H member is attending State 4-H Roundup. For 100 years, 4-H members have gathered on the Oklahoma State University campus for educational workshops, contests, award recognition, reuniting with friends and meeting new ones.

On the receiving end of MCFOK’s generosity, State 4-H Roundup will reach new heights with enhanced assemblies, workshops and activities offered at the event. The MCFOK charitable gift will allow state 4-H staff and educators to provide an even better Roundup experience for 4-H members.

The diverse educational component of State 4-H Roundup is a favorite among attendees.

“Workshops at 4-H Roundup help us get outside our comfort zones to learn new things,” said Mia Mitchell, Oklahoma County 4-H member. “You have all of these workshops to select from and attend. From building résumés and practicing self-defense to touring campus facilities and learning about food science, there is always something new to learn.”

Mitchell said she is thankful for donors who invest in the educational experiences and life skill development of 4-H members like herself.

“A donation of this size will have a huge impact on 4-H members across the state who will attend Roundup for years to come,” Mitchell said. “On behalf of Oklahoma 4-H members, we thank the Masonic Charity Foundation of Oklahoma for their support.”

Foundation of a Lifelong Partnership

As the institutional repository for the charitable assets of the Masonic Fraternity of Oklahoma, MCFOK prioritizes investing in the academic and personal successes of Oklahoma youth, said John Logan, executive director of MCFOK.

Emphasizing on supporting youth-serving organizations, Logan said 4-H appealed to MCFOK because 4-H serves rural and urban students, is well-established and projects a positive public image. With similar organizational goals in mind, a meaningful partnership was created between these two entities.

“The Masonic Charity Foundation of Oklahoma and the Oklahoma 4-H Foundation have built what has become a long-lasting relationship based on mutual principles that will drive how we support our commitments to students’ success,” Logan said.

Jered Davidson, president of the 4-H Foundation Board of Directors, said the 4-H Foundation relies on charitable gifts, like those made by MCFOK, to stimulate development of innovative programs, provide scholarships to members and support 4-H educators and volunteers.

“Everything we receive we put back into the 4-H program to make it better,” Davidson said.

Logan said he is appreciative of the 4-H Foundation’s work to support Oklahoma youth.

“Through the continued financial support of the Oklahoma 4-H Foundation, we can contribute to the bright futures of its members,” Logan said.

The Oklahoma 4-H Foundation supports the mission of Oklahoma 4-H by allocating private fund development to support programs, scholarships, awards and activities. To learn more about the Oklahoma 4-H Foundation, contact Milford H. Jenkins at 405-744-5390 or visit www.oklahoma4hfoundation.com.

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