The National 4-H Council this week announced it received a $50 million gift from writer and philanthropist MacKenzie Scott. The gift from Scott, the ex-wife of Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, is the largest single donation ever to the National 4-H Council.
Given the expansive reach of Cooperative Extension’s 4-H program, delivered through the nation’s land-grant universities, this investment will support positive youth development for nearly six million kids and their families in every U.S. county, parish, and territory.
“National 4-H Council is grateful to MacKenzie Scott and her husband, Dan Jewett, for their belief in Cooperative Extension’s 4-H program and its life-changing outcomes for youth,” said Jennifer Sirangelo, President and CEO of National 4-H Council. “Their generosity will sustain 4-H’s commitment to ensuring all young people—regardless of their background or beliefs—are empowered with the skills to lead for a lifetime.”
4-H engages youth around the country with programs in STEM, healthy living, civic engagement, and agriculture that are backed by a network of 100 land-grant universities. Through hands-on learning, these young people build not only confidence, creativity, and curiosity, but also life skills such as leadership and resiliency to help them thrive today and tomorrow.
Every day, millions of America’s youth face inequities that lead to an opportunity gap, often reflected in communities with less investments in schools, after-school, and community programs. The opportunity gap is made worse by unequal access to education, technology, and healthy foods and has been further exacerbated by the pandemic and a national youth mental health crisis.
This gift will build upon the efforts of thousands of local Cooperative Extension 4-H educators and leaders, 500,000-plus volunteers, and millions of 4-H youth, alumni, and donors who are working to close this opportunity gap through innovative solutions to meet the needs of America’s youth in their communities. The investment will also contribute to the progress 4-H has made through decades of public investment from counties, states, and the National Institute of Food and Agriculture within USDA.
“Together, we have built a life-changing movement that serves six million youth each year,” Sirangelo said. “Fueled by this historic investment, we will make even greater progress toward our shared vision: providing all young people with access to opportunity.”
“This extraordinary gift is a rare and special occurrence,” said Krysta Harden, National 4-H Council Board Chair and President and CEO of the U.S. Dairy Export Council. “With such a significant gift comes great responsibility. We will engage our stakeholders to ensure these resources lift the diverse voices of young people and create equitable and inclusive opportunities for this generation, and many future generations to come.”
NAFB/National 4H Council