The largest individual gift ever given to the Alabama 4-H Club Foundation, Inc. will provide for the creation of new programs, expand current 4-H educational programs and create an endowment for 4-H educational programs across Alabama.
Proceeds from the $500,000 Barbara Drummond Thorne 4-H Youth Development Endowment will support scholarships for underserved youth to attend summer camp at the Alabama 4-H Center. It will also provide program support for 4-H youth in Walker County, Thorne's home; provide financial support for the state shooting sports program and provide annual funds for 4-H priority program creation and launch.
An additional $110,000 endowment will provide financial support for full program development of the 4-H Innovators Workforce Development Five-Year Priority Program (www.fyflnetwork.org/4hInnovators).
Nancy Alexander, Alabama Extension specialist, volunteerism and program coordinator for 4-H and Youth Development, worked with the family to secure the funding for 4-H. The funding was administrated by the Walter Area Community Foundation's Barbara Drummond Thorne Fund.
Thorne's generosity is being remembered as a fitting tribute to a woman who possessed a quiet spirit and unparalleled commitment to philanthropy across Alabama, especially to Alabama 4-H.
"Barbara's gift to 4-H is a living legacy to her love of 4-H and support of youth development throughout her life," said Dan Presley, chairman of the Alabama 4-H Club Foundation board of directors, the fundraising arm of Alabama 4-H. "As a longtime Foundation board member, Barbara was a tireless, dedicated champion of youth. She wanted youth to succeed and excel, and thousands of Alabama 4-H alumni are a testament to her. We are grateful to Barbara and the Thorne children for their generosity to 4-H."
"Barbara exemplified many of the qualities we aspire to teach 4-H youth," said Lamar Nichols, assistant director for Alabama 4-H and Youth Development with the Alabama Cooperative Extension System. "Her commitment to and support of 4-H will serve as an example to the more than 107,000 current Alabama 4-H youth. Her generosity will ensure 4-H will continue being at the forefront in teaching youth critical science and technology programs for them to be successful in the workplace."
Thorne and her children discussed the creation of an endowment for Alabama 4-H prior to her death in 2009. Thorne's children, Beth Thorne Stukes of Jasper, Dr. Larry Thorne of Auburn, Becky Thorne Carroll of Auburn and Babs Thorne Anderson of Tuscaloosa, were involved in selecting program areas to support.
"This was something Mother was very much a part of because she loved 4-H so very much," said Becky Thorne Carroll. Carroll remembers the dedication her mother had for 4-H and her work for the 4-H Foundation board.
"4-H was one of the first organizations I remember Mother being actively involved in outside of church. She loved 4-H, the people involved and everyone's commitment to youth development." "And she especially loved helping children," Carroll added.
Thorne, a Walker County native and a graduate of Auburn University, was devoted to helping young people excel. A member of the Samford University board of trustees, she was also owner and member of the board of directors of Drummond Company, Inc. Thorne was also a dedicated member of Jasper's First Baptist Church.
Alabama 4-H is the state's largest youth education organization, reaching more than 107,000 youth between the ages of 9–18. There are 1,400 clubs throughout Alabama's 67 counties. 4-H teaches leadership, citizenship and positive character development and provides programs, competitions, events and activities for youth in rural and urban settings through in-school programs, community clubs and special interest groups. To find out more about Alabama 4-H, go to www.Alabama4H.com.
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