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AUBURN, AL - Alabama 4-H has been transforming young people's lives for more than a century. Thanks to a generous investment by the Alabama 4-H Club Foundation, Alabama 4-H will reach more youth with improved programming through its Centennial Youth Initiative.

The Alabama 4-H Club Foundation will give $400,000 annually to support CYI and the expansion of 4-H within the state. Established in 1956, the foundation supports statewide 4-H youth education programs delivered by the Alabama Cooperative Extension System and generates private funds to meet youth educational needs.

"Alabama 4-H reached more than 100,000 young people this year," said Gary Lemme, director of the Alabama Cooperative Extension System, which is headquartered at Auburn University. "This gift will enable Alabama 4-H and CYI to have a significant impact on the lives of our young people."

The Centennial Youth Initiative's primary objectives are:

  • Increased Access – Participation will rise to reach 1 in 4 age-eligible young people in Alabama.
  • Enhanced Learning – Youth participating in goal setting and achievement-based programs will double.

The initiative will emphasize character values, goal setting and personal exploration. Young people and adults will provide input to Extension professionals in each county, ensuring that young people have access to programs tailored to fit them where they live. It also expands 4-H's commitment to strong programming in science, technology, engineering and math.

Auburn University Trustee Charles McCrary added, "We're grateful to the 4-H Club Foundation for its commitment to positive change and hands-on learning for Alabama young people."

"The public-private partnership among Alabama Extension, the 4-H Club Foundation and Auburn is producing generations of leaders in communities throughout our state," fellow Auburn Trustee Jimmy Rane said.

4H Foundation Trustee Check Presentation
Left to Right: Gary Lemme, Charles McCrary, Jimmy Rane and Dan Presley, Alabama 4-H Club Foundation president

Lemme called the foundation's gift transformative for Alabama 4-H, which is the state's largest youth organization.

"I believe this is the largest 4-H Club Foundation commitment to the future of 4-H in our history other than buildings at the 4-H Center," Lemme said. "I know in my years at several land-grant universities, I have never experienced this level of partnership between a 4-H Club Foundation and a state Extension system."

Lemme expects the extra funds will allow the hiring of up to eight more agents. The long-term goal of both Alabama Extension and the Alabama 4-H Club Foundation is to have a regional Extension agent located in every Alabama county.

The Alabama Cooperative Extension System is the primary outreach organization for the land-grant functions of Auburn and Alabama A&M universities. It delivers research-based educational programs that enable people to improve their lives and economic well-being. For more information about the Alabama Cooperative Extension System and Alabama 4-H, visit



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