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4-H receives $1 million grant from CHS Foundation to empower youth


Making the headlines once again, the National 4-H Council received a $1 million grant from the CHS Foundation this week. In February, it was announced that author and philanthropist MacKenzie Scott also donated $50 million the National 4-H Council. 

The National 4-H Council announced a partnership with the CHS Foundation through the 4-H True Leaders in Equity and What I Wish People Knew (WIWPK) programs. The $1 million grant from the CHS Foundation will support the 4-H True Leaders in Equity Institute (TLEI), which will train up to 100 youth and adults to serve as equity leaders in their communities and launch the WIWPK program to support 4-H youth in sharing their stories and passion for diversity, equity and inclusion.

4-H TLEI is an annual, in-depth summit that equips 4-H youth to create change in their communities. This year the Institute takes place July 11-15 in Bethesda, Maryland. Participants will emerge ready to champion equity-related projects in their local communities and foster more welcoming and inclusive environments.

“At 4-H we believe access, equity, diversity and inclusion are essential to who we are. We welcome young people of all beliefs and backgrounds and give them a voice to express how they make their lives and communities better,” said Dorothy Freeman, director, diversity, equity and inclusion, National 4-H Council. “The 4-H True Leaders in Equity Institute gives youth the tools, practices and mentorship needed to make their vision a reality.

Image courtesy of National 4-H Council

Support from the CHS Foundation will provide funding for the 4-H TLEI and for the students participating. The event includes keynote speakers and workshops that equip and empower youth to address diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging issues. This training and leadership opportunity paves the way for participants to work together to conceive, plan and implement a project that tackles an equity-related challenge in their local community. Working with local community partners and the Cooperative Extension System, TLEI participants use their voices to create system change, preparing them to be equity leaders no matter where they are.

“Inclusion is a core value at CHS. We want to remove barriers and create an environment in agriculture where everyone feels welcomed, respected and empowered to succeed,” said Erin Olson, CHS senior director, talent management.  “4-H has a unique ability to reach and empower youth from rural, suburban, and urban areas. We look forward to hearing their stories and seeing the impact they can make through the True Leaders in Equity program, which is an important part of our goal of balancing immediate actions with ongoing education and long-term change.”

Support from the CHS Foundation will also be used to help empower teens to share their personal, lived experiences through the What I Wish People Knew program. Using digital formats, teens will have a safe space to have real conversations and connect with others who may have similar experiences and want to use their voice to affect change.

To learn more about the 2022 True Leaders in Equity Institute, visit the TLEI website. Applications are now being accepted.

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