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The Masonic Charity Foundation of Oklahoma recently announced an $800,000 gift to the Oklahoma 4-H Foundation. The donation will be used to support STEM education in Oklahoma, as well State 4-H Roundup. Pictured left to right: Milford Jenkins, executive director, Oklahoma 4-H Foundation; Molly Bellew, 4-H Ambassador; Emma Taylor, 4-H Ambassador; Elizabeth Chambers, president, State Leadership Council; Steve Beck, State 4-H program leader; Robert Davis, Grand Master, Grand Lodge of Oklahoma; Thomas G. Coon, vice president and dean, OSU Agriculture; Jered Davidson, president, Oklahoma 4-H Foundation; and John Logan, executive director, Masonic Charity Foundation. (Photo by Todd Johnson, OSU Agricultural Communications Services)

Masonic Charity Foundation of Oklahoma gifts $800,000 to Oklahoma 4-H Foundation

Sunday, November 14, 2021

Media Contact: Trisha Gedon@okstate.edu | Communications Specialist | 405-744-3625 | trisha.gedon@okstate.edu

The Masonic Charity Foundation of Oklahoma (MCFOK) has gifted the Oklahoma 4-H Foundation $800,000 to bolster support for Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) project work within the Oklahoma 4-H Youth Development Program, as well as funding to enhance the annual State 4-H Roundup.

The generous donation follows gifts of $100,000 in 2020 and $100,000 earlier this year that established the Masonic Charity Foundation of Oklahoma Endowment Fund within the 4-H Foundation. Earlier in 2021 the Charity Foundation also donated $25,000 to enhance the 4-H Innovate Leadership Summit, which introduces 4-H members to STEM-related fields, including computer science, robotics and hydroponics. Their total contribution to the endowment fund is $1 million.

The Masonic Charity Foundation of Oklahoma has a long history of supporting public education and wants to do things that benefit education and the young people in the state, said John Logan, their executive director.

“4-H is one of the organizations that has a presence in every county, and we’re always looking for ways to support such a presence,” Logan said. “State 4-H Roundup provides benefits to every club member who attends by providing opportunities to participate in workshops and meet peers from other clubs across the state. Having a secure funding base allows 4-H leadership to plan a good program and bring in quality speakers to share with members. It’s dollars well spent.”

As for supporting STEM opportunities, he said the funds will help provide STEM access to students across the state, many of whom may not have opportunities in their communities.

“We hope to show these young people the many STEM opportunities available and stimulate their young minds to learn new things,” Logan said.

Milford Jenkins, executive director of the Oklahoma 4-H Foundation, said the scope of Oklahoma 4-H Youth Development’s STEM outreach will grow as a result of MCFOK’s transformational gift.

“Masonic Charity Foundation of Oklahoma’s significant investment in our 4-H youth through this permanent endowment will make an indelible difference and immeasurable impact on STEM and 4-H Roundup,” Jenkins said.

More than 45,800 youth participated in STEM activities in 2020. Providing even more STEM opportunities for urban, nontraditional and underserved audiences will now be possible, and a broader delivery of educational programming will be achieved by adding more STEMists to the 4-H staff. STEMists are former 4-H’ers who are now college students who teach workshops and summer camps to Oklahoma youth. Funds also will allow acquiring innovative and cutting-edge STEM supplies needed for instructional purposes.

Youth attending State 4-H Roundup, the largest statewide 4-H event that takes place on the OSU campus each July, will benefit from expanded enrichment and increased levels of resources generated from this endowment, said Steve Beck, state 4-H program leader.

“Other high-profile components of State 4-H Roundup, as well as new features, will be enhanced with the help of this endowment,” Beck said. “Masonic Charity Foundation of Oklahoma will be recognized as a major sponsor of these activities during Roundup.”

Members of the State 4-H Leadership Council are excited to be a part of the historic contribution to the youth development program. 

“4-H teaches youth to reach beyond themselves and become productive members of society, not only for our future, but for right now,” said Elizabeth Chambers, State 4-H Leadership Council president. “By supporting Oklahoma 4-H, donors like the Masonic Charity Foundation of Oklahoma are helping the best and brightest in Oklahoma dream more, do more and achieve more.”

The generous gift further equips the Oklahoma 4-H Foundation with educational resources for club members, said Jered Davidson, president of the board of directors for the Oklahoma 4-H Foundation.

“This gift signifies a milestone partnership and commitment of the Masonic Fraternities and Oklahoma 4-H to bring 21st century opportunities to the next generation of leaders across the state,” Davidson said.

Jenkins said Oklahoma 4-H Youth Development and the Oklahoma 4-H Foundation are dedicated to help achieve the Masonic Charity Foundation of Oklahoma’s goals to advance the noble cause of 4-H youth development.

“All of us in the Oklahoma 4-H family will forever be grateful to the Masonic Charity Foundation of Oklahoma for their charitable support,” he 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, contact Jenkins at 405-744-5390 or milford.jenkins@okstate.edu.

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