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Source: National 4-H Council news release

National 4-H Council has received another generous gift from the Monsanto Company of $500,000 to drive the continued expansion of the National 4-H Volunteer Initiative. The new grant will fund several initiatives including continued outreach to attract and retain 4-H volunteers in nearly 40 states along with new pilot programs in two states - Illinois and Iowa.

The National 4-H Volunteer Initiative provides 4-H's network of more than 540,000 existing volunteers with an extensive hands-on training experience - enhancing their abilities to effectively mentor youth with positive youth development opportunities to learn leadership, citizenship and other important life skills. Core training delivery modes consist of forum events that allow 4-H volunteers to learn program information and share best practices.

"With the generous support of Monsanto, 4-H can continue to recruit and build an extensive network of well-trained volunteers, who can inspire youth for a lifetime," said Donald T. Floyd, Jr., National 4-H Council president and CEO. "Volunteers have always been the key to helping support high-quality, positive youth development to our nation's youth."

Monsanto is a national champion of local 4-H volunteer recruitment programming and is the only national corporate partner investing in 4-H volunteerism. Since 2007, nearly 65,000 volunteers and thousands of local 4-H families have been reached through Monsanto-sponsored 4-H volunteer training forums and online recruitment and retention tools.

In 2012, with Monsanto's support, the National 4-H Council Volunteer Engagement and Activation Resource (VEAR) toolkit was created. The VEAR toolkit provides valuable resources for 4-H educators and extension agents to recruit and effectively train leaders to be positive mentors to 4-H youth.

"Monsanto is proud to be a long-time supporter of National 4-H Council, and we are pleased to honor the dedicated volunteers who serve as caring mentors, engaging and inspiring youth across America to be successful leaders," said Elizabeth Vancil, customer advocacy outreach manager, Monsanto Company, St. Louis, MO.

In 2013, in addition to outreach in 39 states, new programs will be tested in Illinois and Iowa for potential national replication in the future. Monsanto also has sponsored the online volunteer management training Everyone ReadyŽ for the past three years, and has supported the 4-H Volunteer Management Awards which are presented at the annual National Association of Extension 4-H Agents (NAE4-HA) Conference.

In addition, the Monsanto Fund's "America's Farmers Grow Communities" program has provided more than $1.5 million to local 4-H clubs across the United States since the program began in 2009. This program provides farmers the opportunity to win $2,500 and designate that to their favorite community nonprofit organization, such as 4-H, local schools, fire departments and other civic groups.

One winning farmer is selected in each of 1,271 eligible counties in 39 states. In 2012, counties that were designated as drought disaster areas by the USDA were eligible to receive two $2,500 grants.

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