Estate gift helps the 4-H Children's Gardens grow

The Michigan 4-H Children’s Gardens has received several distributions from the estate of Owen G. Barr, of Grand Ledge.

Barr was born July 15, 1921, in Delaware Twp., Ohio, and passed away Sept. 3, 2014, in Lansing, Michigan. Owen was the owner of Lansing Ice and Fuel and a veteran of WWII, serving in the U.S. Army. He took great pride in caring for his house and yard along with giving back to his community.

Estate gifts can make a difference by meeting critical needs for 4-H, and in this case, the Michigan 4-H Children’s Gardens.

“The gardens exist on private funding. When estate gifts are received, they are turned right back around to developing the program and supporting the staff that works at the gardens,” said Norm Lownds, Michigan 4-H Children’s Garden curator. “The 4-H Children’s Gardens depend on donations for it to even exist.”

Thanks to Barr’s generosity, several upgrades to the Michigan 4-H Children’s Gardens have been made possible in preparation for the Michigan 4-H Children’s Gardens’ 25th anniversary next year. The renovations being made will help enhance and expand the efforts to connect kids to plants and the environment.

“Estate gifts allow us to enhance and expand both the physical 4-H Children’s Gardens and the programs that we offer. These gifts allow us to continually meet the changing needs of teachers, students and parents in ways that enable kids to experience plants in new and exciting ways,” Lownds said.

Estate gifts are considered a type of planned gift. Planned gift donors who provide documentation of their legacy commitments for 4-H in advance are recognized as members of the A.G. Kettunen Society. Established in 2007, this society allows donors to share their wishes and the impact they would like to see their gift make to benefit Michigan’s youth. A.G. Kettunen Society members receive a recognition certificate, permanent acknowledgement as legacy donors in the foundation’s annual report, and, for gifts that exceed $25,000 at maturity, recognition as Cornerstone Society members.

“An estate gift to the 4-H Children’s Gardens is an excellent way to leave a legacy that will impact the community and next generations. Support will ensure that our world-class children’s garden and its world-class educational opportunities are available to children and families for years to come. Support provides opportunities for children to experience plants in ways that will impact them for the rest of their lives. Estate gifts help to ensure that the amazing space that is the 4-H Children’s Gardens will be here for kids to experience for the next 25 years and beyond,” Lownds said.

If you are considering any type of planned gift, please contact Amanda Masters, assistant development director for 4-H, at (517) 884-4691 or by e-mail at to verify that your gift intent can be met.

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