Philanthropy and 4-H

Explore how philanthropy and 4-H relate to one another.

According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, philanthropy means goodwill to fellow members of the human race; additionally, active effort to promote human welfare.  Other definitions include a love of humanity or desire to benefit humanity.

When we think about 4-H programs, it strikes me that 4-H members and leaders are very philanthropic in their work, but often without labeling it that way!   Part of the 4-H pledge is “hands to larger service.”  4-H members use their hands to help other people and communities. Clubs and members around the state do community service projects that help others and make an impact in their community.

Michigan 4-H Youth Programs uses the Michigan 4-H Guiding Principals to help volunteers do their work.  Guiding Principle 7 relates to philanthropy, “youth grow and contribute as active citizens through service and leadership.”

Some examples of 4-H philanthropic work might include the youth that donates the meat from their livestock project to the local food bank.  It could also be the 4-H club that cleans up trash along the highway each summer.  An example could also be collecting food items for a soup kitchen or baby items for a local baby pantry.  Whatever the project, many youth involved in 4-H are being philanthropic. 

If 4-H leaders are looking for activities or lessons to help teach youth about philanthropy, Michigan State University Extension has come up with great resource:

Learning to Give provides philanthropy education resources that teach giving and civic engagement.   This website provides parents, teachers and other youth workers lots of hands on activities to teach youth about philanthropy and giving back.

Michigan Community Foundation Youth Project is a great place for teens to get involved in philanthropic work by granting funds to nonprofit organizations in their communities. Members involved in the local Youth Action Council (YAC) program do community service projects as well.

To learn more about Michigan 4-H Programs and how to get involved in your county program, contact the local MSU Extension office.

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