COLUMBIA, Mo.– The Missouri 4-H Foundation board of trustees has announced a $250,000 matching gift challenge to support 4-H Youth Futures: College Within Reach, a successful long-term mentoring program that prepares underserved youths to succeed in college.

The goal is to secure permanent support for the Youth Futures program by establishing a $2 million endowment, which will provide the $100,000 in annual program funding needed to sustain the program. To help meet this goal, the Missouri 4-H Foundation will match funds raised to support Youth Futures dollar-for-dollar up to $250,000.

“Sustaining 4-H programming is becoming increasingly challenging, and Youth Futures is a high priority for the Missouri 4-H Foundation,” said Bill Crouch, Missouri 4-H Foundation trustee. “We hope the foundation’s commitment to Youth Futures will encourage others to partner with us to secure this important program.”

4-H Youth Futures: College Within Reach was established in 2002 by the University of Missouri Extension 4-H Center for Youth Development and Lincoln University Cooperative Extension. It was designed to help first-generation college students and minorities—who have historically lagged others in college enrollment and degree attainment—to go to college and stay in college by guiding them through an extensive program that includes ongoing local mentoring and an on-campus college orientation conference.

“We recognize the significant impact of Youth Futures in helping underserved and minority youths overcome obstacles on the path to obtaining a college degree,” said Cheryl Reams, Missouri 4-H Foundation executive director. “This challenge gift reflects the Missouri 4-H Foundation’s dedication to ensuring Youth Futures continues to benefit all of the young people who need it.”

Celebrating 64 years of service to 4-H youth, the Missouri 4-H Foundation secures and manages funds for the MU Extension 4-H Youth Development Program, provides higher education scholarships, and recognizes 4-H volunteers. MU Extension 4-H is a community of 276,921 youths from across Missouri learning leadership, citizenship and life skills. For more information, go to

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