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Campbells establish first Term of Years Fund for WVU 4-H

on Wed, 06/18/2008 - 08:00

A program whose goal is to improve the health of West Virginia youth will benefit from a $125,000 donation from a Washington, D.C. couple. Kenton and Susie Campbell have established the West Virginia University Foundation's first Term of Years Fund supporting WVU Extension's 4-H Health Initiative in tribute to Kenton's parents.

When Kenton Campbell, a construction and real estate entrepreneur, talked to the WVU Foundation about giving to the University, he had no idea the gift would hit so close to home.

"There was a need for funding for the 4-H Health Initiative. The ideals of my parents, Lew and Marie, perfectly aligned with the ideals and goals of 4-H and we saw a need we could help serve," Campbell said.

William Lewis Campbell, a native of Monroe County, had a life long involvement with the artificial insemination of dairy cattle--especially herds in West Virginia and Maryland. Marie was active in home economics. The two met while studying at WVU and later married. William died in 1983, his wife in 2006.

The William Lewis and Marie L. Campbell 4-H Fund will enable the 4-H Health Initiative to better achieve its goal of increasing knowledge about health and motivating 4-H'ers and families to try new health habits and improve others.

"We are so pleased that the Campbells have chosen this program to be a part of the first Term of Years Fund," said Elaine Bowen, 4-H Health Initiative director. "The support will help to transform the lives of thousands of West Virginia youth and their families, as well as nurture youth leaders for the future."

The Term of Years Fund is a new gift option that pays out the original gift to a project selected by the donor over a specific time period while being invested by the WVU Foundation. Any investment earnings are then distributed to the fund, providing additional income to support the project.

"The Term of Years Fund is a way donors can provide significant annual support for a set number of years, while allowing the gift to be invested and increase in value over the life of the payouts," said Chuck Kerzak, Foundation senior director of major gifts. "In the case of the Campbell's gift, it is anticipated that the 4-H Health Initiative will receive $12,500 for each of the next ten years, with the possibility of additional funding for an eleventh or more years."

The 4-H Health Initiative focuses on improving daily nutrition, exercise and safety habits in response to young people's increasing health problems, including obesity and diabetes, Bowen said.

Throughout the 4-H club year, youths trained as health officers highlight the "Health H" through interactive games, challenges, and discovery activities with 4-H club participants. Additionally, 4-H participants use their 4-H Health Planners to track daily personal health behaviors related to a monthly challenge. Families receive handouts that reinforce the yearly health theme.

Bowen said the fund will support printing of informational handouts, planners and other materials for 18,000-20,000 youth and families each year.