A Word from Our President

Thanks for your interest in the Tennessee 4-H Foundation!

Since 1953, we have been a non-profit partner to the University of Tennessee Institute of Agriculture, with one purpose—to provide financial support to Tennessee 4-H programs.

Tennessee has a proud history and strong tradition in 4-H. With over 180,000 young people enrolled, Tennessee has the highest 4-H enrollment of any state in the nation—and it’s the largest youth development organization in Tennessee. 4-H makes a profoundly positive impact. Young people who participate in 4-H are more likely to go to college, less likely to be involved with drugs and alcohol, and are more likely to volunteer within their local community.

The Tennessee 4-H Foundation has assets of over $15.2 million–and each year, its endowments provide over $1.7 million toward awards, scholarships, and youth travel to national and statewide competitions, conferences, etc. Generous donors over the years have made the Foundation possible–and without them, we could not exist.

Please join us in assisting Extension 4-H personnel, administrators, and volunteer leaders—as they work with 4-H youth, to help them “Make The Best Better”!

Jim Byford, President

The Tennessee 4-H Foundation is an organization dedicated to creating and sustaining positive youth development opportunities for Tennessee 4-H Members.

The Tennessee 4-H Club Foundation, Inc., better known as the Tennessee 4-H Foundation was formed in 1953 to support State 4-H Congress. The mission of the foundation has grown over the years to support all aspects of Tennessee 4-H. Each year the Tennessee 4-H Foundation provides over $1,500,000 in support of 4-H programs across the state.


On April 10th, 1953, a passionate group of 4-H alumni and supporters gathered in Nashville to formally establish the Tennessee 4-H Foundation.

In the early years the Foundation and its membership worked with county leaders and Extension staff to create Citizens’ committees in order to raise funds for 4-H programs on the county level. In 1958, the Foundation extended its mission to support Tennessee State 4-H Congress. State 4-H Congress is Tennessee’s premier youth leadership and citizenship event. By 1962, the Foundation had once again grown its scope to include support to the youth governance group, State 4-H Council.

Over time the Foundation has continuously developed to include all aspects of Tennessee 4-H, and now its mission is simply “to create and sustain positive youth development opportunities for 4-H members in Tennessee.”

Today the Foundation has over ten million dollars in assets, most of which are permanently endowed to create a perpetual source of income for county, regional and state level events, scholarships and awards.

Mission Statement

The mission of the Tennessee 4-H Foundation is to create and sustain positive youth development opportunities for 4-H members in Tennessee.

Strategic Vision

  • Secure and prudently manage Foundation assets and investments to provide current and long range financial support to the 4-H program.
  • Expand the network of 4-H supporters through increased Foundation membership.
  • Develop fund raising activities to enhance county, region and State 4-H programs.
  • Communicate the Foundation Mission to members, potential members, Extension Staff, 4-H’ers, parents, volunteers, and community leaders.