Tennessee 4-H is only able to thrive because of the very generous volunteers and donors who work tirelessly to support the program; among those donors is Mary Mantooth.

Mantooth, who grew up in Polk County, joined 4-H on her 10th birthday and has been involved ever since. Mantooth was an active participant in many projects, including public speaking, the annual Dress Review and showing livestock. Her involvement with 4-H set her up for success later down the road and taught her countless valuable lessons, which inspired her to establish the McCory-Mantooth Endowment.

“Looking back, I think that the biggest lesson I learned from 4-H was to never quit,” says Mantooth. “I established the endowment because I realize the importance of education and I would like to think that in my own small way that I can help someone’s future become brighter.”

Additionally, Mantooth participated in various demonstrations in everything from the Electric Project to food. She faithfully entered a cherry pie-baking contest each year and her family served as her taste testing committee. This demonstration of support, even at a small level, is indicative of the entire family’s commitment to the Tennessee 4-H Program. For Mantooth and her family, loyalty to the Tennessee 4-H is a lifetime commitment and promise. After graduating as a 4-H’er Mantooth has remained very involved in programming around the state, even setting up two scholarships.

The McCory-Mantooth Endowment was set up to furnish two scholarships, one for gardening and another for forestry and was inspired by her own family’s interests, primarily her father.

“My family always had a big garden and everyone worked to make it successful and my dad was an avid hunter and fisherman,” explains Mantooth. “It was a perfect fit.”

For Mantooth, education is very important and she believes that what you put in to 4-H you will receive.

“Everyone has time, talents and treasures and it is important to share what you have,” says Mantooth. “There is a place in 4-H for each child and there is a place for each adult willing to share what they have or know. The more you give, the more you will receive.”

To learn more about the various 4-H scholarships, including the McCrory-Mantooth Endowment, please click here.