Through fundraising efforts, the Friends of Lorain County Junior Fair were able to contribute $28,268.64.
A grant in the amount of $17,400 was received from the Lorain County Solid Waste District. The grant is a result of county residents’ recycling efforts.
Additionally, on Dec. 16, Judge James Walther ordered the appropriation of $58,131.46 from the sale of the Green Acres Children’s Home.
According to a letter from the Friends of Lorain County Junior Fair signed by President Amanda Denes; Vice President Dan Linden; Treasurer Kathy Norton-Fox; and Secretary Doreen Linden, the funding for The Ohio State University Extension Office programs, specifically the 4-H program, is complex.
“Per the Smith-Lever Act of 1914, in order to receive federal and state matching funds to operate the extension office, the county must provide the first 40 percent of the annual budget,” the letter stated.
The 4-H program in Ohio is directed through The Ohio State University but does not receive funding from Ohio State. County funds must be generated at the county level.
Traditionally, funding for the county extension office has come through the county general fund, which is controlled by the county commissioners. But in recent years, because of county budgetary constraints, commissioners have eliminated funding for the county extension office.
“Because this funding was cut, an alternate source of income had to be found,” Denes said.
The $103,800 comprised of the two grants, and the money appropriated from the sale of Green Acres, reached the required 40 percent threshold needed to keep the county extension office going, allowing 4-H to continue.
“What seemed like the impossible has been conquered, again,” Denes said. “All of the pieces came together and the goal to secure funding for the 4-H program in Lorain County for 2014 has been achieved.”
Denes stressed that if those funds are not raised on a yearly basis, there will be no matching funds provided, forcing the extension office to close and shutting down all 4-H programs in Lorain County.
“Our goal is to prevent this from happening,” Denes said.