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Division of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources

Manske joins 4-H Foundation team

STILLWATER, Okla. – His title may have changed but he still bleeds green. Tom Manske, former Extension educator, 4-H Youth Development in Canadian County, has taken on a new professional challenge as the director of development for the Oklahoma 4-H Foundation.

With more than 20 years of Extension experience under his belt, Manske has hit the ground running in his new position and already has several goals in mind.

“I want to help our wonderful volunteers and educators establish new funding sources and increase financial support for programs on all levels from county to state,” Manske said. “My 20 years of service in Canadian County helped me realize it takes support on many levels to have a successful program. It takes a joint effort to provide members with positive opportunities to develop life skills and belief in community. In my tenure as a county educator, I learned how to work with program supports from donors and volunteers to board members and other community groups. I like to say I ‘ride for the brand.’ That describes my passion to 4-H.”

Jim Rutledge, executive director of the Oklahoma 4-H Foundation, is excited to have Manske on board.

“For many years we had one position to try to do everything from raising money to managing money and ensuring donor wishes were followed,” Rutledge said. “This usually meant office work got done and the donor development took a back seat. Tom’s position was created to ensure sufficient time would be spent on donor development and actual fundraising for the foundation.”

Rutledge said he will continue working with the 4-H Board of Directors and making sure the office operations are being handled, while Manske will focus on donor development, including donor prospecting, cultivation and stewardship.

“Tom’s job is to help bring the money into the Foundation and mine is to make sure we manage is properly once it gets here,” Rutledge said. “Now we should be able to come closer to reaching our capacity as a 4-H Foundation. That would allow us to provide more and better support to the outstanding 4-H work being done in Oklahoma.”

Manske said scholarships play an important role in the Oklahoma 4-H Program.

“Scholarships established by the Foundation give members the opportunity to be recognized for their hard work and dedication. Furthermore, it allows them to continue to pursue their goals and dreams in a field or career that has been influenced by the time they spent in the program,” he said.

In addition to scholarship funding, the Oklahoma 4-H Foundation also focuses on and strives to develop support for specific programming and/or county programs. These efforts include, but are not limited to, 4-H enhancement grants for county programming, ATV Safety Program, State 4-H Council and officer endowments, support for State 4-H Ambassadors and support for national qualifying teams such as livestock judging, horse judging, Food Showdown or shooting sports.

Manske pointed out there are a number of levels in which individuals and businesses can become involved in 4-H. Simply give him a call at 405-744-5390 or email at tomas.manske@okstate.edu.

“I would love to set up an appointment with those individuals and groups who are looking to make a difference for today’s youth,” he said. “Together we can continue to make the best better.”

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Oklahoma State University, U.S. Department of Agriculture, State and Local Governments Cooperating: The Oklahoma Cooperative Extension Service offers its programs to all eligible persons regardless of race, color, national origin, religion, gender, age, disability, or status as a veteran, and is an equal opportunity employer.
Trisha Gedon
Communications Specialist
Agricultural Communications Services
Oklahoma State University
136 Agriculture North
Stillwater, OK  74078
405-744-3625 (phone)
405-744-5739 (fax)
trisha.gedon@okstate.edu

Oklahoma State University - Stillwater, OK 74078
405.744.5000