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John P. Ellbogen Foundation Fund Fuels UW Extension Special Projects

November 11, 2014
man in field making notes on clipboard and looking at plants
William Stump conducts research at the UW SAREC research and extension center near Lingle. This photo appeared in a UWyo magazine feature on services offered through UW Extension offices throughout Wyoming. (UW Photo)

Representatives of the John P. Ellbogen Foundation hope an endowment for use by University of Wyoming Extension educators will energize and extend the foundation and UW’s vision across the state.

Mary (Ellbogen) Garland, president and chair of the foundation, says the endowment is expected to generate $35,000 a year. The fund will total $700,000 when matched by the state, says Glen Whipple, UW Extension director. A committee will determine project recipients through a competitive process.

The endowment supports “The John P. Ellbogen Foundation Wyoming Communities, Agriculture, and Rural Living Project Fund.” The foundation seeks to promote change to benefit the people of Wyoming in support of science, education and charity.

Extension has offices in every county and the Wind River Indian Reservation.

“We’re excited to see how the people of Wyoming can be served and how the quality of life will just be a little bit better,” Garland says. “It will be fun as this moves forward to see how the work done in the extension offices in each community in each county will extend the vision of the foundation as well as that of the university.”

John Ellbogen was born and raised in Worland and was the first in his family to receive a college degree. He received a degree in history and later a juris doctorate from UW. His philanthropy focus was education.

The foundation seeks to make a statewide impact, says Garland, who had discussed with Frank Galey, dean of the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources, ways to assist Wyoming citizens.

A story about UW Extension in the university publication UWyo magazine sparked the idea.

The article described the diverse ways extension offices in each county support communities through 4-H and youth development, nutrition and food safety, profitable and sustainable agriculture, sustainable management of rangeland resources and community development education.

“The light came on for me,” Garland says. “It is such a great opportunity with the infrastructure already built statewide, and so it is a perfect opportunity for us to enhance the resources available to communities in areas already identified as needs and for communities to prioritize their needs at the local level.”

This may be the first such funding of its kind for UW Extension.

“It’s not often you get a gift like this providing substantial funding for new and innovative projects in extension and be told to just go and do the things you normally do,” Whipple says.


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