eXtension’s mission changed back in 2015 from being an organization focused on creating technology solutions for Cooperative Extension to a focus on helping Cooperative Extension faculty and staff find new, innovative ways to deliver their projects and programs, and helping Cooperative Extension make a greater impact in the communities it serves. Realizing that continuing the eXtension name is a source of confusion for many as it is reminiscent of the organization’s past, we are excited to announce that eXtension is now the Extension Foundation. Here are a few things the Extension Foundation has done over the past few years to get to this point:
- It has developed the Impact Collaborative program for members to focus on increasing innovation across Cooperative Extension which has reached 6500 Cooperative Extension professionals last year alone, hundreds of project and program teams, and resulted in nearly $6 million dollars in funding for Cooperative Extension projects and programs in 2020.
- In partnership with the EPA and the National Pesticide Safety Education Center, the Foundation has been serving over 50 state-level Extension Pesticide Safety Education Programs through its Pesticide Safety Education Funds Management Program now in year four.
- Its New Technologies for Ag Extension (NTAE) program, in partnership with Oklahoma State University and funded by USDA-NIFA, serves all Land Grant Universities regardless of membership by working directly with Cooperative Extension programs to accelerate their development and implementation for local impact. Competitively-selected programs working through NTAE have access to Extension Foundation services including publication creation, partnership development, digital engagement, market research and the creation of strategic communication plans, professional development, evaluation, and more.
- With funding from NTAE, Extension Foundation has upgraded its popular Ask An Expert to Ask Extension and enabled several new features that came through feedback provided by your faculty and staff over the years. Additionally, NTAE supports the funding for Connect Extension – first launched in 2020, partly in response to COVID-19.
- In partnership with ECOP, and in service to its national priority leaders, the Foundation is providing a variety of development support for Climate, urban Agriculture, Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, Rural Broadband, the Farm Bill, and more.
- In partnership with Fort Valley State University, the Foundation continues to be a partner in the 1890 Extension Leadership Academy, now in its third year.
Over the coming weeks, we will be making some changes in our digital presence to better reflect the mission and vision of the Extension Foundation and its role in Cooperative Extension. The Extension Foundation would like to thank you for the opportunity to be your partner, and for the contributions Cooperative Extension professionals nationally have made to help get the Foundation to this point. Because of your efforts over the years and the feedback you’ve provided, the Extension Foundation is better equipped to serve Cooperative Extension, adapt to the changing needs, and be a stronger partner for local impact.