New endowment provides Alachua County youth with state and national leadership opportunities

Local leaders Bill Brown and Dr. Bobby Leon Damron spent their lives and professional careers investing in youth and their local communities. A new endowment established with the University of Florida honors their legacies of service to youth. The Alachua County 4-H Legacy Endowment is a permanently invested resource generating support for 4-H, including scholarships to help youth elevate their leadership development through district, state and national opportunities.

“This investment builds on the legacies of two amazing individuals, and honors the countless others who give back selflessly to our community through 4-H. Access to these opportunities helps our young people develop their own leadership skills, build connections across the state and country, and ultimately become the next generation of leaders for Alachua County,” shared Dr. Cindy Sanders, Director for UF/IFAS Extension Alachua County.

The fund provides teens access to life-shaping opportunities such as Florida 4-H Executive Board leadership weekends, a mock legislative experience in Tallahassee, career and college exploration at 4-H University, and more. Alachua 4-H currently engages more than 2,300 youth in hands-on and experiential learning programs through community and school-based programming. There are 15 active 4-H clubs in the county, led by 94 local volunteers. School programming includes hands-on science education and life skill development.

4-H group receiving recognition items.
4-H member AseyeShika, agent Mary Lee Sale and volunteer Ethel Nukunya honor local leaders, including Bill Brown, at the UF/IFAS Extension Alachua County Office.

William Lloyd “Bill” Brown Jr. was a teacher, mentor, and respected leader within the community, serving 27 years as Alachua County Extension Director. He was a leader with a “walk the walk” attitude, and his vast knowledge of agriculture was appreciated by all his producers. Bill actively supported 4-H, and was instrumental in the creation of the Alachua County Youth Fair & Livestock Show – the annual event held earlier this month celebrated more than 40 years.

4-H group present plaque to donor.
Alachua County 4-H recognizes Mrs. Vera Damron for her commitment to 4-H and the legacy of her late husband, Dr. Bobby Leon Damron.

An accomplished Alachua County 4-H member himself, Dr. Bobby Leon Damron found his spark in 4-H. He grew his passion for poultry and his leadership skills through state 4-H, camp and competitive programs. He even met his future wife, Vera Toole Damron, through 4-H. Building on his success, he earned master’s and doctorate degrees in poultry nutrition and served 35 years as faculty in poultry science at UF.

To continue growing this investment in Alachua’s youth, Mrs. Vera Damron is matching all gifts received by August 2024 up to $5,000 total!

To help Alachua 4-H secure this match you can:

  • click here to give online
  • mail check payable UF Foundation to UF/IFAS Advancement ATTN: Alachua 4-H, PO BOX 110170,  Gainesville, FL 32611
  • contact Caylin Hilton at for additional ways to give, including through your IRA, Donor Advised Fund and appreciated stocks

4-H is the youth development program of the land-grant university and Cooperative Extension system. 4-H provides hands-on educational programs and experiences for youth ages 5-18 to develop young people as individuals and responsible citizens. 4-H empowers youth to be leaders in their communities today, and for the future. In Florida, 4-H is administered by UF/IFAS Extension and Florida A&M University.

The UF Foundation (59-0974739) is a registered 501c3 organization soliciting tax deductible contributions for the benefit of UF programs. Your gift will be restricted to the UF/IFAS Extension Alachua County 4-H program.


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Posted: March 17, 2024

Category: 4-H & Youth, Camp, Clubs & Volunteers, UF/IFAS Extension
Tags: #FL4HAlumni, 4-H, 4-H Youth Development, Giving

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