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The Greene County Extension office saw the funding it receives from Greene County drop from $120,000 three years ago to $27,000. It’s now entering its second year of receiving only $10,000 from the county. That amount—the maximum set it in a 1961 law funding county extension offices—is used for office expenses, including telephone and copies—things that allow University Extension specialists to do their job.
And David Burton, program director for Greene County Extension, says that’s not enough to cover what it costs to run the office. Currently, the office is making up the shortfall by dipping into a reserve fund that had been set aside for emergency expenses and future program costs. But he says that money is expected to run out by the end of this year…
"It's dwindling quickly. We had projected here during the fall during the budget hearings that we would be able to make it through all or most of 2013, and that was assuming some minimal fundraising," he said.
Burton says efforts to raise money for the Greene County Extension office, including membership in Friends of Greene County Extension, are going well. But they’ve had some unexpected expenses come up including copier problems…
"It'll be close on making it through 2013 and then council (Greene County Extension Council) will be faced with making some tough choices about what they continue into next year or how they continue that, and this year it'll be a guage on, you know, the success of their fundraising efforts," he said.
That’s why Burton is pleased to see Master Gardeners in Greene County, a volunteer arm of the University of Missouri Extension, offer to lead a fundraising effort for the organization.
Starting Monday (2/18), the Save Our Extension and Save a Life campaign will begin. Members of Master Gardeners of Greene County are urging people to give plasma at Biolife and give the money they earn—up to $120 for three donations—to University Extension.
Terry Newport is one of those Master Gardeners…
"We are trying to get money to keep the Extension service functioning. It's served the Greene County residents for almost 100 years, and we really don't want to see its demise," she said.
Newport says giving plasma is fairly simple and quick. The first visit takes about an hour and a half but, after that, donations should take only about 45 minutes. Donors must provide identification, proof of address, weigh at least 110 pounds and be in good health. They must be between the ages of 18 and 69.
After giving plasma, donors are given a debit card that they can then give to University Extension.
For more information about the fundraising effort to help the Greene County Extension office, 882-2801 or extension.missouri.edu/greene.
For KSMU News, I’m Michele Skalicky.