Susan Pietrantozzi wasn’t a 4-H’er growing up, but after working as a 4-H Extension Agent in Raleigh County, she built a bond with the program and the people it affects that has lasted a lifetime.

“4-H has been a very important part of my life. While I was not involved as a young person, I have watched many young people grow up with 4-H as a part of their life,” Pietrantozzi said. “Not only do the 4-H youth learn and grow but so do the leaders and professional staff. 4-H teaches everyone how important it is to have a meaningful and successful life and how to achieve that status.”

Pietrantozzi recently expanded an endowment she established several years ago to support programming at state 4-H Alpha camps to include 4-H youth scholarships so more youth can attend the camps. She also made a five-year commitment to provide additional funding to the program using state Neighborhood Investment Program tax credits.

The NIP program allows donors to receive tax credits of up to 50 percent of their total contribution. The donor can then use the credits to reduce their state taxes at the end of the year by up to 50 percent. WVU Extension Service applied for the credits and received more than $34,000 to provide to donors until June 30, 2010.

“It’s a great feeling when you realize that the certificate allows you to take the listed amount off of your total taxes,” Pietrantozzi said. “It’s West Virginia’s way of giving a donor an extra incentive to give to something they love and care about and receive a reward for doing so. The NIP program is a marvelous opportunity for donors to give, especially right now.”

Pietrantozzi, a State Farm agent in Raleigh County since 1987, said her love for 4-H and the tax credits made this the perfect time to expand her endowment.

“Working within the financial services area as a State Farm agent, I know all too well what is currently happening in the area of endowments,” she said.

Pietrantozzi started her career working with WVU Extension Service’s nutrition program in 1976. In 1978, she became a 4-H agent in Raleigh County, focusing on home economics projects, camping, and National 4-H Congress, where she chaired the Fashion Review.

Pietrantozzi said the most significant impact 4-H had on her life was having people believe in her and giving her the opportunity to learn her strengths and how to incorporate them into her personal, professional, and volunteer activities.

While working for 4-H, she had the opportunity to work with state 4-H camps. She originally started with the 4-H girls camp in 1979, but changes in federal law required the camps to become co-ed, creating the two Alpha camps.

She experienced first-hand the struggle 4-H camps had in finding program money. She had to help answer the question of how 4-H could have the greatest impact on youths’ lives and keep within budget.

Through her endowment, Pietrantozzi said she hopes she is helping to answer that question.

Pietrantozzi’s donation will be made through the WVU Foundation, a private, nonprofit corporation that generates and provides support for West Virginia University.

—WVU—

jc/11/09/09

Contact: Julie R. Cryser
(304) 293-5691, Julie.Cryser@mail.wvu.edu