Pratt philanthropists donate $625K to Kansas 4-H Foundation in support of youth leadership programs

Jennifer Stultz
Pratt Tribune
Kansas 4-H donors Bill and Cindy Keller, from Pratt, have committed $625,000 to advance positive youth development in Kansas.

4-H is the state of Kansas' largest positive youth development program with over a century of presence in Kansas. Kansas 4-H donors Bill and Cindy Keller, from Pratt, have committed $625,000 to advance positive youth development in Kansas. Their gift will be utilized in two ways: $500,000 for capital improvements at Rock Springs Ranch and $125,000 in annual support for the essential needs of Kansas youth. 

“I believe that 4-H provides the best youth leadership program in the United States,” Keller said. “4-H is a tradition in my family. My parents were both involved in 4-H. They talked to their five children about how much influence it had in their lives and how important it was to get involved in a variety of projects.” 

Kansas 4-H shapes youth to be dynamic leaders and community members through experiential learning opportunities. These opportunities range from project participation to leadership training to 4-H camp at Rock Springs Ranch. 

This year Rock Springs Ranch is celebrating its 75th camping season, serving more than 1 million Kansas youth since it began in 1946. Four years ago, in preparation for celebrating 75 years of camp, the Kansas 4-H Foundation Board initiated a master planning exercise to conceptualize the vision for the future of Rock Springs Ranch and 4-H camp. Currently, the board is focused on activating the results of the master plan focused on camper care and safety and enhanced programming.

“We have over 100 years of 4-H and 75 years of camp on which to build,” Jake Worcester, President/CEO Kansas 4-H Foundation said. “In order to honor the history of Kansas 4-H, we are evolving camp to have even greater impact for the next 75 years. The generosity of the Kellers will be transformational for the future of Kansas 4-H and Rock Springs Ranch.” 

Capstone 4-H experiences such as the county fair and 4-H camp, youth engage in rich educational opportunities where they learn mastery, independence, belonging and generosity. Many of these experiences happen at Rock Springs Ranch, the state’s 4-H center for immersive 4-H experiences. 

“Education and youth development are critically important for the future of our country and the world,” Keller said. “These entities are high priority for our philanthropic giving.”

The Kansas 4-H Foundation works with businesses, organizations, individuals and families who share a common desire to support a statewide effort of growing our future leaders. The Foundation is the 501(c)(3) fundraising arm for Kansas 4-H and Rock Springs Ranch.