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Juanita Reed-Boniface: "I give to pay-back and provide opportunities for today's 4-H members."

Juanita Reed-Boniface is not only a 4-H alum, but also a University of Minnesota Extension retiree and long-time donor to Minnesota 4-H. She grew up in Nebraska and although her family lived in two different counties during her childhood, 4-H was a constant in Juanita’s life. "4-H was really my 'thing' and there were not many other out of school activities for kids at that time. My summers were spent doing 4-H projects and attending 4-H camp, county fair, and the state fair."

She has many fond memories from her 4-H years. She was awarded trips to the Nebraska State Conservation Camp and State 4-H Club Week held at the University of Nebraska, Lincoln campus. "The biggest highlight was attending National 4-H Congress in Chicago in 1955 as the Nebraska winner in Food Preparation. Our delegation had 40 young people from all over the state. 4-H Congress was a defining moment for me—the impact of meeting and interacting with young people from across the nation, meeting executives of national companies who were major donors to the program, meeting national administrators and leaders in 4-H gave me a whole new perspective on 4-H. I realized that 4-H was indeed a BIG DEAL in this country and not just something for the 'country kids'.'

Juanita with 2016-17 MN 4-H State Ambassadors
That single experience at 4-H Congress led Juanita to change her major from music education, transfer from Wayne State College to the University of Nebraska, Lincoln and major in Home Economics Extension Education. Later, she earned a Master's in Family Social Science from the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities.

Juanita worked for the University of Minnesota Extension from 1962-1992. One of her best-known projects was starting the Minnesota 4-H State Ambassador program. Today, almost 50 years later, the program is alive and well with many successful alumni going on to be teachers, agriculturalists, and active members of their community.

The 4-H Pledge is a way of life for Juanita. "It is a guiding light to making the best better." Even 25 years past retirement, Juanita continues to be heavily engaged in the Minnesota 4-H program. She is the chairwoman of the Anoka County Extension Committee, sponsors the Animal Science Showcase at the Anoka County Fair, and works with local 4-H staff to provide agriculture activities and workshop funding in partnership with Anoka County Farm Bureau. She also served on a team of volunteers to bring the 4-H Science of Agriculture program to Anoka County. At the state level, Juanita coordinates the 4-H Speaking Up for Animal Agriculture program during the Livestock Encampment at the Minnesota State Fair.
Juanita and Anoka County 4-H Members 

In additional to their generous volunteering, Juanita and her husband Dick Boniface wanted to have a long-term financial impact on 4-H programs. They established the Richard Boniface/Juanita Reed Boniface Endowment, which gained them membership in the University of Minnesota President’s Club. "This endowment has provided support for 4-H awards in the 4-H Beef show, Speaking Up for Animal Agriculture, Arts-In, 4-H Ambassadors, 4-H Lamb Lead and Wool shows."  Juanita and Dick are clear about why they make gifts of significance to 4-H.

Juanita with State Ambassador alumni

Although not a 4-H member, Dick learned the value of 4-H as the donor contact during his time as Public Relations Director for North Central Wool Marketing Corporation. When North Central was acquired by another company Dick was motivated to personally assure that the awards in the 4-H wool and Lamb Lead would continue.

"It is a way to pay-back and provide opportunities for today’s 4-H members to have some of the experiences that have contributed to my personal and professional success. As a member, I received many award trips paid for by generous donors who believed in building future leaders. As a professional, I was provide numerous opportunities for life-long learning experiences that strengthened my skills, relationships, and abilities to be a strong 4-H leader and mentor."

Juanita Reed-Boniface is proud to be a 4-H Grown alum, volunteer, and donor.

Laura Wyatt
Minnesota 4-H Foundation

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