Gala Nets $36,000 for Iowa 4-H

4-H clover cakeWEST DES MOINES, Iowa – The “My 4-H. My Commitment.” gala raised more than $36,000 for the Iowa State University Extension 4-H Youth Development program.

About 250 4-H supporters gathered on Saturday, Feb. 19 at the Sheraton Hotel in West Des Moines to raise funds for 4-H during the second annual gala.

“This year’s theme recognized the Iowa 4-H Foundation’s alumni fundraising and 4-H story-collecting campaigns,” said Shelly Greving, the foundation’s marketing director.

The business-formal event attracted current and potential business supporters, top 4-H donors and past trustees, Greving said. “We appreciate the overwhelming support we received from the attendees at the gala and their continuing support throughout the year.”

Former 4-H’ers and WHO-TV Channel 13 news anchors Erin Kiernan and Sonya Heitshusen served as emcees for the event, which featured cocktails, a plated dinner, silent and live auctions, and live entertainment by the band Freestyle.

Throughout the evening, attendees could bid on more than 75 auction packages including one-of-a-kind jewelry, date night packages, romantic vacations for two, dream vacations for the whole family and a custom-designed Iowa 4-H vintage Coke machine and stereo system.

“The attendees were very generous,” Greving said. “For example, an auction of 10 decadent desserts created by Iowa State University culinary science students, a current 4-H’er and some local businesses brought in more than $4,000.”

Attendee Joan Greving, Willey, Iowa, won a 26” HDTV during the festivities, but immediately donated it back to the live auction.

“The generosity of our attendees flowed throughout the evening,” Greving stated. “Bill Tomlinson and Dean Mohr purchased the 4-H Coke machine and donated it to the Iowa 4-H Camping Center for many to enjoy.”

A purse auction raised more than $2,000, Greving said, perhaps because a few 4-H “men of honor” served as models. Former Iowa 4-H Foundation trustee Dennis Goering, current trustees Bill Tomlinson, Scott Mortimer and Mitch Baum, state 4-H program director Chuck Morris and foundation executive director Joe Leisz modeled the purses, scarves and sunglasses as attendees bid on the items.

Attendees also had the opportunity to meet four granddaughters of Jessie Field Shambaugh, the founding mother of 4-H: Piper (Watkins) Hobbs, Heather Field Zenk, Cinda Shambaugh and Heidi (Watkins) Hess.

“We had a great time and based on the crowd, the atmosphere and excitement generated, this event will just get bigger and bigger,” said Iowa 4-H Foundation trustee Paul Kruse.

The gala “made me proud to be a 4-H alum and supporter,” added Terry Tobin, of Principal Enterprise Capital.

“Through 4-H, Iowa’s young people are learning skills that will position them to become the next generation of leaders in our state,” Greving said. “They have interests in communication, photography, nutrition, education, science and much, much more. The gala supported these areas, and the future of 4-H youth.”

About the Iowa 4-H Youth Development Program

4-H is the nation’s largest youth development organization, serving more than 6 million young people across America with programs in leadership, citizenship, communication and life skills. One in five Iowa school-age youth participates in 4-H. In Iowa, 4-H Youth Development is headquartered at the Iowa State University campus in Ames. 4-H is supported by federal, state and county funding, private grants and donations, and fees. For more information about joining 4-H, contact an Iowa State University Extension county office at or visit

About the Iowa 4-H Foundation

The Iowa 4-H Foundation,, provides the financial resources to develop and deliver quality 4-H youth programs throughout the state of Iowa. The opportunities provided by the Foundation help young people enhance their ability to use critical thinking, leadership, communication and social skills – tools that will give them a competitive edge in their future endeavors. The Iowa 4-H Foundation is a charitable 501 (c) 3 organization with a governing board of 35 trustees.


[PHOTO] 4-H clover cake -- Iowa 4-H Foundation trustee Deb Pullin-VanAuken displays a 4-H cake included in the dessert auction at the foundation’s second annual gala. The dessert auction raised more than $4,000 for the Iowa 4-H program. Photo courtesy of Todd Hugen Photography.