Since 1989, Excellence in Extension has been funded solely by contributions from Extension and Outreach professionals. When you contribute to Excellence in Extension, you are helping to improve and enrich the quality of Iowa State University Extension and Outreach education and you're supporting your Extension and Outreach colleagues. 

The Excellence in Extension Fund is designed to improve and enrich the quality of educational programs offered by Iowa State University Extension and Outreach.  Excellence in Extension provides competitive grants that are open to all ISU Extension and Outreach employees-campus, field, and county.

The grants are used

  • to develop creative and innovative programs,                                                     
  • to provide scholarships for graduate work,
  • and to support professional growth for groups and individuals. 

The Board 

The Excellence in Extension board composition is a 5-member board, consisting of representatives from each of the program units plus one ex-officio member. One representative is from the Extension and Outreach Professional Development Committee (to help align professional development priorities). The role of the Board includes: long-range planning, reviewing finances, raising funds, marketing grant opportunities, and evaluating the grant program.

Any staff member of ISU Extension and Outreach, including members holding joint appointments, is eligible for appointment to the Board. The Board can appoint committees. Terms of appointment for members shall be three years beginning July 1 of each year. Board members may serve a maximum of two successive three-year terms. Ex-officio members are not limited to specific terms of appointment.

Current Board Members


Past Reports

Reports for award winners may be viewed online.

Please contact Alison DePenning if you have questions.. 

Ways to Invest in Excellence in Extension

All gifts of any amount are appreciated. The following are various ways you can participate.

Thank you for supporting Excellence in Extension's mission to improve and enrich the quality of educational programs offered by Iowa State University Extension and Outreach.

Grant Opportunities

If you wish to apply for grant funds, please first review the individual grant opportunities, including grant bios, guidelines, and reporting requirements. Applications were due February 1, 2024 by 5:00pm.  You may review application bios and guidelines online.

2024-2025 Grant Awardees


  • Eva Donnelly - Marvin A. Anderson $1,000 (2-year award)
  • Nichol Kleespies - Betty Elliot $1,500 
  • Aude Watrelot - Herb Howell $3,770
  • Lyndi Buckingham-Schut - Herb Howell $1,230
  • Milius Lesley - Innovative Program Development $2,500
  • Sarah Patterson - Innovative Program Development $2,500
  • Omar Padilla - Individual Staff Development $750