Rooted in Resilience: 2023 Report to the Community

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Wake County Cooperative Extension – Nurturing Resilience and Community Growth in 2023

Read the report online.

Download and/or Print a PDF version of the report.


Theme and Overview: Rooted in Resilience

As the pages turn on 2023, N.C. Cooperative Extension – Wake County Center reflects on a year of resilience, growth, and community impact. Under the theme ‘Rooted in Resilience,’ the organization has demonstrated an unwavering commitment to improving the lives, land, and economy of Wake County residents. This theme signifies the organization’s mission evolving in harmony with a changing world, staying dedicated to equipping the community with tools and knowledge for fostering resilience.Rooted in Resilience

Financial Overview: Empowering Growth

In 2023, the organization experienced significant financial growth, with a total public investment of $14.8 million in grants and an operating budget of $2.72 million. This allowed for the expansion of the team, welcoming 26 new members since 2021, enhancing the organization’s capacity and impact. With 40 dedicated employees and 539 volunteers, the N.C. Cooperative Extension at Wake County Center continues to be a vital community resource.

Financial overview chart showing 4-H Youth Development at 53%

Food Security Plan: A $7.2 Million Commitment to Resilient Communities

In March 2023, the Wake County Board of Commissioners allocated $7.2 million to support food security initiatives outlined in the updated Wake County Food Plan. Developed through an equity-based steering committee and partner-organization workgroups, the plan aims to transition the current food security model from charity to resilience. Key strategies include the establishment of a Food Justice Cohort, focused on enhancing funding equity, and the Food Hub Aggregation Program, addressing local food supply chain challenges.

Chart showing commitment to effort.

4-H Social Action: Youth Driving Positive Change

Youth empowerment takes center stage at N.C. Cooperative Extension – Wake County Center, with the Wake County 4-H Youth Health Council leading initiatives in addressing public health concerns. From engaging with Health and Human Services professionals to hosting an annual Walk for Mental Health fundraiser, the teens in 4-H are actively contributing to creating a safer environment for their peers. The inaugural TEDxYouth@ChavisWay event in March 2023 showcased the remarkable power of young voices driving positive change within the community.

4-H Endorsements.

4-H Summer Camps: Nurturing Resilience through Diverse Programming

The Wake County 4-H Summer Camps exemplify a commitment to resilience by offering diverse and enriching experiences for youths. From the STEAM Camp focused on experiential learning in science, technology, engineering, arts, and math, to the Farm to Fork Camp connecting youth to the origins of their food, these camps provide a platform for personal growth and exploration. The Drone Camp, part of the 4-H SPACES and SPACESTOO programs, expands horizons for youth in the juvenile justice system through technology, offering a transformative experience in drone technology.88% of 4-H Youth enhanced their knowledge of plant & animal science in 2023.

Volunteers: Models of Resilience in Community Service

Recognizing excellence in long-standing programs, volunteers play a pivotal role in the N.C. Cooperative Extension – Wake County Center’s impact on the community. The North Carolina Extension and Community Association organized “Unity Around the World,” an International Festival promoting diversity and awareness of other cultures. Therapeutic Horticulture, awarded the Fred Barber Legacy of Service Award, engages in plant-based activities to enhance well-being in healthcare, rehabilitative, and residential settings.

86,690 volunteer hours for a total value of $2,596,365 in 2023.

Partnerships and Community Collaborations: Building a Resilient Network

Cooperative Extension thrives on vital partnerships. Juniper Level Baptist Community Alliance is a prime example, hosting programs like 4-H Youth Development and serving as a Food Hub Partner Site.

In addition, Wake County collaborates with over 55 organizations, delivering 20.3 million meals since March 2020. In 2023 alone, partners distributed 4,424,615.70 meals, showcasing a sustained commitment to combat food insecurity.

Further collaborations include the Wake County Out-of-School Time Study, assessing K-12 program availability, and the MindFULL Family Wellness program, a free, six-week initiative promoting family health and well-being in partnership with 4-H Youth Development and EFNEP.

A child shows off a pepper.

Resilience Beyond

In summary, N.C. Cooperative Extension – Wake County Center’s journey in 2023 reflects resilience, growth, and impactful community engagement. Financial expansion, a $7.2 million commitment to food security, and youth-led initiatives showcase the organization’s dedication. Diverse summer camps, volunteer contributions, and crucial partnerships further underscore N.C. Cooperative Extension – Wake County Center’s commitment to community well-being. As it continues to evolve, these highlights demonstrate its unwavering dedication to fostering resilience, equity, and community welfare.


Read the report online.

Download and/or Print a PDF version of the report.