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USU Extension Benefits from Ashton Foundation Gift Agreement

Thursday, Jun. 07, 2012

Thanksgiving Point gardens

The gardens at Thanksgiving Point are always impressive. USU Extension is the recipient of a $200,000 gift agreement from the Ashton Family Foundation to expand staffing and operational costs for Extension programs at Thanksgiving Point.

Utah State University Extension is the recipient of a $200,000 gift agreement from the Ashton Family Foundation. The gift will be distributed over a five-year period and will fund additional staffing and operational costs of Extension personnel at Thanksgiving Point in Lehi, Utah. The funding will also expand the Extension programs offered at Thanksgiving Point.

According to Noelle E. Cockett, vice president and dean for USU Extension and Agriculture, Extension personnel have been onsite at Thanksgiving Point for more than 15 years. What began with USU students and intern projects has grown to an extensive partnership between USU Extension and Thanksgiving Point Institute.

“It has been a great benefit to further Extension’s efforts in Utah County and the state of Utah,” Cockett said. “We appreciate the ongoing partnership and association we have with Thanksgiving Point and look forward to being able to support them for several more years through the generous gift of the Ashton Family Foundation.”

Brandon Monson, USU College of Agriculture development director, said the generous gift from the Ashton Family Foundation shows their commitment to furthering the current Extension efforts and partnership with Thanksgiving Point.

According to Dave Francis, USU Extension associate professor working with the 4-H program, the partnership is mutually beneficial.

“By leveraging the unique assets and strengths of USU Extension and Thanksgiving Point, we have created a synergy that yields a greater impact to the community than either group could do alone,” he said. “We have been able to work together to expand our program to include a variety of gardening classes for adults, student field trips, day camps, 4-H clubs and an outreach program for children and youth across the state.”

Alan Ashton (co-founder of WordPerfect Corp.) and Karen Ashton constructed Thanksgiving Point in Lehi as a non-profit institute for the community. Thanksgiving Point provides hands-on discovery for all ages through educational classes, day camps and field trips. In addition, an array of activities is offered, including shopping, dining, golfing, strolling through the gardens and playing at the museum and farm.

Related links:

Thanksgiving Point

USU Extension

USU College of Agriculture 

Contact: Brandon Monson, USU College of Agriculture development director, 435-797-2208,

Writer: Julene Reese, Utah State University Extension writer, 435-797-0810,

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