Number CLXVII The Newsletter of Epsilon Sigma PhiMarch 2023

 President's Message

Daphne Richards, National ESP President

Hello there, my fabulous ESP friends! And welcome to March, which is crunch time for a lot of big items on the national ESP calendar.

The national deadlines to submit awards applications and proposals for our 2023 national conference both recently passed, so now it’s on to deadlines for national committee applications: March 10 to reapply if you’re currently serving in the second year of your first term (contact your committee chair for more information); and May 1 for committee openings, which will be announced in early April. And the deadline to apply for our three national board positions (Western Region VP, Northeast Region VP, and 2nd VP, from the Northeast Region), is April 1. If you’re considering applying for any of these positions, whether committee or national board, and want to chat with someone who’s “been there,” please reach out! I’d love to answer any questions that you might have. 

Another big date coming up is the May 1 deadline for your chapter president to fill out the annual chapter report, which also serves as the basis for the annual Chapter of Merit awards. The Membership Recruitment and Retention Committee is in the final stage of reviewing that form, which will be sent to chapter officers very soon.

We’re also in the final stage of finalizing details before opening conference registration at the early bird rate, so stay tuned! You’ll want to register make your plans to attend quickly, because if the number of conference proposals received by our professional development committee (a whopping 174!) is any indication, this year is going to be a very well-attended conference. I can promise you that the Montana Alpha Chapter has some really exciting things planned for us, including a bunch of wonderful tour options! And if you’re one of the many members that told us you wanted to see an option for a fly-fishing tour, you got your wish! But you really must sign up as soon as registration opens—that tour will have limited capacity, and I guarantee you it will fill up fast (information on tours will be published along with conference registration details, very soon). 

Another big aspect of our national conference is our fund-raising efforts, including both live and silent auctions, as well as cash donations. Many chapters put together a basket of the finest food and beverage items from their state, or maybe some university-specific gear, or items unique to a particular activity (such as cooking, outdoor activities, or self-care, just to name a few), or something handmade by a local artisan. Last year the national board put together and donated a basket of items from our various home states, and I’m hoping that we make that a new tradition. I’ve already acquired my Texas items to put toward that team effort, but I’m still in the process of curating my very own special “presidential” basket to donate. And I use the word “basket” loosely! You don’t have to use a basket to display your items. In fact, the basket is often the hardest item for people to get both to and from the conference. Displaying your items in a reusable tote bag, or something even simpler, will work just as well. 

The money raised from your donated items, along with your cash donations, is used to support our endowment fund, which is how our organization can provide so many scholarships, grants, and stipends to our members. One of the benefits of ESP membership is the support that is offered for members to participate in professional development. Each year more than $41,000 is earmarked in our organization’s budget to provide professional development grants and scholarships, stipends for national conference attendance, and chapter growth and development. This support is made possible through our ESP Endowment Fund which was established in 1985 and reached the goal of $500,000 in endowed funds in 2020. Support of our membership helps the fund to continue to grow. Your chapter as well as individual members are encouraged to make contributions! If your chapter plans to have a spring meeting, I encourage you to discuss making a donation on behalf of your chapter and to educate your membership on the importance of continued growth of the endowment fund. Donations can be made any time of the year, either through the mail or by clicking on the Donate tile on the National ESP website

I know it seems early to be thinking about national conference, but I promise you, it will be here before you know it! And I truly can’t wait to see you all in Big Sky Country.


Apply Now For Scholarships and Grants

Submitted by the Scholarship Grants and Recognition Committee

Redinger Administrative Leadership Scholarship (Due May 1)

This scholarship promotes continued professional development for eligible members to attend the National ESP Conference.  The scholarship is to be used to defray the cost of attending the National ESP Conference.  Two scholarships of $1,000.00 each are available annually to outstanding administrators/leaders based on accomplishments at the county, regional, state or national level.

Justin Morrill Scholarship (Due May 1)
This scholarship promotes professional development for ESP eligible members employed by 1890 or 1994 Land Grant institutions to attend the National ESP Conference.  The scholarship is to only be used to defray the cost of attending the National ESP Conference. Two scholarships in the amount of $1,000 are available.

ESP Chapter at Risk Scholarship (Due May 1)  This scholarship to promote encourages institutions to establish new or re-establish inactive ESP Chapters. Attendance at a National ESP conference is seen as supporting a Chapter at risk, and may be part of the actions suggested in the National ESP Handbook, Section E. The scholarship is to be used to defray the cost of attending the National ESP Conference. Two scholarships in the amount of $500 are available.


ESP Development Fund Portfolio Update and Review

Submitted by Joanne S. Cavis, for the Resource Development and Management Committee

One of the major responsibilities of the National ESP Resource Development and Management Committee is to monitor our organization’s investments and review investment reports from our Investment Advisor, Patten & Patten Inc.  Patten & Patten delivers written quarterly reports to the ESP Executive Director and makes oral presentations to the Board and RDM Committee twice a year.

Their most recent portfolio update and review was given on January 17, 2023 via Zoom.  The National ESP Development Fund had a total market value of $954,314 as of December 31, 2022, and the National ESP Organizational Fund was worth $325,560 on the same date.  Thus, the combined value of the two portfolios was greater than $1 Million!  ($1,279,874). 

For the year 2022, the total net return of both accounts was -13.8%. (In perspective, the S&P 500 net return was -18.10%.)   The two accounts decreased in value by $128,514 in 2022. . . “2022 was a difficult year”. (Note:  In 2022, we increased the value of our funds by $154,000.) The consolidated performance history over a 10 year period was 6.25%, which is on target for ESP’s financial management plan. Asset allocation charts for both portfolios were presented.

Patten and Patten explained the financial performance by saying that the stock market performance in 2022 was the worst since 2008 and the bond market the worst since 1930s. Patten and Patten said that 2023 would likely be volatile, especially in the first and second quarters, but could be moving toward a more normalized environment, even as there is concern about a recession (people cutting back on spending and saving). Corporate earnings will be the driver in 2023.  There are opportunities in the bond market. (Short term 3-6 month treasuries had 4.5% yield late in 2022.) Inflation should moderate to 4% in 2023. The Russia-Ukraine war remains problematic as there seems to be no quick solution.

Commentary by Patten and Patten:

The era of financial repression (low policy rates (2009-2021) terminated with the Fed’s first rate increase in 1Q 2022.

Dual supply shocks from COVID related bottlenecks and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine contributed to inflation surges in Q1 and Q2.

Global monetary policy is now generally restrictive. Tighter monetary conditions and reduced liquidity should curtail demand.  RISK :  Excessive policy tightening “manufactures”  a recession.

Fed’s primary objective is to ensure long-term inflation expectations remain “anchored” near its 2.0% target.  Secondary objective is policy normalization through removal of emergency liquidity.

Monetary ”normalization” is a process that should result in lower multiples and higher yields.

Both stock and bond markets now offer opportunities following YTD declines.  The bond market, in particular, is the most attractive it has been in 15 years.  The stock market, on a selective basis, is more attractively valued than at any time since before the pandemic.  

The RDM Committee thought that our membership might find the most recent Patten & Patten “Outlook and Market Commentary," above, of interest. 

Going Global - Global Relations Committee

Submitted by Melinda Garcia, Ph.D., Gamma Chapter

Do you enjoy traveling? Have you traveled abroad? Have you been a part of international Extension work with youth or faculty via professional development or research purposes? Have you been a part of missionary work? If you have answered “YES” to any of these questions, then we need YOU on our Global Relations Committee! We seek colleagues who have experience to help us plan an international trip as a method of learning and to have a cultural immersion experience to understand how different countries operate within the Extension parameters. On the contrary, one does not need to have traveled internationally to be a part of our group, as we are inclusive and welcome everyone! We seek individuals who are passionate about helping others learn and grow and to share the work we with do with others. The goal is to travel internationally every other year. So, are you ready to join us in our quest to explore the world? Interested ESP members can join our committee in an affiliate role or through the formal committee membership application process when that opens later this spring. For more information about the ESP Global Relations committee web page.


Revised and Expanded "Ways to Give" Document Now Available

Submitted By Doug Beech, Resource Development and Management Committee, Affiliate Member

The National ESP Resource Development and Management (RDM) Committee is pleased to announce the publication of a newly revised and expanded edition of our “Ways To Give to the ESP Development Fund” document. It is meant to serve as a concise, organized, “all in one place”, source of important information for ESP members and friends who wish to make charitable contributions to our Development Fund. The material is presented in four major sections: (1) Current Gift information, (2) Planned (Deferred) Gift information, (3) Established and Potential Funding Initiatives for our Development Fund, and (4) National ESP contact and legal information that donors and their professional financial/tax/legal advisors will find helpful.

As a means of introducing you to the new edition of this publication, lets briefly highlight two of the types of gifts mentioned that may be particularly beneficial to some of you right now. (Note that the RDM Committee plans to focus some more on these two gift options in the year ahead.)

Looking at the Current Gift category, if you are 70 ½ or older, own a Traditional IRA account(s), and are not able to itemize deductions on your income tax return (as a result of the greatly increased standard deduction that began in 2019), then Charitable IRA Rollovers (Also known as “Qualified Charitable Distributions” or QCDs) may very well be an ideal way for you to make current cash gifts to charity. If you are also old enough to be subject to a Required Minimum Distribution(s) from your IRA’s, Charitable IRA Rollovers may be even more appealing to you! You really owe it to yourself to visit with your tax advisor to determine if you should start incorporating this type of gift in your annual charitable giving plans. Major details of Charitable IRA Rollovers can be found on the Development Page of the ESP website.

People who have a strong interest in leaving a legacy beyond their lifetime should look into planned giving. Interest in legacy giving can lead someone to consider some type of planned gift to charities whose mission reflects their lifetime values. One planned gift option that deserves careful consideration for such people who own tax deferred retirement plans (e.g. Traditional IRA’s, 403(b)s, 401(k)s, or Keoghs) is adding charity as a beneficiary to part, or all, of these retirement plans. In consultation with your tax and legal advisors, you may very well find that this type of planned gift will save a considerable amount of income taxes for your survivors.

The RDM Committee wants to very sincerely thank each of you who have made charitable contributions to the National ESP Development Fund over the years. We hope that you will find our new “Ways to Give” document helpful as you consider future gifts to support our efforts in providing outstanding professional development opportunities and recognition programs for current and retired Extension professionals. 


Member Spotlight

Lt. Colonel Benny Louis Lockett, a member of the Texas/ Alpha Zeta Chapter of Epsilon Sigma Phi recently passed away. He was honored by Prairie View A&M University in January for his nearly 30 years of service in Cooperative Extension. At a recent naming ceremony on the Prairie View A&M campus, an auditorium was dedicated in honor of Benny and his service in Extension. Below are a few highlights of his career.

Benny L. Lockett was born and reared in Linden, (Northeast) Texas. He graduated from Fairview High School in 1957. Lockett received his Bachelor’s degree from Prairie View A&M University in 1961 and his Master’s degree in Biology from the University of Wisconsin in 1972. He engaged in further study on his doctorate degree at the University of Houston.

In October 1961, Lockett was commissioned a Second Lieutenant in the United States Army. After departing from active duty with the military, Lockett worked as a Manufacturing Engineer with Texas Instruments, Inc., in Richardson, Texas. He left this job to return to Prairie View A&M University and worked there for 28 years.

Lockett wrote and co-authored several publications. He retired from Prairie View A&M University as Associate Administrator of the Cooperative Extension Program in 1998. After retirement, he was awarded “Emeritus Status” by the Texas A&M University System.

Lockett served on the board of several non-profit organizations: Prairie View A&M Foundation, Hoover Carden Scholarship Fund, H. S. Estelle 4-H Youth Camp, Landowners Association of Texas, Fairview Junior-Senior High School Reunion Corporation, Fairview Junior-Senior High School Reunion Corporation Houston Chapter, Prairie View A&M University Houston Alumni Chapter, the Prairie View A&M University National Alumni Association, and was a member of the Chancellor’s Century Council of the Texas A&M System since February 2007. For more information on the naming ceremony, you can read the article published by PVAMU.


Peer Reviewed Articles

Youth Financial Literacy Curriculum Delivered Through School and Out-Of-School Partnerships 

Laura Eppinger and Marissa Staffen, Alpha Xi Chapter, New Jersey

New Jersey 4-H Introduces TD Smart Cents Curriculum 

Since 2020, Rutgers 4-H Youth Development has worked in partnership with National 4-H Council and TD AmeriTrade to offer a new youth financial literacy curriculum called “TD Smart Cents.” Even in the wake of a pandemic and two years of in-person program suspension, we have delivered at least six hours of Smart Cents programming to more than 300 youth. This was made possible by partnerships with more than 20 community partners throughout New Jersey. 

Below we will explore some best practices for partnerships both with schools and public-school districts, as well as other community partners who run or offer venues for after-school programming for youth. 

School-Based Partnerships 

In New Jersey, this curriculum is aligned with a 2020 Governor’s Mandate for schools to provide Financial Literacy lessons. (Read more about this Personal Financial Literacy mandate. The TD Smart Cents lessons satisfy the New Jersey Department of Education’s Social Studies/History and Mathematics standards for Financial Literacy. The Rutgers 4-H professionals working on this grant partnership were fortunate that we were able to offer free lesson plans and teacher resources including train-the-trainer sessions at exactly the moment when demand for this topic was high. 

New Jersey also requires public school teachers to complete at least 20 hours of Professional Development each year, which includes train-the-trainer sessions and introductions to new curriculum. This further adds to the appeal of Extension professionals seeking to distribute new lesson plans to school-aged youth. 

We recommend Extension professionals approach school districts with knowledge of state curriculum mandates, as well as teacher requirements for Professional Development, when looking to offer new curriculum for children. If there are any Department of Education taskforces or advisory groups open to join in your state, we recommend serving on bodies related to curriculum, lesson plans, and teacher resources as a representative of University Extension. If this is not available, we recommend paying close attention to State Department of Education news releases and updates, to look for in-roads to making and strengthening partnerships with schools. 

Community Partnerships 

As Extension professionals, we are embedded in the communities we serve and likely have some existing community partnerships. We have found that libraries, community centers, and summer day camps were some of the organizations looking to train their educators in new lesson plans, then offer these lessons to youth. 

New Jersey 4-H professionals keep a contact sheet of community-based educators who have requested training or materials regarding 4-H TD Smart Cents and have offered five virtual train-the-trainer sessions to out-of-school teachers since 2020. 


Throughout this grant partnership between Rutgers 4-H and TD AmeriTrade to distribute a youth-focused financial literacy curriculum, Extension partnered with schools and school districts, as well as out-of-school community partners, with successful results. The TD Smart Cents curriculum arrived in New Jersey at a welcome time, as financial literacy lessons have been mandated by our Governor since 2020. We suggest that Extension staff join advisory groups and otherwise stay connected to state governments, as changes to education policy often introduce new programming opportunities for youth.

JCEP PILD Conference

Sponsored by Joint Council of Extension Professionals­; JCEP PILD Information 

Registration is open! 


Save the Date

JCEP Public Issues Leadership Development Conference April 16-19, 2023 Washington D.C.

May 1st - Chapter President's deadline to submit the Chapter Annual Report and Chapter of Merit Form

Presidents should be on the lookout for an email with details later this month

2023 ESP National Conference September 24-28 Billings, Montana

2024 ESP National Conference October 27-31 Virginia Beach, Virginia

This newsletter is a publication of Epsilon Sigma Phi, Inc. - The Extension Professionals' Organization

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