In Cooperative Extension we can readily provide evidence of our programs’ private value to program participants, but we also create public value when our programs benefit others in the community. While direct beneficiaries of Extension programs have always been a source of crucial political support for Extension, demonstrating our public value can be the key to shoring up support from the rest of the population. Fiscal pressures on state and county governments make the need to demonstrate our public value increasingly urgent. More than that, by understanding and substantiating the public benefits our programs provide, we can be confident that Extension, as a publicly funded organization, is doing what it is truly meant to do.
The “Building Extension’s Public Value” workshop was created to help anyone who develops, delivers, or seeks funding for Extension programs to recognize and articulate their programs’ public value. The workshop has been conducted for Extension professionals in eleven states, and has been the subject of addresses at state, regional, and national Extension conferences.