The William A. Hazel Family Foundation received the 2024 Friend of Virginia 4-H Award at the recent Evening with 4-H celebration and ceremony in Richmond.

The award recognizes an individual, family, organization, or team that makes a transformational impact on the Virginia 4-H program.

The William A. Hazel Family Foundation was honored for enabling creation of the Eleanor Hazel 4-H After-School Program for Fauquier County. The program, launched in 2022, is offered at five Fauquier County elementary schools and provides free after-school programming to youth who otherwise would not have the opportunity to participate in extracurricular activities.

“The Eleanor Hazel 4-H After-School Program has introduced more than 330 students in Fauquier County to fun, hands-on exploration of STEM through activities focused on agriculture, energy, robotics, outdoor exploration, and more,” said Jeremy Johnson, an associate director and state 4-H leader for Virginia Cooperative Extension. “We are grateful for the Hazel family’s ongoing commitment to their community and to providing educational opportunities to cultivate future leaders.”

Eleanor Hazel, the namesake of the afterschool program, grew up on a Loudoun County farm, where 4-H was a crucial part of her daily life. She served with distinction for many years as a 4-H club leader in Fauquier County, teaching crafts and international cooking to hundreds of students and leading the Warrenton After-School 4-H club. She was inducted into the 4-H Hall of Fame and continued to support Fauquier County 4-H until her death in 2020. 

Eleanor and her husband, Bill, a prominent businessman and developer who died in 2012, were widely known for their dedicated civic involvement and longstanding support of education. 

“We are thrilled that our mother’s leadership legacy is being recognized,” said Ruth Hazel, one of the couple’s five grown children who today helps run the William A. Hazel Family Foundation. “She led humbly and quietly with genuine care for every child. She impacted countless adolescents during her decades-long association with 4-H. Even today, we meet adults who fondly recall their 4-H experiences thanks to Eleanor Hazel.”

The William A. Hazel Family Foundation is a private foundation that provides philanthropic support to a variety of organizations that serve youth, families, health, and education.

The Eleanor Hazel 4-H After-School program is also supported by Virginia Tech, Fauquier County, and 46 community volunteers.

Virginia 4-H is the youth development education program of Virginia Cooperative Extension. More than 192,000 Virginia 4-H members are developing leadership, citizenship, and a vast array of life skills that will benefit them for the rest of their lives. Through school-based, after-school, and community clubs as well as camp settings, 4-H members pledge to build a better community, country, and world.

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