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Building Resilient Families: How New Technologies for Ag Extension is Serving the Heart & Hope Program from the University of Nevada, Reno


New Technologies for Ag Extension (NTAE) is a grant from USDA-NIFA in partnership with Oklahoma State University and is currently in its fourth year. Since 2019, the Extension Foundation has served 72 leaders and programs from across Cooperative Extension to help strengthen their programs and make a greater local impact in the communities they serve.

Programs that applied for NTAE each year were competitively selected and aligned with USDA and Extension Committee on Organization and Policy (ECOP) strategic goals/priority program areas. Programs receive funding and support from the Extension Foundation for one full year. Over the course of one year, the program leader and team are coached to identify new possibilities and strengthen their planned impact. Each team receives additional support to create materials and experiences that engage Extension resources to speed development and generate a change where it is desired. Awardees can expect robust and productive interaction with a group of catalysts and key informants from the Extension Foundation in a mentoring role to help teams grow professionally over the course of a one-year partnership.

One of the forty teams selected for Year 4 of the NTAE award is the Heart & Hope program from the University of Nevada, Reno. Their  faculty developed the Heart & Hope program to increase the protective factors that create healthy home environments in order to break the cycle of domestic violence. This research-based program provides survivors with resources and skills to strengthen their relationships and have hope for the future. Since 2015, Heart & Hope has served 46 families in Elko, including 54 adults and 110 children.

TheHeart & Hope program received a $10,000 fellowship and is currently receiving a year of services from the Extension Foundation to help accelerate and continue to scale their program while building upon their current success. Dr. Dyremple Marsh and Dr. Chuck Hibberd are serving as Extension Foundation Catalysts for this program. Extension Foundation Catalysts are retired Extension Administrators and Directors that provide practical mentorship and support to programs being served through NTAE, and work to keep the teams focused on their short-term and long-term goals while leveraging other resources from within the Foundation.

Dr. Dyremple Marsh shared, “The Heart and Hope NTAE Team consistently comes prepared with the goal of making significant achievements in the project. Their success to date is a testament of their hard work. The Cooperative Extension Community has a lot to learn from this team when dealing with very challenging community problems.”

The long-term goals for Heart & Hope are to develop a hybrid train-the-trainer model and expand nationwide, breaking the cycle of domestic violence in as many communities as possible. The program will expand to Las Vegas, Nevada’s largest urban center, to discover how the program benefits diverse groups such as low-income, minority, and LGBTQ families. Staff plan to train 10 staff and serve 30 adults and 50 children living in Las Vegas in the first year. By gaining experience serving diverse groups, staff will be prepared to scale the program nationally and obtain listings on evidenced-based program registries.

When asked about her experience working with the Extension Foundation through NTAE, Julie Woodbury,Heart & Hope Program Coordinator, University of Nevada, Reno, said, “as a NTAE grant recipient, each conversation with a catalyst or key informant opens up our eyes to new ways to promote and deliver the program - the case statement; well-designed, eye-catching print/digital promotional material; video clips highlighting program content; a listserv to communicate regularly with partners and families; online registration forms; a dashboard to access program content. It is truly transformational."

To learn more about theHeart & Hope program from the University of Nevada, Reno, please visit

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About the Extension Foundation

The Extension Foundation was formed in 2006 by Extension Directors and Administrators. Today, the Foundation partners with Cooperative Extension through liaison roles and a formal plan of work with the Extension Committee on Organization and Policy (ECOP) to increase system capacity while providing programmatic services, and helping Extension programs scale and investigate new methods and models for implementing programs. The Foundation provides professional development to Cooperative Extension professionals and offers exclusive services to its members. In 2020 and 2021, the Extension Foundation has awarded 85% of its direct funding back to the Cooperative Extension System, 100% of funds are used to support Cooperative Extension initiatives. 

This technology is supported in part by New Technologies for Ag Extension (funding opportunity no. USDA-NIFA-OP-010186), grant no. 2023-41595-41325 from the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture. Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture or the Extension Foundation. For more information, please visit You can view the terms of useat

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