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Here’s the best stuff I heard from the NTAE Catalyst Dr. Scott Reed

On September 22nd, a "showcase" for NTAE year three projects was held to recognize their outstanding work over the past year.  The NTAE teams presented an overview of their project for past and current NTAE teams, Directors & Admin, NTAE grant support staff, Extension Foundation staff, and others. Following the presentation, the Extension Foundation Catalyst Scott Reed sent teams observations from the project showcase and words of inspiration. After hearing from all the project teams Dr. Reed felt
"convinced that Extension can disrupt from within and our country will
benefit from such inclusively designed, cutting-edge, and sometimes
politically-charged programs."

See his message below, and see the videos from the showcase:
Project Videos

It’s clearly impossible to capture all the good stuff we heard in these two hours. However, here are a few general observations that seem to apply across the range of Year 3 NTAE projects:

First, the NTAE support model works! Every fellow we heard from described activities and accomplishments that may not have happened otherwise.

Second, each project leaves behind durable and scholarly products-whether as flipping books, curriculum, marketing materials, or digital items like podcasts. This is the way that Extension knowledge and tools go forward to be used and adapted by future scholars.

Third, NTAE caught the attention of Congressional appropriators who added significant funding for this year’s work.

More specifically, I heard how project teams worked across the intersection of chaos and action. In our world characterized by uncertainty and ambiguity, it’s too easy to be complacent and paralyzed—but not these teams! With encouragement and support from catalysts and key informants, innovations were tested and applied in distinctive ways.

I sometimes worry that as a 100-plus-year-old institution, there is a danger that we believe we have things figured out. Such a mindset can place Extension ripe for disruption by others. However, the courage and fresh thinking described today convince me that Extension can disrupt from within. Americans will continue to benefit from such inclusively designed, cutting-edge, and sometimes politically-charged programs. It’s all about learning that drives behavior towards public benefits.

Finally, It doesn’t end here. The new Extension Foundation Alumni Leadership Network will provide a village green for our continued engagement and developmental work.

*Big thanks to Dr. Reed for his observations and service as a Catalyst for this grant!

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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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