We believe in you.
We believe in Illinois: its people, its diverse neighborhoods and communities, and our shared future. We believe that health and wellness are the foundation for individuals, families, and communities reaching their full potential. We believe in and promote a culture of service as fundamental to strong and healthy families, neighborhoods, and state. We believe that the long term sustainability of the environment and agricultural productivity requires stewardship and care. We believe in and respect youth’s potential to change the world, and work to support nurturing communities and opportunities to learn and grow.
We believe in the state of Illinois and we are committed to our mission linking local communities to the University, to develop programs, tools, and knowledge that will support needed change. Our mission is to align research to needs and translate research into action plans that allow Illinois families, businesses, and community leaders to solve problems, make informed decisions, and adapt to changes and opportunities.
We address key issues in Illinois.
Our work focuses on five grand challenges. Illinois Extension leaders work with a network of local stakeholders to define annual priorities that allow us to respond to evolving and emerging needs while still ensuring meaningful progress toward key outcomes in each of the five grand challenge areas. This blend of long-range focus and local accountability is a powerful strategy that ensures we stay true to our mission while we serve communities across the state.
- Community: Support Strong and Resilient Youth, Families, and Communities
- Economy: Grow a Prosperous Economy
- Environment: Sustain Natural Resources in Home and Public Spaces
- Food: Maintain a Safe and Accessible Food Supply
- Health: Maximize Physical and Emotional Health for All
While most Extension programs are offered on an informal, non-credit basis, U of I Extension does offer continuing education credits in some fields of study. Extension programs may be offered as hands-on workshops, field days, online self-paced tutorials, or in other formats that are suitable for the audience and subject-matter.
We help lots of people find solutions to their problems.
- More than 500,000 direct contacts with Extension programming occur annually.
- 565 Illinois communities are served annually
- 335 educational sessions are held each week
- 8 million people access Illinois Extension websites annually
- 14,450 people access Extension's online courses.
- More than $14 million of resources are generated annually by Extension's volunteer force
4-H Youth Development
4-H youth development programs empower and prepare youth for success. We believe all youth deserve a place where they can thrive and achieve a better future.
- 131,628 youth were affiliated with Illinois 4-H in 2021
- 6,192 adult volunteers assist with 4-H programs and clubs
- Youth may choose from any of our 1,600 4-H clubs and 2,150 programs in Illinois
We all deserve access to healthy, affordable food. Illinois Extension helps people grow and source local food, then teaches them how to prepare healthy meals for their families
- 2,000 education sessions or online courses
- 123 active food donation gardens
- 167,922 pounds of produce with a value of $240,000 was donated to residents or food pantries
When people volunteer or advocate for a local issue, they see themselves as part of the solution and their community pride soars.
Providing decision-makers with practical, timely, and research-based information gives leaders the tools they need to strengthen their communities and improve the quality of life in rural and urban areas throughout Illinois.
In 2021, thousands of people participated in community development webinars:
- 2,000 people improved leadership skills in public service and community involvement
- 1,100 people gained skills in meeting the needs of vulnerable populations
- 3,955 people improved understanding of economic and financial stability
- 1,000 people gained skills in address community resiliency
- 1,250 people expanded knowledge on expanding broadband access
As part of the Land Grant system, the University of Illinois was established not only to provide world class education and pioneer research and discovery, but to put learning and discovery into practice, to benefit the health and wellbeing of residents and communities in every part of Illinois. Extension is the university’s statewide network of educators, faculty experts, and staff dedicated to that mission.
Communities are directly served by Extension staff in 27 units located throughout Illinois. Extension educators in local offices and specialists located on the U of I campus develop and deliver in-depth programming locally, in regional venues, and through distance-learning technologies.
As part of the nationwide Cooperative Extension System, U of I Extension also is able to draw on research-based expertise from land-grant universities all across the country. Volunteers who serve on local advisory councils provide direction for U of I Extension programming, ensuring that programs continue to meet critical needs.
U of I Extension is based in the College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences (ACES) and works with all colleges and units of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.