Sweet Opportunities flowing with grant

Submitted photo. Future Generations University was just awarded $130,000 from The Claude Worthington Benedum Foundation to launch the Sweet Opportunities: Tapping West Virginia’s Maple Resource program.

FRANKLIN — Future Generations University was just awarded $130,000 from The Claude Worthington Benedum Foundation to launch the Sweet Opportunities: Tapping West Virginia’s Maple Resource program. This program focuses on expanding the production of current maple syrup manufacturers in 11 West Virginia counties — Grant, Hardy, Pendleton, Randolph, Pocahontas, Greenbrier, Nicholas, Summers, Lincoln, Webster, and Wayne.

With an estimated 0.04 percent of West Virginia’s tappable maple trees in production, there is plenty of room for growth in the local maple syrup industry. The Benedum Foundation supports Future Generation’s efforts to enhance economic opportunity within the state’s maple industry. The Sweet Opportunities project builds upon a partnership with the West Virginia Department of Agriculture and the West Virginia Maple Syrup Producers Association (WVMSPA). Together, a successful certificate program on Maple Sap Collection and Syrup Processing and a Maple Production Seminar series across the state was held, with attendees going on to start new maple syrup operations. Sweet Opportunities will encourage expansion of maple syrup operations with on-site technical coaching, networking, and business support.

Beginning in 1992, the Future Generations family of organizations has promoted research, learning, and action for inclusive and sustainable change worldwide. Today, the University’s accredited Master’s program boasts alumni in 36 different countries, as well as being involved in a wide variety of community development projects worldwide. Future Generations University also continues to support a growing number of research projects that promote local social change.

The Claude Worthington Benedum Foundation was established in 1944 by Michael L. Benedum, a West Virginian oil and gas businessman. With their generous support, projects ranging from education to civic engagement have enacted human development throughout the West Virginia and Southwestern Pennsylvania regions.

For more information about Sweet Opportunities: Tapping West Virginia’s Maple Resource, contact karen.milnes@future.edu.

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