UACES Facebook End of an era for Brady club marks new beginnings
skip to main content

End of an era for Brady club marks new beginnings

Oct. 20, 2023

By Tracy Courage
U of A System Division of Agriculture

Fast Facts: 

  • Brady Extension Homemakers donate $281,800 to Arkansas 4-H
  • Donation to fund scholarships for Arkansas 4-H youth
  • Brady Club one of 300 Extension Homemakers Clubs in state

(625 words)
(Newsrooms: With photo of the Brady EHC Club)

LITTLE ROCK — The Brady Extension Homemakers Club made the best of a bittersweet situation. With just six members remaining in their century-old volunteer group, it was time to disband — but not without two more acts of service.

Members of the Brady EHC posing with a large check
ACTS OF SERVICE — Members of the Brady EHC Club present a check Sept. 25, 2023, to Arkansas 4-H Foundation to create an endowed scholarship. From left: Dr. Bob Scott, Cooperative Extension Service director; John Thomas, Arkansas 4-H Foundation managing director; Debbie Nistler, head of 4-H and Youth Development;  Laura Hendrix, Arkansas Extension Homemakers Council state advisor; Brady EHC member Barbara Penney, Arkansas 4-H State Officer Kacie Clark, Arkansas 4-H Foundation Vice President Darlene Millard, Brady EHC members Elizabeth Childs, Dianna Noe, Ellen McCloskey, Marianne Langston, and Brenda Forthman. (Division of Agriculture photo.)

They sold their property and building to a Little Rock congregation whose church was destroyed in a tornado. Then they donated $281,800 to Arkansas 4-H to endow a scholarship for youth.

The six women are members of the Arkansas Extension Homemakers Council, one of the state’s largest volunteer organizations with 3,200 members in 329 clubs throughout the state.

“We have just six remaining members, and we didn’t have the wherewithal to continue with maintenance and upkeep,” Brady Extension Homemakers Club trustee Barbara Penney said. “We decided to sell our property and give the proceeds to a nonprofit. It was a hard and tearful decision, but we’re proud to say that we honor those who came before us by creating an endowment for the Arkansas 4-H Foundation.”

The Apostolic Sanctuary of Little Rock purchased the 1,800-square-foot building at 201 S. Rodney Parham Road in Little Rock.

“The church has completed lots of renovations and has already held their first worship service in their new building,” Penney said.

Future scholarships

“It’s not every day we get an endowment, and certainly not one this size,” said John Thomas, managing director of the Arkansas 4-H Foundation. “This will fund college scholarships, trips to National 4-H Congress for youth and provide some funds to help out 4-H state officers do their work.”

Laura Hendrix, associate professor for personal finance with the Division of Agriculture and the state advisor to the Arkansas Extension Homemakers Council, said the Brady EHC Club could not have found a more fitting recipient than Arkansas 4-H. Both Extension Homemakers and Arkansas 4-H are programs of the Cooperative Extension Service, part of the Division of Agriculture. Both groups also have similar missions of helping members learn, lead and serve.

“The relationship between 4-H and EHC has always been a close one,” Hendrix said.  “I’m so proud of you for thinking of 4-Hers, who are really the future of family and consumer sciences,” she told the club.

Brady’s beginnings

The Brady EHC Club started in 1914, when a group of Little Rock homemakers formed a home demonstration club.

“We have a great history,” Penney said of the club. “They went out in horse-drawn carriages to teach skills to other homemakers in rural areas.”

Home demonstration clubs, like Brady’s, were an important part of the Cooperative Extension Service, which started in the early 20th century as an experiment in adult education. The home demonstrations taught farm women improved methods for accomplishing their household responsibilities and encouraged them to better their families’ living conditions through home improvements and labor-saving devices.

Home demonstration clubs evolved into today’s Extension Homemakers Clubs whose mission is to provide continuing education and leadership skills, as well as foster community service.

Brady EHC members sold sandwiches, cookies and cakes through the years and saved money until they could buy land at Rodney Parham Road and Markham Street in Little Rock. In 1970, they sold some of their land and used the money to build a clubhouse.

“It’s bittersweet for me,” member Ellen McCloskey said. “I went to first grade in the Brady building when it was still a frame building with black tar paper for insulation.” 

For more information about Extension Homemakers, visit, contact your local Cooperative Extension Service agent or visit Follow us on Twitter and Instagram at @AR_Extension. To learn more about Division of Agriculture research, visit the Arkansas Agricultural Experiment Station website: Follow on Twitter at @ArkAgResearch. To learn more about the Division of Agriculture, visit Follow us on Twitter at @AgInArk.


About the Division of Agriculture

The University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture’s mission is to strengthen agriculture, communities, and families by connecting trusted research to the adoption of best practices. Through the Agricultural Experiment Station and the Cooperative Extension Service, the Division of Agriculture conducts research and extension work within the nation’s historic land grant education system. 

The Division of Agriculture is one of 20 entities within the University of Arkansas System. It has offices in all 75 counties in Arkansas and faculty on five system campuses.  

The University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture offers all its Extension and Research programs to all eligible persons without regard to race, color, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, national origin, religion, age, disability, marital or veteran status, genetic information, or any other legally protected status, and is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity Employer.

# # #

Media contact:
Tracy Courage