Building the Future

Ana Garcia
A 2007 Bethany High School graduate, Ana Garcia attended the University of Oklahoma with the help of the Ruth Mershon Scholarship from the Oklahoma City Community Foundation. After graduating from nursing school, Ana became a family nurse practitioner serving southwest Oklahoma City.

Ana Garcia was determined to break through the barriers that stood between her and a college education. The youngest of six children born to Mexican immigrants, her family moved to the United States seeking new opportunities. Working hard just to provide for their family, higher education was a luxury they could not afford.

Little did Ana know, her great opportunity would arise from another woman who, decades earlier, had overcome challenges of her own. Born in 1924, Ruth Mershon wasn’t expected to live past the age of two. Her physical impairments made it difficult to walk or even wear shoes. Through her own tenacity and the support of her family, she persevered and graduated college in 1945. Ruth went on to practice anesthesiology for 45 years.

“Ruth’s determination helped her overcome many obstacles in life,” said niece Ginny Lawrence. “She believed strongly that hard work reaps rewards, and she wanted to help capable, hard-working students achieve their goals.”

Dr. Mershon died in 2000, and while she and Ana Garcia never met, she gave Ana and many other students an incredible opportunity. The Ruth Mershon Scholarship at the Oklahoma City Community Foundation has helped nearly 100 students follow their dreams of going to college.

In a unique twist of fate, Ana also entered the medical field. Today, she is a nurse practitioner serving families in southwest Oklahoma City. “This scholarship was life changing,” Ana said. “It really validated all of my years of hard work.”

Read Ana and Ruth’s story, and learn how, together with generous donors, we are building the future through scholarship opportunities in our 2018 Scholarship Review below. To begin writing your own story of giving, visit occf.org/scholarshipgiving.

Enhancing Education for an Admired Alma Mater

Donor Pete White with students in the Southeast High School library
Pete White helped establish an endowment fund to support students and teachers at his alma mater, Southeast High School, in Oklahoma City. Photo by Brandon Snider.

Six decades have passed since Pete White roamed the halls of Southeast High School. But the longtime city councilman is still loyal to his alma mater and enjoys celebrating the success of its students. In 2012, Pete helped establish the Southeast High School Alumni Association Support Fund, gifting more than $20,000 to the fund to ensure the teachers and students continue to thrive long after he’s gone.

In addition, Pete has supported a variety of funds for charitable organizations at the Oklahoma City Community Foundation for nearly 30 years. He says he discovered long ago that a memorial gift given to charity is like ‘sending flowers that never die.’

Southeast principal Mylissa Hall said the fund provides invaluable support for the Oklahoma City public school.

“Pete has never forgotten his roots,” she said. “His support of the fund has helped us power through constraining budget cuts and is a morale booster for our Spartan family!”

Learn how you can make a gift to a charitable organization endowment at occf.org/coegift.