Oklahoma City Community Foundation to Plant 1,000 Trees on Oklahoma River

In celebration of its 50th anniversary in 2019, the Oklahoma City Community Foundation has joined with the City of Oklahoma City and the Oklahoma City Riverfront Redevelopment Authority to plan a major tree-planting project along the Oklahoma River’s north shore.

Pending Oklahoma City Council approval on Sept. 25, the Community Foundation will fund and help coordinate a landscaping overhaul like no other in the river’s history. The scale is enormous, stretching three and a half miles between S Harvey Avenue and S Portland Avenue, transforming an empty stretch of treeless space into a linear park, full of shade, color and scenery.

Under the proposed plan, the Community Foundation will plant 1,000 trees ranging between 10 and 12-feet-tall along the cycling and pedestrian trail. Additional enhancements would include native grasses and wildflowers to create managed, natural areas that are complete with erosion control and seating along the way.

Installation is planned to begin in late October or November, and work would continue through March, said Brian Dougherty, the Community Foundation’s director of parks and public spaces. Once trees are planted, the Oklahoma City Parks and Recreation Department would operate an irrigation system that uses water from the river.

The project is part of the Oklahoma City Community Foundation’s 50th anniversary celebration, which begins in 2019. Once complete, the stretch would be named the Oklahoma City Community Foundation River Trail.

John E. Kirkpatrick founded the Oklahoma City Community Foundation in 1969, connecting many generous donors with hard-working charitable organizations to create a greater community. Oklahoma City Community Foundation President Nancy B. Anthony said the organization has been helping to make a difference for half a century, connecting donors to charitable projects throughout central Oklahoma.

“This project is a great example of how we can help donors make a greater impact on the community with their charitable gifts,” she said.

The Oklahoma City Community Foundation has been working to improve public lands throughout central Oklahoma for a number of years. Through its Margaret Annis Boys Trust and Parks & Public Space Initiative, the Community Foundation has awarded nearly $3.5 million to fund hundreds of beautification projects at schools, neighborhoods and public parks in central Oklahoma.

“When we look at this project on the river, we’re not just looking at a five or 10-year impact. We want a sustainable impact that will continue to be performing 50 years from now,” said Dougherty, who has spent 40 years as a horticulturist and landscape architect in Oklahoma City.

After recognizing a need to enhance the western half of the trail with natural shade, the Community Foundation proposed the project to the city and to the Riverfront Redevelopment Authority, Dougherty said. Since February, he has been working with the city’s parks department to develop plans, and city council approval on Sept. 25 will be the final step.

“Once again, the Oklahoma City Community Foundation has stepped up to make our park system better, creating shade glades for both aesthetics as well as cooling places for trail users,” said Doug Kupper, director of the Oklahoma City Parks and Recreation Department.

The trail project will accomplish a number of objectives set forth by Oklahoma City’s comprehensive plan, “planokc,” as well as the Oklahoma City Parks Master Plan. In addition to expanding trail usage by increasing shade with a tree canopy, the project will help connect Oklahoma City’s trail system and provide a transition from the western half of the trail to Scissortail Park and the Boathouse District.

“This project is a prototype,” said Dougherty, who’s been on the Community Foundation’s staff for 20 years. “Once complete, we’ll look for other landscaping enhancement opportunities along Oklahoma City’s 100 miles of trails and throughout the parks system.”

Donors Invited to Help Nonprofits Earn More Than $1 Million in Matching Grant Donations

Paul and Ann Milburn at Children's Hospital
The late Paul Milburn and his wife, Ann, are longtime supporters of the Children’s Hospital Foundation, providing funding for four endowed chairs. Most recently, matching grant opportunities of more than $1 million have been made available for 14 charitable organizations through the Milburn’s donor advised fund at the Oklahoma City Community Foundation.

Late Shawnee businessman Paul Milburn’s charitable fund, administered by the Oklahoma City Community Foundation, recently announced it will match more than $1 million in gifts to 14 charitable organizations. The matching grant opportunity offers donors who wish to support these organizations a dollar-for-dollar match up to a specified amount for charitable gifts made through June 30, 2019.

Organizations were invited to apply for the match opportunity based on the charitable interests specified by Milburn in his estate plan. An Oklahoma native, Milburn was the founder of Paul Milburn Acreages, through which he purchased, developed, sold and financed land throughout Pottawatomie County and the surrounding area. His work funded his passion to “make a difference” where it is most needed. Inspired by the philanthropy of Oklahoma City Community Foundation founder John E. Kirkpatrick, Milburn established the matching grant opportunity through his estate plans to continue supporting the organizations he cared about in life.

“Similar to Mr. Kirkpatrick, Paul recognized that we all have a shared responsibility to help our community,” said Nancy B. Anthony, Oklahoma City Community Foundation President. “They wanted to provide a way to help charitable organizations engage a broad base of contributors from the community, as well as help others make a difference.”

In addition to the matching grant opportunities, the fund will award grants of $125,000 to the Salvation Army of Shawnee, Oklahoma, and $50,000 to bring a lectureship on adolescent medicine to The Children’s Hospital at OU Medical Center in Oklahoma City.

Following are the charitable organizations eligible for matching donations, as well as the matching grant amounts. Individuals interested in contributing toward the matches may contact each organization individually.

  • Baptist Home for Girls (Madill, Oklahoma) – $25,000 to support the all-girls residential campus of Oklahoma Baptist Homes for Children.
  • Big Brothers Big Sisters of Shawnee – $25,000 to support mentorship programs for youth in Shawnee, Oklahoma.
  • Boys Ranch Town (Edmond, Oklahoma) – $25,000 to support the all-boys residential campus and working ranch of Oklahoma Baptist Homes for Children.
  • Groundswell International – $125,000 to strengthen sustainable agriculture and promote healthy food systems in Latin America and the Caribbean.
  • Junior Achievement of Oklahoma – $7,500 to provide programs on financial literacy, workforce readiness and entrepreneurship to public school students in Shawnee and Pottawatomie County.
  • Lions Meadows of Hope (Perkins, Oklahoma) – $250,000 to support their endowment fund at the Oklahoma City Community Foundation and $200,000 to support programming at the foster care community.
  • Neighborhood Services Organization (Oklahoma City) – $100,000 to support housing solutions for at-risk and homeless individuals, and to launch a vocational training and development program.
  • Oklahoma Lions KidSight (Oklahoma City) – $25,000 to support vision screening for preschool and school-age children throughout the state.
  • Pambe Ghana (Oklahoma City) – $30,000 to provide teacher training, library services and other support for the La’Angum Learning Center providing primary education for children in Northern Ghana.
  • Pottawattamie County Historical Society (Shawnee, Oklahoma) – $25,000 to support their endowment fund at the Oklahoma City Community Foundation.
  • TEEM – The Education and Employment Ministry (Oklahoma City) – $25,000 to support job training and housing assistance to help incarcerated individuals re-enter society.
  • The United Methodist Boys Ranch (Gore, Oklahoma) – $25,000 to support the campus-based foster care program operated by the Oklahoma United Methodist Circle of Care.
  • Water4 (Oklahoma City) – $25,000 to support their endowment fund at the Oklahoma City Community Foundation and $75,000 to provide access to sustainable, safe water for people living in Ghana.
  • Westview Boys Home (Hollis, Oklahoma) – $25,000 to support the nonprofit, residential child care agency in southwest Oklahoma.