Category Archives: Community

A Higher Degree of Giving

Endowment gifts provide lasting support for local charities

Steve Kamm with students
Retired professor Steve Kamm used an IRA Charitable Rollover gift to create an endowment for Oklahoma City Community College international students.

After living and studying abroad during his own college years, Steve Kamm understands the unique challenges faced by international students. During his 39 years teaching at Oklahoma City Community College (OCCC), Steve’s experiences traveling the world helped him connect with students from other countries and they naturally gravitated toward his classes. Although Steve retired in 2011, he continues to help international students through an endowment fund he established at the Oklahoma City Community Foundation.

“When I learned that most financial aid programs are not available to international students, I wanted to find a way to help,” Steve said. “My financial advisor suggested the Oklahoma City Community Foundation.”

By working together with our development director, Joe Carter, Steve is achieving his goal of supporting students now and well beyond his lifetime. Steve established a charitable gift annuity that yields annual payments to him. After his death, the remaining value in the annuity would establish the Kamm International Student Fund to support awards for international students attending OCCC.

While Steve liked the idea of receiving an annual income from his gift, he also wanted to help students during his lifetime. Once Steve turned 70 ½, his tax situation changed and he was able to utilize the IRA charitable rollover provision to create the Kamm International Student Fund now, instead of after his death.

“Everyone my age realizes when you turn 70 ½, you are required to take a minimum distribution from your retirement account,” Steve said. “By making an IRA charitable rollover gift with those funds, I didn’t have to pay taxes on the distribution and I could begin helping international students now through the endowment fund.”

The Kamm International Student Fund distributes annual funding to OCCC, enabling the college to present the first award for international students this spring.

“International students add so much to the OCCC community,” said Randy Cassimus, OCCC acting director of development. “Their experiences and willingness to share their perspectives help broaden vistas for classmates who, quite literally, may have never traveled beyond the state line. We are so grateful to Mr. Kamm for the philanthropic action he has taken to further enrich life experiences for all of our students.”

Learn how you provide lasting support to any of the 360 charities with endowment funds at the Oklahoma City Community Foundation in our recent Charitable Organization Endowment Program Review below. To learn more about our tax-wise giving options like an IRA Charitable Rollover gift, contact Joe Carter at 405/606-2914.

Taking Action Toward a Healthier Community

MetroFit Zumba class
Zumba class at the Metrofit Wellness Community Outreach Program has participants dancing their way to a healthier way of lifestyle.

With the nation’s eighth-highest obesity rate, Oklahoma continues to face challenges in improving the health of our residents. The Oklahoma City Community Foundation has joined forces with local organizations to take action to create a healthier community. Through our Wellness Initiative, we support community-based programs that make it easier for citizens to engage in a sustainable course of daily exercise, healthy eating and other wellness activities, minimizing the potential of future illness and disease. Since 2014, we have awarded $476,984 in grants to 14 organizations to support community wellness programs.

One Wellness Initiative grant recipient that is making a difference in the health of Oklahoma City residents is Metro Technology Centers. The Oklahoma City Community Foundation has awarded $60,000 in grants to the organization to support a free community wellness program. The MetroFit program offers a variety of free fitness classes to the public at Metro Tech’s Springlake and South Bryant campuses. Since the program began, participants have reported an overall increase in regular physical activity, with 14 percent of attendees exercising more than four hours per week.

“The MetroFit program has more than doubled in capacity and enhanced the lives of our community through physical activity and nutritional education, which resulted in lowering blood pressure, reducing cholesterol, weight loss, enhancing self-esteem and so much more,” said Valerie McMurry, Metro Technology Centers Wellness Coordinator. “Our MetroFit Wellness Community program expansion could not have been possible without the financial support of the Oklahoma City Community Foundation.”

Organizations interested in collaborating to improve health outcomes for Oklahomans are welcome to join our Central Oklahoma Wellness Alliance by contacting Sally Ray, at 405/606-2930. Groups with community-based wellness programs interested in applying for a grant can learn more at occf.org/wellnessinitiative. Individuals looking to participate in community wellness activities can visit GetMovingOKC.org for an event calendar, as well as information about trails, parks, and other facilities where residents can get moving.