Category Archives: Scholarships

Investing in Education Through Scholarships

Kelly Guyen with Linda Brinkworth and Phyllis Bennett
Phyllis Bennett (right) and daughter Linda Brinkworth (middle) are two scholarship donors who are helping Kelly Nguyen (left) follow her dreams. Photo by Brandon Snider.

The commonalities that exist between Owen Bennett and Kelly Nguyen aren’t easily recognizable. Owen, from Holdenville, Oklahoma, was a veteran, beloved husband and father of three. Kelly is a 2016 graduate of Edmond Memorial High School and is pursuing an engineering degree from Colorado School of Mines. Both Kelly and Owen, however, grew up in single-parent families. Both have witnessed the struggles faced by those who lack higher education, and both have been fearless and victorious when facing childhood adversities. Their past comparisons aren’t the only thing binding Kelly to Owen and his family, though. Kelly is a recipient of the Bennett Family Scholarship that is helping fund her education, overcome barriers and prepare her for a better future.

After Owen’s death in 2015, his wife, Phyllis, and their children, Linda, Lyle and Rob, wanted to establish a scholarship to reflect the values their family was built on and help single-parent students. Linda knew about the Oklahoma City Community Foundation and spoke with her attorney about the fund options. After they learned a scholarship fund required no administrative work from the family, they needed little convincing that it was the right path for them.

The Bennett Family Scholarship at the Oklahoma City Community Foundation benefits children of single parents who intend to pursue studies in the field of education, science, technology, engineering or mathematics. Each area of study is related to the career or background of a Bennett family member.

“We understand the financial hardships that single-parent families endure and we want to help,” said Linda. “The Bennett Family Scholarship mirrors our family values and what we stand for.”

Kelly says that receiving the scholarship has been a great source of inspiration and motivation.

“Overcoming the barriers in my childhood has motivated me to attain success at the highest level,” said Kelly. “Instead of letting my past define me, I learned to empower myself through improving my community and helping others. I intend to spend my life dedicated to that endeavor, and I take pride in these accomplishments that, ironically, derived from overcoming adversity.”

Learn more about our scholarship program and find out how we can help you make a difference in the lives of students in our 2017 Scholarship Review.

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.