History

Below are historical highlights of the Oklahoma City Community Foundation.

1969 | 1970-79 | 1980-89 | 1990-99 | 2000-12 | 2014 | 2015

1969
Oilman and philanthropist John E. Kirkpatrick and eight fellow community leaders founded the Oklahoma City Community Foundation in 1969. The group was spurred into action by the passage of the National Tax Reform Act of 1969 that imposed new restrictions on private foundations. As a result, the considerable tax advantages of contributing to a public community foundation made sense. Endowment funds created by donors could now provide long-term support for charities, scholarships and a variety of community needs as well as meet the charitable goals of the donors. A community foundation would encourage more individuals to create funds to benefit the community.

Designed to meet the test of time, the Oklahoma City Community Foundation was modeled after the Cleveland Foundation, one of the oldest and largest community foundations in the country. From its beginning, the Oklahoma City Community Foundation has operated within a system of checks and balances that ensures accountability and good stewardship. Its structure allows the organization to adapt to the changing needs of the community and to ensure the donor’s intent is preserved.

The first year of operations ended with net worth of $45,299 from one gift.

1970-79
Florence Ogden Wilson sold a tract of her family’s land to the state and she deeded $50,000 to establish charitable organization endowment funds for five nonprofit organizations. Her gift was the first designated endowment fund gift. See pages 38-47 for more information.

E.K. Gaylord, longtime president of the Oklahoma Publishing Company, established the first permanent scholarship fund in 1970.

John and Eleanor Kirkpatrick offered the first of the Kirkpatrick Match Challenges that matched funds raised during a defined time period by charitable organizations for their endowment funds. The match raised $740,000 that the Kirkpatricks matched dollar for dollar. The match was in celebration of our 10th anniversary.

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1980-89
Oilman W.T. “Bill” Payne was an astute businessman and philanthropist. Following his death in 1981, we received a bequest from Mr. Payne’s estate, the assets of Payne Petroleum that more than doubled the organization’s assets.

Nancy B. Anthony became the fourth executive director in 1985. When she joined the organization, she was the only full-time employee. At the end of Fiscal Year 2012, Mrs. Anthony now oversees a staff of 31 and assets in excess of $632 million.
Following the sale of their food distribution company, William and Margaret Davis, on the advice of their professional advisor, established the first Affiliated Fund in 1987.

To help the state celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Land Run of 1889, the Trustees provided grants supporting seven major projects for the Centennial celebration. This initiated a focus on developing new programs.

1990-99
A $1.3 million bequest from Margaret Annis Boys launched a new focus area in beautification of public land and parks in Oklahoma County. Since 1991, the Margaret Annis Boys Trust has awarded more than $1.5 million in grants and allowed us to work with residents and city and county officials to improve public land.

In 1992, the Trustees held the organization’s first ever long range planning process to set forth goals for the future. From this meeting the mission statement was developed and the bylaws were changed to increase the number of Trustees from the original nine to 12.

The After School Options (ASO) Initiative was the first major focus program area initiated by the Trustees in response to a community-wide need for positive activities for youth during non-school hours. For nine years, ASO was a catalyst in bringing together civic, religious and government entities to address the need and create programs that exist today.

April 19, 1995 is a date of significant impact on our community. Our community’s tragedy became the nation’s tragedy and contributions of support immediately poured in. Because of an existing relationship with area nonprofit organizations, we were able to take a lead role in the community’s response and we continue to administer the Oklahoma City Disaster Relief Fund.

In 1998, the Trustee Scholarship Initiative is launched to bring together guidance counselors from high schools in central Oklahoma to enhance their knowledge and resources for their students seeking post-secondary education. The initiative also awards scholarships through five programs.

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2000-14
Jeanette. L. Gamba was elected the first female president of the Board of Trustees. She would serve three consecutive years in that leadership role.

To address a shortage of qualified nurses for nonprofit hospitals, we established the Nurse Education Program to fund scholarships for nurses employed at the facilities who are seeking certification as a Registered Nurse or a bachelor’s degree in nursing science.

DonorCentral, an online reporting system, was added to our website in 2003 as a resource for donors with permanent Advised Funds so they can review their fund value and gifts made to the fund as well as recommend grants. In 2004, this service was made available to nonprofit organizations with permanent endowment funds so representatives can view fund activity.

During a long range planning session in 2004, the Trustees addressed the need for a new facility to accommodate more services for donors and a growing staff. A Trustee task force located property at North Broadway Avenue between North 10th and 9th streets that was purchased. A competitive selection process led to hiring an architectural firm.

Our founder, John E. Kirkpatrick would not live to see the completion of the new facility. He died on Oct. 3, 2006 at the age of 98. He left behind a legacy of generosity and caring that will have an impact on the community for generations. The family’s history of giving continues through the Kirkpatrick Family Affiliated Fund that is now led by his grandson, Christian K. Keesee.

In 2007, the staff relocated to the new 18,000-square-foot facility that features nearly 9,000 square feet of public space available for use by nonprofit organizations and community groups.

To mark our 40th anniversary in 2009, the Trustees provided support for several key projects including Get Reading Oklahoma, an initiative to assist Oklahoma adults in improving their reading, writing and math skills.

The introduction of the iFund Grants Program in 2011 provided an opportunity to help meet community needs in three areas: Access to Health Care, Opportunities for Children and Services for Elderly.

In 2012, we partnered with GuideStar to make available GiveSmartOKC, a comprehensive online resource for the community.

In January 2013, we worked with Cannon Financial Institute to offer a monthly teleconference series that provides 1.5 hours of continuing education credit for professional advisors. The series, Estate Planning 1.5, averages 50 or more in attendance each month. The series will continue in 2014.

In March 2013, we lost a devoted friend and supporter with the death of John L. Belt. Mr. Belt had served as the general counsel for our organization for more than 30 years. He played an invaluable role in the growth of this organizaiton and will be deeply missed.

Following the devastating storms that occurred in May 2013, reactivated the Tornado Recovery Fund first established in response to the May 3, 1999 tornadoes. We received more than 1,750 gifts totaling in excess of $3.4 million. Of that amount, $2.4 million was given to the Shelter Oklahoma Schools fund established to encourage the construction of storm shelters at Oklahoma schools. The gifts to the Tornado Recovery Fund are being used to provide intermediate and long-term assistance to those directly impacted.

We ended Fiscal Year 2013 on June 30 with assets in excess of $706 million, the highest year-end market value to date. Other financial highlights for the year include $37 million in gifts received and $23 million in grants awarded. Our Fiscal Year 2013 annual report is available here.

Our scholarship program continues to grow and have an impact across the state. During Fiscal Year 2013, our staff processed more than 1,500 applications. The program provided $1.5 million in awards to more than 600 worthy students. You can view the list of scholarship funds here. In the fall of 2013, we adapted the paper scholarship application process to an online system. Read more about the online application system here.

During the fiscal year, our Charitable Organization Endowment Program added 10 new funds for a total of 320. Annual distributions to the organizations in 2013 was $6.7 million. The program is the largest of its type in the United States. View the participating organizations here.

2014
The year 2014 marks the 45th anniversary of the Oklahoma City Community Foundation.

In 2012, we began working with the Oklahoma City Planning Department to develop a comprehensive plan for the Oklahoma City parks system. The WRT firm served as consultants for the plan. With the input of our Trustees, a stakeholders group and citizens, prior research and studies, the 2013 Parks Master Plan was completed in August of 2013 and was accepted by the Oklahoma City Council on January 21, 2014. The plan will serve as a guide for future programs and projects. You can learn more here.

The staff and Trustees participated in a long-range planning process and from that, a strategic plan will be put in place that will direct the activities of our organization for the next five years.

By May, the number of nonprofit organization profiles at GiveSmartOKC.org had surpassed 240. The website, a partnership with GuideStar, also launched a new look and improved navigation in July. Visitors to the website will find comprehensive information about the governance, management, fiscal and programming aspects of each of the nonprofits.

The Wellness Initiative was launched in 2014 and will promote the integration of physical activity, good nutrition and other healthy lifestyle choices into the daily routine of children and adults living in Oklahoma County. In addition, the Parks & Public Space Initiative was revamped and will now focus on the development of existing public parks to meet the health and recreational needs of the public.

Investment performance total return for the fiscal year ending June 30 was 14.56 percent. Assets reached an all-time high with unaudited figures showing $810 million. Total gifts received was in excess of $33 million and grants totaling $31 million was awarded to more than 600 charitable organizations. In addition, 84 new funds were established during the fiscal year.

Tony Tyler assumed the role of Chairman of the board, effective July 1.

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2015
The Wellness Initiative awarded the program’s inaugural grants. The funded programs will be evaluated to hopefully replicate in other locations.

The Parks & Public Space Initiative has awarded several grants benefitting public schools in central Oklahoma that are enhancing the school grounds not only for educational purposes but also to promote more physical activity by the students, faculty and surrounding neighborhood.

The Oklahoma City Community Foundation was selected to participate in the Philanthropic Preparedness, Resiliency and Emergency Partnership (PPREP), a project of the Funder’s Network for Smart Growth and Livable Communities. The project is bringing together 18 community foundations in an eight-state Midwest region to share and learn about disaster preparedness, response and recovery. During 2015, our staff participated in three meetings and have been able to expand our knowledge and understanding of leadership in the arena of disaster preparedness, response and recovery and also share our experiences with the group.

For the fiscal year ending June 30, 2015, Community Programs grants awarded topped $1.5 million.

The Carolyn Watson Rural Oklahoma Community Foundation is expanding its programming efforts in rural Oklahoma. A bequest from Mrs. Watson’s estate is also providing for a significant scholarship program for qualified students graduating from rural high schools in Oklahoma.

Tony Tyler is reelected to serve a second, one-year term as Chairman of the board.

For the second time in two years, the Ken and Gae Rees family offered a multi-year grant in the amount of $500,000 to a nonprofit in central Oklahoma that was addressing breaking the cycle of poverty. In 2014, the family recommended the initial grant from their advised fund to the Boys & Girls Club of Oklahoma County, allowing the nonprofit to open a club at Cesar Chavez Elementary School in south Oklahoma City, where 97 percent of the student body receives free or reduced lunches. The new club quickly reached its maximum membership and the students are thriving thanks to daily assistance with homework, leadership training and physical activity. In 2015, the family reached out to our staff to again facilitate to grant process. In May, the family recommended a $500,000 grant from their advised fund to ReMerge, a comprehensive female diversion program designed to transform pregnant women and mothers facing incarceration for nonviolent crimes into productive citizens. The program works with both the women and their families and offers treatment for mental health and substance abuse issues, housing, transportation, parenting and family support, legal assistance and much more.

The installation of a state-of-the-art digital sign along our North 10th Street property is helping us share information 24/7 about our programs and donor options. The sign is 24 feet tall and features a digital screen that is eight feet in height and 16 feet in width.