Late Shawnee businessman Paul Milburn’s charitable fund, administered by the Oklahoma City Community Foundation, recently announced it will award nearly $2 million in grants to charitable organizations with Oklahoma roots, including more than $1.2 million in matching grants. 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, 2020.
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 during his lifetime.
“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 Milburn fund awarded $595,000 in grants to six charitable organizations, including a unique $400,000 grant to support the collaboration of World Neighbors and Groundswell International, two organizations doing similar work in the same underdeveloped region of Africa.
“World Neighbors and Groundswell International both believe in the same principles, and Mr. Milburn has financially supported both organizations for many years,” said Kate Schecter, president and CEO of World Neighbors. “We are honored to have the opportunity to use his grant to combine our forces and help one of the poorest, most difficult regions of the world.”
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.
- Big Brothers Big Sisters of Oklahoma – $25,000 to support programming for the Shawnee location of the child mentorship organization.
- Fight for the Forgotten – $25,000 to provide land, clean water and the development of a sustainable agriculture for the Mbuti Pygmy tribe in the Ituri rainforest of the Congo.
- 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 – $250,000 to support their endowment fund at the Oklahoma City Community Foundation, $200,000 to support programming at the foster care community in Perkins, Oklahoma, and $250,000 to match funds raised by individual Lions Clubs International programs to support the Lions Meadows of Hope.
- Neighborhood Services Organization – $50,000 to support the Milburn Technology Learning Center, a vocational training and development program for young men living in the Carolyn Williams Center in Oklahoma City.
- Oklahoma Lions KidSight – $50,000 to support vision screening for preschool and school-age children throughout the state.
- Pambe Ghana – $34,200 to support teacher training and the construction of a teacher dormitory at the La’Angum Learning Center in northern Ghana, as well as fund the educational costs for two teachers to pursue a Montessori teaching degree.
- Pottawattamie County Historical Society – $25,000 to support their endowment fund at the Oklahoma City Community Foundation.
- Shawnee Community Foundation – $20,000 to provide funding for classrooms in the Shawnee Public Schools district.
- TEEM – The Education and Employment Ministry – $20,000 to help the Oklahoma City organization provide job training and housing assistance to help incarcerated individuals re-enter society.
- Water4 – $10,000 to support their endowment fund at the Oklahoma City Community Foundation, and $125,000 to provide access to sustainable, safe water for people living in Ghana.
- World Neighbors – $65,000 to support education and training for impoverished communities throughout the world so they can fight hunger, poverty and disease and become self-sufficient.
The following charitable organizations received outright grants from Milburn’s charitable fund:
- Foster Care Summit – $40,000 to establish an Oklahoma-based convention that educates and trains employees of local foster care agencies.
- TEEM – The Education and Employment Ministry – $15,000 to fund enrollment costs for 10 job certification programs to help individuals gain skills employers are looking for.
- The Salvation Army – $100,000 to support The Salvation Army of Shawnee.
- St. Paul’s United Methodist Church – $35,000 to fund a youth minister position, and $5,000 to support youth and children programming for the church located in Shawnee.
- World Neighbors/Groundswell International – $400,000 to support a collaborative effort to train and educate communities in the Sahel region of Africa.
Founded in 1969, the Oklahoma City Community Foundation is a 501(c)(3) public charity that works with donors throughout the state to create charitable funds that will benefit our community both now and in the future. For more information, visit www.occf.org.