Apr. 1, 2019 – From a single staffer sharing office space with the Kirkpatrick Oil Company, to a permanent headquarters with more than 30 employees in Automobile Alley, the Oklahoma City Community Foundation has come a long way in 50 years.
The organization held a dinner Tuesday, March 26, at the Oklahoma City Golf and Country Club to celebrate a half-century of work to make the community a better place to live.
Board Chairman Steve Agee recognized Community Foundation trustees, committee members, volunteers, staff and others for their contributions.
“We are honored to have you all with us tonight, not only to celebrate our 50th anniversary, but to celebrate you and the energy you have committed to this organization.”
Agee remembered achievements reached through the vision of founder, John E. Kirkpatrick, including the first permanent endowment for the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum and the Community Foundation’s first scholarship fund.
Community Foundation President Nancy Anthony recognized key staff members and civic leaders who have made extraordinary contributions. She ticked through several milestones that define the community foundation’s unique place in Oklahoma City’s heritage.
“Tonight, is for those who have helped guide the vision of the Community Foundation and who have provided the leadership for all that we have and will continue to accomplish,” Anthony said.
She looked back at the Community Foundation’s philanthropic journey, starting in 1969, when Kirkpatrick worked to carry out a vision that few of his friends understood. She recalled how the Community Foundation flourished through the Oil Boom years and how it faltered with the rest of the state after the bust.
“In 1999, we celebrated our 30th anniversary and grew to $359 million in assets, and in 2006, we broke ground on an 18,000-square-foot building at the corner of 10th and Broadway. It was the first new office construction project along Automobile Alley in four decades.
“Our founder would not live to see the completion of that new facility. He died on Oct. 3, 2006 at the age of 80, leaving behind a legacy of generosity that will impact our community for generations,” Anthony said.
“By 2018, the Community Foundation had grown to $1 billion in assets and a staff of 35,” she said.
Blake Keesee, great grandson of John Kirkpatrick, concluded the evening with remarks from his father, Christian Keesee, who serves as a trustee.
The Community Foundation has a number of activities planned throughout 2019 to celebrate its 50th anniversary, including $1 million in grants, a massive landscape improvement project along the Oklahoma River and an interactive art installation in downtown Oklahoma City. Learn more at occf.org/50events.