Oklahoma City Community Foundation Helps Family Find Purpose, Healing Through Memorial Fund

Shilpa Abbitt with a dog
Shilpa Abbitt pets Targa, a hospital therapy dog at The Children’s Hospital at OU Medical Center.

After the death of her 11-year-old son Austin in 2013 to cancer, Shilpa Abbitt focused her philanthropy on helping kids remain kids – especially those who have chronic or life-threatening illnesses. To expand her charitable impact, she established the Big A Charitable Fund at the Oklahoma City Community Foundation.

“When you die, you leave behind a legacy, but when a child dies, time doesn’t allow for the creation of a legacy,” Shilpa said. “The job rests with the parents who are tasked with ensuring his memory lives on and continues to positively impact our world. With each breath, we strive to keep his name alive and not forgotten. And through this charitable fund, we celebrate Austin.”

By establishing a donor advised fund, Shilpa and her friends and family can make tax-deductible contributions in Austin’s memory and the Community Foundation’s team of experts manages the donations and handles all of the legal requirements. Shilpa also has the freedom to select which charitable causes to support through the fund, ensuring that Austin’s legacy makes an impact where it’s most needed.

In 2017, Shilpa made a grant from the Big A Charitable Fund to help The Children’s Hospital Volunteers in Oklahoma City obtain an additional therapy dog to provide loving comfort for its young patients.

“Hospitals can be frightening for young children,” said Shilpa. “The Big A Charitable Fund was created to help them be kids and better cope with their situation.”

To learn how the Oklahoma City Community Foundation can help you create a legacy for a loved one, contact us at 405/235-5603.