Do You Want to Help Oklahoma Students Pursue Higher Education? Learn How the Oklahoma City Community Foundation Can Help You Establish Your Own Unique Scholarship Today!

Roy and Darlene Thornton never had children of their own, but that didn’t stop the Mid-Del couple from positively impacting youth in their community. With the help of the Oklahoma City Community Foundation, the Thorntons created the Roy Edward Thornton and Darlene Young Thornton Scholarship to support local students committed to community service.

 “If these were our children, what can we do,” asked Roy. “Well, we can do a lot. We are not rich or anything like that, but we can get things done.”

The Thorntons didn’t have an extraordinary amount of money to give, but they knew the size of their donation didn’t matter, they could still make a difference. The scholarship fund the Thorntons started in 2013 has grown from a $1,000 award supporting two recipients each year to a $2,100 award supporting seven recipients each year.

Del City High School graduate Kya McFadden is a 2019 recipient of the Thornton’s scholarship. An active student always involved in community service, Kya met with her guidance counselor and they determined the Thornton’s scholarship was the perfect fit for her. Kya now studies education at Langston University and hopes to  become a teacher and give back to others.

“If I had the opportunity to meet with the Thorntons or members from the Oklahoma City Community Foundation, I would tell them thank you for all they’re doing for students like myself and thank you for the opportunities they’re providing,” said Kya. “If it had not been for them, I don’t know if I would be where I am right now.”

The Roy Edward and Darlene Young Thornton Scholarship is one of more than 130 permanently-endowed scholarship opportunities available to students throughout Oklahoma. As the largest independent scholarship provider in the state, the Oklahoma City Community Foundation awarded $2.5 million in scholarships to nearly 800 students in the 2019-20 academic year.

If you’d like more information on how you can establish your own unique scholarship to help deserving students in our community, contact Joe Carter at (405) 606-2914 today.

Nonprofit Funding Holds Strong Despite Economic Downturn

A man at a table receiving information from a woman.
The OCCF’s Helen Stone prepares to hand over a distribution check at last year’s endowment distribution party.

The Oklahoma City Community Foundation announced today that more than $5.2 million in endowment fund distributions will go out this week to 365 central Oklahoma nonprofits. And, despite severe economic disruptions tied to COVID-19, the sum of this year’s distribution is an increase over the amount given in 2019.  

“These distributions help anchor the budgets for many of our nonprofit partners, assuring their long-term sustainability and allowing them to plan for the future,” said Nancy Anthony, president of the Oklahoma City Community Foundation. “We could not be more pleased to report that the size of our annual distributions has not been affected by these uncertain times.”

Each fall, nonprofits that have established endowment funds at the Community Foundation receive a distribution generated from the fund. The funds are established by the respective organizations or individual donors and are managed through the Community Foundation’s Charitable Organization Endowment Program. In addition to an increased distribution amount, nonprofits are also receiving this year’s distribution months in advance to help with current fundraising and cash flow needs that might have been affected by the pandemic.

“We are excited about the size of this year’s distribution,” Anthony said. “Agencies will receive an average of $14,800, and 20 of the organizations will receive $50,000 or more.”  

Supporters have been donating through the Community Foundation’s endowment program for years, and now it is the largest of its kind in the nation.

“Some of the funds were established by Oklahoma City Community Foundation Founder John E. Kirkpatrick 50 years ago,” Anthony said, “and the size of our distributions have increased through the years, helping to strengthen our community and improve quality of life.”

Anthony said there are a lot of nonprofits in central Oklahoma making a real difference in the community, and it is important for the community to continue supporting them because of the positive difference they are making in people’s lives.

But many donors struggle to find organizations that best fit their individual interests, so the Community Foundation is hoping to help through GiveSmartOKC.org, a website with in-depth information about more than 300 charitable organizations in the Oklahoma City area.

GiveSmartOKC.org is a great first step to giving,” Anthony said.