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Our Mission

Our mission is to advance excellence, create champions and build strong community support for lasting change in Oklahoma City Public Schools.


Our History

The Foundation's proud story.

In 1983, the National Commission on Excellence in Education released the report A Nation At Risk: The Imperative For Educational Reform. The report stated that “…the educational foundations of our society are presently being eroded by a rising tide of mediocrity that threatens our very future as a Nation and a people.”

In the aftermath of the report, public school foundations began forming across the nation. The Oklahoma City Public Schools administration and school board selected a steering committee of 13 citizens to determine the feasibility of forming a collaboration designed to improve the quality of the school district. As a result, the Oklahoma City Public Schools Foundation was established in 1984.

Ray Potts, the Foundation’s first chairman, and its governing body of 22 trustees laid the groundwork for many of the Foundation’s lasting collaborations with the district. In 1985, the first Wall of Fame Humanitarian Awards Dinner was held as a fundraiser for public education. It was quickly followed in 1986 with the first Spring Honors Luncheon, now known as Stars of Education. What would become an annual event was held to honor outstanding educators, students and volunteers. It was this event where the Foundation’s first grants were awarded. By the 1990s, the Foundation’s role in creating a bridge between the community and the district was firmly established. The first student scholarships were awarded in 1993 and Partners in Education launched in 1994. These milestones were quickly followed by the introduction of the first TEAM campaign in 1995 and the debut of A+ Arts Spectacular! in 1998, which has led to many Arts in Education initiatives.

It was in the late 1990s that a diverse group of civic, business and community leaders formed Project KIDS (Keep Improving District Schools), led by local philanthropist Jean Gumerson and attorney Bruce Day. The committee led a massive education reform effort driven through a process of community involvement. A collaboration between the City of Oklahoma City, Oklahoma City Public Schools, the Board of Education and the Foundation, Project KIDS’ final report, Building a Learning City, gave specific recommendations for improving learning, facilities, fiscal responsibility, governance and developing and maintaining community involvement. MAPS for Kids (Metropolitan Area Public Schools) brought the funding necessary for capital improvements detailed in the Project KIDS report. In 2009, the Foundation revisited the Project KIDS report, assessing progress toward its goals and issuing recommendations aimed at helping the district’s academic operations catch-up with the construction program’s success.

In November 2014, The Foundation launched a partnership with DonorsChoose to connect donors directly to local classrooms. We offer support for OKCPS teachers whose projects meet our criteria. In 2015, support from The Foundation’s allowed the successful Urban Teacher Preparation Academy program to expand. It provides valuable tools to teachers entering the urban school environment. The Partners in Action initiative was formed in 2015 to connect community partners to classrooms. Our partners range from large corporations to small businesses and churches. We launched the Bilingual Teacher Pipeline Project in January 2016 to help bilingual paraprofessionals from Oklahoma City Public Schools attend college to become certified teachers. In 2016 we assisted in promoting and communicating the necessity of passing a $180 million bond to maintain OKCPS schools, which passed with a super majority.

Today, the Foundation continues its ongoing effort to develop and support programs that improve education for the children of Oklahoma City and to elevate its critical role in connecting the resources of the community to the needs of students and teachers in Oklahoma City Public Schools.

Board Leadership

"Before you are a leader, success is all about growing yourself. When you become a leader, success is all about growing others." - Jack Welch


Percy Kirk, Cox Communications



Claudia San Pedro, SONIC, America’s Drive-In


Mary Mélon


2019-2020 Board of Directors
Paco Balderrama, City of Oklahoma City
Christine Berney, OKC Thunder
Tana Cashion, Devon Energy Corp. 
Bryan Coleman, PricewaterhouseCoopers, LLP
Kevin Gordon, Crowe and Dunlevy
Brent Hensley, KOCO-TV 5
Charles Holland, BancFirst
Rusty N. LaForge, Stride Bank
Tim McLaughlin, McLaughlin Family Foundation
Cristina F. McQuistion, OGE Energy Corporation
Willy Morales, The Boeing Company
Xavier Neira, Logatoré, LLC
Cathy O'Connor, OKC Alliance for Economic Development
Sarah Roberts, Inasmuch Foundation
Teresa Rose Crook, Communities Foundation of Oklahoma
Glenna Tanenbaum, Gardener Tanenbaum Holdings
Valerie Thompson, Urban League of Greater Oklahoma City
Miles Tolbert, Chesapeake Energy
Gary E. Tredway, American Fidelity Group

Advisory Board
Mark Burson, MassMutual Oklahoma  
Jason Constable, AT&T
Valerie Couch, Oklahoma City University School of Law
Nic Durham, Devon Energy Corp.
Frank Franzese
Rafael Garcia, American Fidelity Corp.
Nathaniel Harding, Antioch Energy
Christina Hoehn, Guernsey
Gene Hopper, The Mettise Group
Marlon James, Tinker Air Force Base
James Johnson, Oklahoma Department of Commerce
David Kimmel, OGE Energy Corp
Joy LaBar
Jenny Love Meyer, Love’s Travel Stops and Country Stores
Myron Pope, Oklahoma Department of Human Services
Tony Shinn, Bank of America
Nathan Shirley, Compellier
Tommy Thompson, 4 Feathers Consulting Inc.
Brooke Townsend, BlueCross/BlueShield
Jeff Trachtenberg, Jacmor, Inc.
Subha Varahan, The Oklahoma Heart Hospital
Richard Walford, IBC Bank
Johnny Whitfield, Jr., OGE Energy Corp

Ex-Officio Members
David Holt, Mayor, City of Oklahoma City
Drew Dugan, Greater OKC Chamber of Commerce
Paula Lewis, Chairwoman, OKCPS Board of Education
Sean McDaniel, OKCPS Superintendent


Young professionals supporting OKCPS

YP4Kids is a young professionals’ organization dedicated to investing in the lives of OKCPS students. The group is an integral part of The Foundation and plays an important role in a variety of community projects. One such effort was installing an outdoor basketball court at Hawthorne Elementary to replace an overgrown parking lot. YP4Kids also coordinates the annual Golf Tournament for Oklahoma City Teachers, with proceeds benefitting teacher projects through our partnership with DonorsChoose.

YP4Kids helps groom more than 30 of our city’s future leaders and sparks their passion for public education. The group expands The Foundation’s efforts to advance excellence, create champions and build strong community support for lasting change in OKCPS. If you are interested in getting involved with YP4Kids, contact Nic Durham.

Join us for the 2019 Boozy Bingo event on October 24th from 6:30-8:30 pm at Anthem Brewing Company. Every attendee will receive a free drink ticket and there will be countless door prizes and raffle prizes! Food trucks and a cash bar will also be available during the event. The cost is $25/person or $40/couple. All proceeds from this event will provide funding for Partners in Action projects. Click here to register today!

President`s Letter

A message from Mary


2017 was another incredibly challenging year for public education. But recapping the year provides a chance to celebrate successes, review meaningful data and define the direction of the Foundation for Oklahoma City Public Schools.

Focus, alignment and impact were the words that guided us in 2017, even as budget cuts continued and teachers left our state in record numbers. In spite of that, the Foundation’s work provided significant benefits for Oklahoma City Public Schools (OKCPS) in a variety of ways, thanks to generous community support and a strategic, focused effort.

Our key focus areas, which align with OKCPS’s greatest needs, are outlined below:

Providing Innovative Support to Teachers
Our partnership with DonorsChoose continues to empower teachers to ask for and receive what they need in their classrooms, from basic supplies, books and athletic equipment to art supplies to field trips. The Foundation assisted 848 projects, and 1,771 additional projects were funded completely by citizen donors. We remain the largest education foundation partner that DonorsChoose has in the country.

Increasing Community Engagement and Awareness
Partners in Action, our initiative connecting community partners with schools and their needs, continued to flourish. Total financial impact so far is nearly $6 million, with more than 600 partner matches completed. From “Thundering Up” Westwood Elementary to building a basketball court at Hawthorne Elementary to supplying music equipment at Star Spencer High School, thousands of students were positively impacted by our amazing community partners. We raised funds for Coat-A-Kid and purchased nearly 6,000 coats for students in need. We also launched a pilot program called Kit-A-Kid to provide school supplies, which we plan to expand in 2018.

Supporting English Language Programs
As the district’s Hispanic population continues to grow, English-language learning programs are increasingly important. The Bilingual Teacher Pipeline Project is helping 34 bilingual paraprofessionals working in the district become certified teachers by funding their education. Our first group begins student teaching next fall. We will launch our program for Spanish for English-speaking OKCPS staff in January, and we have provided multi-language technology to the district to assist and engage families. Plans are underway to partner with Community Literacy Centers to expand English-as-a-second-language classes for family members; the classes will be held in the schools. This aligns very well with our goal of increasing Hispanic family engagement and provides a great service to the schools and family members. We also purchased translation technology for schools to use with families.

Teacher and Leader Professional Development
The Foundation has supported the Urban Teacher Preparation Academy, a program developed and led by University of Central Oklahoma to support newly certified teachers in OKCPS by providing mentorship and professional development. The average retention rates for these teachers over a five-year period is an impressive 86 percent, compared to 23 percent for new teachers not utilizing this training.

Educating the community about challenges and successes in public education, and especially OKCPS, is an important role. The Foundation has taken on advocacy as a key focus. In 2018, we will highlight ways OKCPS is a great investment that provides a rich educational experience for students. We don’t hear these stories often enough. Efforts in this area will be evident in 2018.

Other Highlights
Our All Hands Raised luncheon was co-chaired by state Sen. David Holt and Rachel Holt, and the event set a new fundraising record. Attendees gained a better understanding of our work and impact in OKCPS. Our 2018 event is set for April 5 at St. Luke’s United Methodist Church.

The Foundation honored Madison Wingate as the OKCPS Teacher of the Year, along with nine finalists and school site Teachers of the Year at our Stars of Education event in May. We also recognized Valuable Volunteers, Support Staff and Community Partners at the celebration. Our 2018 event is set for May 1 at Farmer’s Public Market.

We hosted the 34th annual Wall of Fame ceremony and inducted Lee and Sherry Beasley, Pete White and Thurman White into this prestigious group of achievers. All the honorees bring inspiration to OKCPS and highlight the ways the district influenced their success. Our 2018 Wall of Fame event is scheduled for Oct. 29 at the Skirvin Hilton Hotel.

Looking Ahead
The Foundation can reflect on 2017 with a sense of accomplishment in the areas of focus, alignment and impact.  However, we still have much work to do, and we look forward with a great sense of optimism. We see our work with a clear VISION for assisting OKCPS in being a world-class school district. We will provide VALUE in all we do for our schools and for our community partners. And, we do this with one VOICE, speaking up for every student in OKCPS.

These are our schools. These are our kids. This is our city.


Committed to transparency

The Foundation for Oklahoma City Public Schools is a public charity recognized by the IRS as a 501(c)3. As such, the organization is required to file a Form 990 on an annual basis. Our Federal Employer Identification Number (FEIN) is 73-1222182. The Foundation’s bylaws also require an annual independent financial audit. The documents are a matter of public record, and we’ve provided them below for easy access. This page will be updated as more recent financial information becomes available.

Annual Report - 2019
Form 990 - January 1, 2018 - December 31, 2018
Audit - Fiscal Year 2018
Annual Report - 2018
Form 990 - January 1, 2017 - December 31, 2017
Audit - Fiscal Year 2017
Annual Report - 2017
Form 990 - January 1, 2016 - December 31, 2016
Audit - Fiscal Year 2016 (18 Month)
Form 990 - July 1, 2014 - December 31, 2017 - Short Year
Audit - Fiscal Year 2015
Form 990 - July 1, 2014 - June 30, 2015
Audit - Fiscal Year 2014
Form 990 - July 1, 2013 - June 30, 2014
Audit - Fiscal Year 2013
Form 990 - July 1, 2012 - June 30, 2013
Conflict of Interest Policy
Foundation By-Laws
Articles of Incorporation
IRS Determination Letter
Oklahoma Exemption Permit
Foundation W-9
Donor Privacy Policy

Our Staff

Seeking success for Oklahoma City's children

Our Partners

Thank you to our community partners! Together we are helping improve education.

Visionary Partner
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Champion Partner
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Innovate Partners
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Achieve Partners
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Impact Partners
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Align Partners
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Contact Us

Send us an email or give us a call

431 West Main Street, Suite E
Oklahoma City, OK 73102

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