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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.org 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


Clifford Hudson, SONIC, America's Drive-In


Vice Chair

Percy Kirk, Cox Communications



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


Mary Mélon


2017-2018 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
David Holt, Oklahoma State Senator; Hall Capital Investments
Tim Johnsen, INTEGRIS Health
Rusty N. LaForge, Mammoth Energy Services, Inc.
Tim McLaughlin, McLaughlin Family Foundation
Cristina F. McQuistion, OGE Energy Corporation
Willie Morales, The Boeing Company
Xavier Neira, Manhattan Construction
Cathy O'Connor, OKC Alliance for Economic Development
Sarah Roberts, INASMUCH
Teresa Rose, Oklahoma City Community Foundation
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
Bill Bullard, Williams, Box, Forshee and Bullard 
Mark Burson, MassMutual Oklahoma  
Jason Constable, AT&T
Valerie Couch, Oklahoma City University School of Law
Nic Durham, Devon Energy Corp.
Frank Franzese,  Dobson Technologies
Sharron Glover, The Glover Group
Nathaniel Harding, Antioch Energy
Gene Hopper, The Mettise Group
James Johnson, Oklahoma Department of Commerce
David Kimmel, SandRidge Energy
Joy LaBar, Valorem Energy, LLC
Jenny Love Meyer, Love’s Travel Stops and Country Stores
Steve Merchant, Fresenius Medical Care North America
Myron Pope, University of Central Oklahoma
Tony Shinn, Bank of America
Nathan Shirley, Cemplex Group
Tommy Thompson, Retired
Subha Varahan, The Oklahoma Heart Hospital
Richard Walford, IBC Bank
Johnny Whitfield, Jr., OGE Energy Corp

Ex-Officio Members
Mick Cornett, Mayor, City of Oklahoma City
Drew Dugan, Greater OKC Chamber of Commerce
Paula Lewis, Chairwoman, OKCPS Board of Education
Aurora Lora, OKCPS Superintendent

President`s Letter

A message from Mary


Focus. Alignment. Impact. These key words help tell the story of The Foundation for Oklahoma City Public Schools’ 2016 endeavors and accomplishments.

Our Focus has been on The Foundation’s mission: To advance excellence, create champions and build strong community support for lasting change in Oklahoma City Public Schools. Defining our strategic areas with comprehensive planning has allowed us to further our mission. Our working board and our broader, mission-driven committee structure provides leadership and guidance as we develop and expand our programs and initiatives.

Our Alignment with Oklahoma City Public Schools has developed into a true partner relationship. We communicate often and effectively to evaluate and course correct as needed. We work very closely with Superintendent Aurora Lora and her team. We share her vision to create a rich educational experience for every student in our district. Alignment with the community is also ongoing and we develop relationships with partners who are committed to engaging with OKCPS and The Foundation in meaningful ways.

The Impact of our work is making a difference in many ways and ties back to our strategic focus areas.

Providing Innovative Support To Teachers

Our partnership with DonorsChoose.org ranks as the largest it has with an education foundation. We have assisted with funding 1,478 projects for 822 teachers, with a total financial impact of $875,650. That money has provided benefits for 152,085 students. Generous donors have supported these efforts, and a special thank you needs to go to the McLaughlin Foundation, Sonic and the district employee giving campaign. We also thank the Kirkpatrick Foundation, whose grant funds art-related projects. The growth in project funding so far this school year has us on pace to nearly triple the number of projects funded last school year.

Increasing Community Engagement and Awareness

The Partners in Action initiative we launched late last year has developed into a vital force for connecting community partners with schools. More than 250 matches were made, providing school leaders with vital tools, including caring adult volunteers to work with students, teacher-appreciation gifts, specialty and school uniforms and much more. The Foundation hosted community partner networking events at three high schools with feeder pattern schools, and hundreds of in-person connections were made.

The Foundation also led efforts to raise money for the district’s Coat-A-Kid campaign. We surpassed our $140,000 goal to purchase new winter coats. We also improved our communications this year by adding a monthly e-newsletter, widely viewed social media posts, a bi-monthly column in The Oklahoman and presentations that share our message throughout the community.

Supporting English Language Learning Programs

We launched the Bilingual Teacher Pipeline Project in January 2016 and currently have 28 bilingual paraprofessionals from Oklahoma City Public Schools attending college to become certified teachers. Our education partners and OKCPS provide a great deal of support for this program as do generous grants from the Inasmuch Foundation and Boeing. Once certified, these people will fill a much-needed role in the classroom. We are growing our own and providing upward mobility for our participants and their families, while filling a great need in our classrooms.

Providing Teacher and Leader Professional Development

Our continued support of the Urban Teacher Preparation Academy has allowed the program to expand its recruitment efforts and help prepare new teachers for challenges they will face. The Foundation provided stipends to 59 UTPA participants and teacher mentors throughout 2016 as well as support for professional development meetings.

Additional highlights from 2016:

• Our events were attended by nearly 1,500 long-time and new supporters. Our events included All Hands Raised, Teacher of the Year/Stars of Education and Wall of Fame. We also hosted two principal appreciation receptions and two principal training meetings, as well as The Great Commitment ratification event.
• The Foundation participates as a member of the OKCPS Compact and is leading efforts to launch ReadOKC, a community-wide literacy initiative.
• The Foundation received a 4-star rating by Charity Navigator in June 2016. Charity Navigator ranks nonprofits for their transparency and governance. Only 2 percent of nonprofits in the nation receive the 4-star rating, the highest marks.
• In addition to sharing the message about our work and the story of OKCPS, we assisted in promoting and communicating the necessity of passing a $180 million bond to maintain OKCPS schools, which passed with a super majority.

As 2016 comes to an end, it is so important to reflect upon and celebrate successes that have made a difference in our schools. We must also take time to again thank our Foundation Partners, event sponsors and every donor, large and small. Each donation allows us to continue our important work and we thank you sincerely.

We cannot lose sight of the long road still ahead. We have made so much progress in the past year, but the needs for our school district continue to grow. Our students, all 46,000 of them, are counting on us. It will take continued focus, alignment and impact to create lasting change. Thank you for supporting our efforts in 2016 and in the new year to come.

Mary Mélon


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.

Form 990 - January 1, 2016 - December 31, 2016
Audit - Fiscal Year 2016 (18 Month)
Annual Report - 2016
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
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
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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