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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 Foundation for Oklahoma City Public Schools 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

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

Past Chair
Percy Kirk, Cox Communications

Treasurer, PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP
Bryan Coleman

Mary Mélon

2021-2022 Board of Directors
Christine Berney
Stephen G. Butler
Tana Cashion
Jason Constable
Wayland Cubit
Rafael Garcia
Kevin Gordon
AJ Griffin
Brent Hensley
Charles Holland
Tim McLaughlin
Cristina F. McQuistion
Cathy O’Connor
Todd Pauley
Sarah Roberts
Glenna Tanenbaum
Valerie Thompson
Miles Tolbert

Advisory Board
Jeremiah Buettner
Mark Burson
Valerie Couch
Frank Franzese
Nathaniel Harding
Christina Hoehn
Marlon James
James Johnson
David Kimmel
Joy LaBar
Rusty N. LaForge
Justin Lawrence
Jenny Love Meyer
Megan Muir
Xavier Neira
Josh Roche
Tony Shinn
Nathan Shirley
Kent Sparks
Tommy Thompson
Brooke Townsend
Jeff Trachtenberg
Gary Tredway
Subha Varahan
Richard Walford
Johnny Whitfield, Jr.

Ex-Officio Members
Drew Dugan, Greater OKC Chamber of Commerce
David Holt, Mayor, City of Oklahoma City
J.D. Baker for Mayor Holt

OKCPS Board of Education
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.

President`s Letter

A message from Mary

Grow Your Own programs for developing the teacher workforce are getting national notoriety amidst an increasing shortage of teachers. Bank of America OKC recently featured The Foundation for Oklahoma City Public Schools’ Teacher Pipeline Programs through their community partnership spotlight. https://about.bankofamerica.com/en/local/oklahoma-city

The Bilingual and Diversity Teacher Pipeline Programs fund 100% of participants’ (who are paraprofessionals employed by OKCPS) tuition, fees and books for their teacher education degree completion. The Foundation, along with higher education partners UCO, OSU-OKC, OCCC and Rose State College, provide support and resources to them as they work through the program.

The story featured Alexiss Lopez, a graduate of the Bilingual Teacher Pipeline Program. She was born in Mexico and moved to the United States as a child with no English language skills. She began working in Oklahoma City Public Schools as a bilingual paraprofessional (teaching assistant) at Hawthorne Elementary School. As a participant of the Bilingual Teacher Pipeline Program, she was able to earn her college degree, become a certified teacher and is now a kindergarten teacher at Kaiser Elementary School.

Hawthorne’s current principal, Melinda Elms, is also featured in the story. She has been an enthusiastic promoter of the programs at her school and has seen six of her teaching assistants enter the Bilingual Teacher Pipeline Program. “They know exactly what is coming, so when they graduate, they really truly slide into the role with ease,” Elms says. “I love the example it sets for our kids,” she adds. “It’s really great for them to see someone like them working toward a goal.”

In addition to supporting bilingual paraprofessionals, the Foundation’s Diversity Teacher Pipeline Program focuses on BIPOC paraprofessionals. There are currently 65 participants working on degree completion in the two programs. Once certified, they will lead their own classrooms in OKCPS. The participants coming behind them fill the pipeline, will lead their own classrooms in OKCPS.

In addition to serving as amazing role models, as mentioned by Principal Elms, there is convincing data to show that diverse teachers help improve student outcomes. The upward mobility provided to the participants and their families is also significant.

Thanks to Bank of America, Devon Energy, Ray and Pat Potts and many other generous community partners who support the Teacher Pipeline Program, OKCPS is growing our own and building a diverse teacher workforce that will benefit our students for many years to come.


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, 2019-December 31st, 2019
Audit - Fiscal Year 2019
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
Champion Partner
Innovate Partners
Achieve Partners
Impact Partners
Align Partners

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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