Message from the Director
At the time the 2012 Annual Report was to “go to press” we learned that John Belt, one of the longest serving trustees of the Kirkpatrick Family Fund had died. We did not want to wait till next year’s publication to acknowledge his contributions and the important role he played in the work of the Fund. He was among the first non-family trustees appointed to the Fund and he provided legal counsel and advice that guided many of our grant and program decisions. John was a storyteller and he brought to life, in a way that only he could, the inspiration and philanthropic intentions of John and Eleanor Kirkpatrick. John’s knowledge and passion for Oklahoma City were invaluable to the grant programs and initiatives of the Kirkpatrick Family Fund. His honest, colorful and thoughtful perspective will be missed.
This year we have presented profiles of individuals that inspired and influenced the work of the Fund. We also featured organizations and projects that reflect the broad interest of the Kirkpatrick family in central Oklahoma and the Pikes Peak area of Colorado. Grants were made to organizations working in the areas of education, homelessness, teen pregnancy prevention, community and neighborhood development, beautification, youth and families, services for seniors and access to excellent arts programs. Grants have been made to organizations that are working to respond to current needs in the community. Additionally, grants were made to organizations working closely with the Fund to reduce teen pregnancy in Oklahoma County, community development efforts in Green Mountain Falls Colorado and to fully develop a regional resource for contemporary and art education in Oklahoma.
A substantial portion of the Funds grant program is dedicated to arts and culture. The Kirkpatrick family has, for over 60 years, provided philanthropic leadership and financial support to arts and cultural organizations that continually strive for excellence. This priority was established by John and Eleanor Kirkpatrick and continues through the direction of their grandson Christian Keesee, president of the Kirkpatrick Family Fund. In October he was honored by the Oklahoma Arts Council and Governor Mary Fallin who presented him with a Governors Arts Award for his personal and philanthropic arts leadership as well as his sustained financial support of the arts in Oklahoma.
Finally, last summer I attended the 2012 Aspen Ideas Festival. The program tracks for the festival were designed to present divergent points of view on current topics and stimulate discussion that expressed the idea’s complexity and the solutions that surround it. The program track that captured my attention was Our Planet: Seven Billion and Counting. By 2050, which is not so far away, the world will grow to nine billion people with 70% of the population living in cities. As education and economic levels improve in developing countries there will be an increase demand for resources including energy, water, food, and material goods. This will have a major impact on urban design including buildings and transportation, public health, the environment as well as the increased demand for energy and fresh water. The time was well spent focusing on topics of universal concern and that were also relevant to future philanthropic investments of the Kirkpatrick Family Fund.
Elizabeth K. Eickman