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Kirkpatrick Family Fund Announces $5.3 Million in Grants

January 13, 2020

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OKLAHOMA CITY, OKLAHOMA, JANUARY 13, 2020 – Today the Kirkpatrick Family Fund announced the distribution of $5.3 million in grants to 106 organizations for the first half of its fiscal year in the areas of animal welfare; arts & humanities; children, youth & families; community development; education; environment; health; social services; and endowment matching grants. The Kirkpatrick Family Fund supports charitable, civic, and cultural causes that impact citizens in central Oklahoma and beyond. For the last three decades, the Family Fund has contributed more than $108 million to qualified nonprofit organizations that work tirelessly to advance cultural, intellectual, and social interests in their communities. 

“This ongoing investment is possible because of our founders John and Eleanor Kirkpatrick,” said Liz Eickman, Director – Kirkpatrick Family Fund. “Their philanthropic foresight continues to provide significant resources to address current issues that effect quality of life.”

The Family Fund has a proud history of supporting the important work of Dentists for the Disabled and Elderly in Need of Treatment, Inc. (D-DENT) in Oklahoma. Since 1986, D-DENT has partnered with dentists, hygienists, assistants, laboratories, suppliers, students, and other nonprofit organizations to improve the oral Health of Oklahomans in need through preventative dental education and free comprehensive dental care. The organization is a three-time recipient of the Blue Cross Blue Shield Champions of Health Award.

“The Kirkpatrick Family Fund is D-DENT’s longest supporter; without this grant we would be limited in the number of low-income, uninsured Oklahomans we could help with FREE dental care,” said Shirley Harris, Executive Director – D-DENT. “Our partnership with the Family Fund has helped us give hope to the elderly, the developmentally disabled, and veterans with no access to costly dental care. D-DENT is exceedingly thankful for the Family Fund’s generous support!”

The Family Fund has been a loyal supporter of arts education in central Oklahoma for decades, with a goal of improving the overall cultural landscape. Recently, a grant was awarded to help with the purchase of a new building for Harding Fine Arts Academy (HFAA), a public, charter high school whose unique curriculum and instructional methods are keys to success. By merging the arts and academics, HFAA creates an engaging, educational atmosphere that promotes critical thinking and problem-based learning.  

“Our partnership with the Family Fund’s commitment to arts education allows us to expand on a 15-year success story of providing a truly transformative and non-selective public-school option in the heart of Oklahoma City,” said Barry Schmelzenbach, Superintendent – Harding Fine Arts Academy. “Their generous support enabled us to seize on a remarkable opportunity to purchase the Harding Building. We are excited to continue growing our award-winning STEAM program that prepares students for college in an academically challenging, arts-integrated environment.”

The Kirkpatrick family’s history with the Pikes Peak area dates back to the late 19th century. The Family Fund honors this family legacy through a limited number of grants to support organizations and enhance the cultural offerings in the Colorado Springs area. With a proud history of supporting the important work of the Chamber Orchestra of the Springs, focused grants since 2012 from the Family Fund have helped launch Educational Outreach and SenioReach initiatives to offer free youth tickets and organize musician visits to public libraries, schools, and assisted living and memory care centers. Support has also gone toward an annual Young Artist Concerto competition where pre-college winners perform as soloists with the orchestra; a joint hip-hop opera performance with high-school students; and kid-friendly family concerts at unusual venues – events that participants describe as “life-changing” and “critical.”

“The Kirkpatrick Family Fund grants not only enrich our community directly, but they also help us indirectly by attracting additional support from other foundations and national organizations, such as the National Endowment for the Arts and the Women Philharmonic Advocacy,” said Nasit Ari, President Emeritus and Grants Coordinator – Chamber Orchestra of the Springs. “We are deeply grateful for the steadfast, transformational encouragement we receive from the Family Fund.”  

The Family Fund has also been a committed supporter of the Humane Society of the Pikes Peak Region, an organization that touched more than 25,000 pets in 2019 – nearly 70 every day. Specific funding from the Family Fund this year went toward much-needed upgrades to dog kennels, which helped create a less stressful environment for dogs in their care, reducing injury and the spread of disease, and increasing capacity to shelter homeless pets. Slatted floors have been replaced so paws can’t get caught; new doors have been installed to slide freely without banging; and special visual barriers have been put in place to prevent over stimulation.

“At the Humane Society of the Pikes Peak Region, we believe pets and people are better together, and we know our friends at the Kirkpatrick Family Fund feel the same way,” said Leslie Yoder, Interim President and CEO – Humane Society of the Pikes Peak Region. “Thanks to their support, we are able to help even more homeless, abused, and neglected pets right here in our community. Because of the grant we received from the Family Fund, dogs like Curly, abandoned in a McDonald's parking lot on Christmas Eve, will have a safe place to go while they wait for a new home.”  

“The Kirkpatrick Family Fund is committed to improving the quality of life in central Oklahoma and the Pikes Peak region,” said Christian Keesee, President – Kirkpatrick Family Fund. “Nothing brings us more joy – or reason to celebrate – than seeing smart, innovative work strengthen communities and empower individuals. These grantees play a critical role in stimulating and developing thriving communities, and we are honored to be an encouraging partner and supporter of all 106 organizations funded this grant cycle.” 

Project support for small grants ($10,000 or less) and matching grant requests are on a rolling quarterly deadline of March 1, June 1, September 1, and December 1. General operating and large grant applications will be accepted biannually on March 1 and September 1. To learn more about the Kirkpatrick Family Fund, visit kirkpatrickfamilyfund.org.

The Kirkpatrick Family Fund was founded by John and Eleanor Kirkpatrick in 1989 and is the largest affiliated fund in the Oklahoma City Community Foundation. The organization remains committed to adhering to the priorities and guiding principles of its founders through the leadership of Trustee and President, Christian K. Keesee, the grandson of John and Eleanor Kirkpatrick.

Grants awarded by the Kirkpatrick Family Fund to organizations and projects in the first half of FY2020 are as follows:

  • Animal Welfare: $158,000 
  • Arts & Humanities: $2,674,000 
  • Children, Youth, & Families: $228,000 
  • Community Development: $1,526,500 
  • Education: $236,000 
  • Environment: $72,900 
  • Health: $119,500 
  • Social Services: $289,500 
  • Endowment Matching: $755,000

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