The vocation of every man and woman is to serve humanity. -Leo Tolstoy

Posts Tagged ‘nonprofits’

What OKC Needs

In nonprofits on August 18, 2011 at 8:01 am

In an earlier post I wrote about the effort to bring Breakthrough to Oklahoma City. These are some other types of nonprofits that OKC could benefit from.

Job training programs like these in Austin:

Artist collectives like these in Philadelphia:

Free “Schools” like these:
Whole Neighborhood Initiatives like these:
Artist Residencies like these:
In the future I will write about other types of organizations that I would like to see in Oklahoma.

Oklahoma A+ Schools

In nonprofits on August 16, 2011 at 8:47 am

For almost a year I have been a faculty member with Oklahoma A+ Schools. It has truly been one of the best experiences of my life. OK A+ is a nonprofit organization based at the University of Central Oklahoma with a vision to foster:

Education that expands the imagination and stimulates creative living, so that
individuals are increasingly self-aware, self-motivated, and able to be successful along the continuum of lifelong learning.

To do this OK A+ trains a group of educators called fellows to facilitate institutes for k-12 teachers and administrators across the state of Oklahoma and, starting this year, in Arkansas. A+ fellows are the finest group of teachers I have ever been around. With the constant talk of failing schools it is refreshing to know that there is such a large group of people in Oklahoma who are fighting the good fight for excellence.

I was fortunate to travel with a team to Helena, Arkansas this summer to work with the fantastic faculty and administration of KIPP Delta. It was inspiring to see two groups of exceptional educators come together with the common goal of seeing students thrive in school and life.

Every school and student could benefit from the A+ Eight Essentials. Jean Hendrickson and Rosalynn Wade are always excited to speak with schools interested in joining the A+ network.


In The arts on August 12, 2011 at 8:14 am

No organization does more for Oklahoma artists than the Oklahoma Visual Arts Coalition (OVAC). Since 1988 they have  developed unique programs that enable and encourage artists to create.

Looking at the things that OVAC does right could be instructive for any nonprofit:

  • Mission driven- their mission is present in all aspects of their work.
  • Large donor base- this allows them to remain free of the constraints sometimes imposed when an organization is over reliant on large donors.
  • Large volunteer base- the small staff (3.5) accomplishes a tremendous amount because so many people believe in OVAC.
  • Strong leadership- the board is committed to the organization and maintains a appropriate relationship with the executive director, Julia Kirt.
  • Strong Staff- OVAC retains good people for much longer than most nonprofits.

This list could be much longer. If you are at all interested in visual art and you live in Oklahoma there is no better way to show support than by joining OVAC.


In Uncategorized on August 11, 2011 at 9:55 am

For the past four months an exploratory committee made up of Danne Johnson, Jackie Mania, Josh Harlow and myself has been working to bring Breakthrough to OKC. I am so excited about the potential impact on our community. From the Breakthrough website:

At 33 locations across the nation and abroad, Breakthrough Collaborative launches motivated middle-school students on the path to college and prepares older students for careers in education. A national nonprofit, Breakthrough Collaborative is devoted to preparing high-achieving middle-school students, most of whom are of color and from low-income families, to enter and succeed in college-preparatory high school programs. Breakthrough also recruits and trains outstanding high school and college students to become Breakthrough teachers and build an interest in careers as educators.

In June I was fortunate to visit Breakthrough Houston and was blown away by the work they are doing there. Even the highest achieving low income students in Oklahoma City graduate college at very low rates. Breakthrough can help to alter this trend and the lives of entire families.

If you would like to be involved in the effort to bring Breakthrough to OKC please contact me.


In Uncategorized on August 10, 2011 at 12:55 pm

Why am I writing a blog? This space is meant primarily as a place for me to record and share my thoughts on nonprofit organizations in Oklahoma City. I have been involved with a number of local nonprofits over the past eight years as a patron, volunteer, board and committee member, staff, consultant and user of services. Some of the organizations do amazing work while others fail both their mission and the public that they are entrusted to serve. I want to promote those organizations that are doing good work and contribute to a conversation about best practices.

Oh, and I love Oklahoma!

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