Bank of Oklahoma / BOKF Foundation

OVERVIEW: This Tulsa-based foundation has a large Southwest presence, funding United Way, economic development, education, and basic needs in Oklahoma, Texas, Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado, Arkansas, Kansas, and Missouri.

FUNDING AREAS: United Way, economic development, education, basic needs

IP TAKE: Here’s a bank in philanthropy in a variety of interesting ways. The best part is that you can apply online for grants any time of the year.

PROFILE: The Bank of Oklahoma Foundation, headquartered in Tulsa, is the charitable arm of the Bank of Oklahoma. The bank is part of BOK Financial, which has over $30 billion in assets and is one of the top 25 banks based in the U.S.

Grants are made through the BOK Foundation and directly from BOK Financial. A significant number of the grants are made to groups in Oklahoma. But if you're not a Sooner, don’t let the name deter you—the BOK Foundation also supports nonprofits in the other places its employees live and work, including Arkansas, Arizona, Colorado, Kansas, Missouri, New Mexico, and Texas.

This funder concentrates on four areas: United Way, economic development, education, and basic needs. BOK agrees with the United Way’s approach to mobilizing communities and funds the group accordingly. Its education grants support local nonprofits with basic education needs. This includes grants for public school foundations, financial literacy, K-12 partnerships, early childhood education, and higher education institutions. It does not support individual K-12 public schools unless they’re involved with the bank’s "Partners in Education Schools" or "Adopt-a-Schools" programs.

The bank funder’s basic needs giving goes to groups that provide direct services for critical issues such as hunger, poverty, healthcare, housing, and safety. Finally, BOK’s economic development grants promote a better standard of living and economic health in its geographic regions of focus.

Additionally, the bank gives in-kind contributions, such as computers to elementary schools and furniture to homeless shelters. For community service, the bank has a financial education program that connects employees to local children to teach money skills. The employees’ areas of expertise also include nonprofit board and committee service, philanthropic strategic planning, and tax preparation. In terms of lending, BOK provides financing for affordable housing and economic development organizations. It offers nonprofit lending to human and social services groups, special needs populations, and houses of worship.

Over the years, BOK has established relationships with over 700 nonprofits in the eight states where it has banking centers. The BOK Foundation accepts grant applications throughout the year, without deadlines. Applications can be found and submitted online. Grantseeker questions can be directed to the foundation team at The Tulsa headquarters phone is 918-588-6010.


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