Gelvin Foundation

OVERVIEW: This funder supports mostly community services, but also healthcare, education, and the arts, in and around Tulsa and Eufaula, Oklahoma. Unsolicited proposals are accepted throughout the year.

FUNDING AREAS: Community services, healthcare, educational projects, arts

IP TAKE:  This foundation has a small yet accessible staff, so give them a call to discuss your idea or proposal details before submitting. New projects, rather than ongoing programs, are preferred.  

PROFILE: The Gelvin Foundation is was established by Lyle M. Gelvin and is based in Eufaula, Oklahoma. Since 1996, the funder has given out over $6 million to more than 165 nonprofits. Foundation grantmaking is limited to nonprofits in the state of Oklahoma. Most of the grants stay in northeastern Oklahoma and within a thirty-mile radius of Tulsa or Eufaula. All projects must benefit the residents of this geographical area.

Grantmaking interests are community services, healthcare, educational projects, and the arts. These are the top four areas of funding. However, Gelvin has indicated that it may change its priorities as community needs change. The only religious grants go to St. John’s Episcopal Church in Tulsa, which the founder attended and supported during his life.

Past support has gone to community service groups like Emergency Infant Services, Global Gardens, Hope House of McAlester, and Crossroads. Most grants go to this category—$264,500 in a recent year—also greatest overall amount of funds since the foundation was established. That year, $15,500 went to education groups such as Junior League of Tulsa and the Tulsa County Library Trust. Arts grants totaled $41,500 and went to the Tulsa Project Theatre, the Tulsa Historical Society, and others. And $68,500 went to Prevent Blindness Oklahoma, Oklahoma Project Woman, and other health groups. The most notable health grant in the past was $1.125 million to Scripps Memorial Hospital. A list of grant recipients can be viewed here.

Gelvin provides project and program support for new ideas, not general operating support. Basic capital funding, equipment purchases, and special program needs are commonly supported by Gelvin. It is also common for this funder to provide matching grants. In the past, foundation assets have been over $9 million. Current financial data can be viewed here.

Grants applications received by February 10 will be reviewed in March, by May 10 in June, by August 10 in September, and by November 10 in December. You can either mail or email your proposal to one of the two directors. There are no specific forms to fill out, but the foundation appreciates brevity with whatever format you choose. Grantseekers will typically receive an acknowledgment of receipt within about two weeks of sending in a proposal.  

The foundation is led by two co-directors: Therese Starr and Terry Doverspike. 


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