Hardesty Family Foundation

OVERVIEW: This funder supports nonprofits in the Tulsa, Oklahoma, area with large capital grants for building construction and renovation projects. Unsolicited proposals are not accepted.

FUNDING AREAS: Local building renovation and construction projects

IP TAKE: It can be quite difficult to approach and get in the door with this funder if you’re not already connected. But if you’re a well-established nonprofit upgrading your facility in Tulsa, it might not hurt to send the executive director an email about it.

PROFILE: The Hardesty Family Foundation (HFF) is based in Tulsa, Oklahoma, and was founded in December 2005 by F. Roger Hardesty and his wife Donna J. Hardesty. Mr. Hardesty is the founder and CEO of United States Aviation Co. and The Hardesty Companies, both Oklahoma-based.

At present, the foundation is focusing on large capital grants in the Tulsa area. This includes building and facility construction and large renovation projects. The vast majority of these grantees are hand-selected by the foundation board. As a rule, Hardesty does not support start-up organizations, preferring to stick with established groups.

The geographic focus of this foundation is Tulsa, Oklahoma, and surrounding areas. Grants outside this region are rare. Over the years, HFF has supported libraries, primary/secondary education, universities, aviation, research, arts and culture, civic and community, nature and environmental, and health and human services causes.

Funded projects include the Tulsa Zoo’s Hardesty Snow Leopard Exhibit, Hardesty Hall at Tulsa University, and the Hardesty Archival Center at the Gilcrease Museum. As you can see, this is a foundation that embraces naming rights on the buildings it helps pay for.

If the foundation board is interested in a new nonprofit campaign, it will request a letter of intent prior to requesting a full application. The board establishes the grantmaking programs, grant commitments, guidelines, policies, and investments. Potential grantees will be notified by email if they are selected for consideration in an upcoming grant cycle. Final grant decisions are made jointly by at least two directors on the board.

The HFF board meets two or three times per year and is pretty tight-lipped about funding procedures. Guidelines are subject to change and provided on a need-to-know basis. Applicants are notified about grantmaking decisions within 10 days of a board meeting. Applicants cannot apply for a new grant within 12 months of receiving or being denied a grant. The application process is entirely online. HFF may also provide PRIs with an expected return payment.

General questions can be directed to the staff at 918-560-9260 or via online form. The foundation is located in the U.S. Aviation hangar at the end of the runway east of Tulsa’s zoo and the air and space museum. There are two staff members at HFF, an executive director and a grants manager. You can keep up with this foundation through its news section.


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