Southern Oklahoma Memorial Foundation

OVERVIEW: The Southern Oklahoma Memorial Foundation mostly supports health and medical issues, as well as education, in Ardmore, Oklahoma and the surrounding areas.

FUNDING AREAS: Health, medicine, education, social services

IP TAKE: Although this is a health legacy funder, it is also interested in learning about social service, civic, cultural, and educational nonprofits in the Ardmore area.

PROFILE: Established in 1950, the Southern Oklahoma Memorial Foundation (SOMF) is based in Ardmore, Oklahoma and supports local health and education issues. SOMF was originally established as a charitable trust to build and support a new hospital. That facility opened up in 1955 but was sold later to Mercy Health Systems in 1996. Shortly after the hospital sale, SOMF became a grantmaking foundation with a nine-member board of trustees. The funder awarded its first grants in 1997. Today, this is a health legacy foundation with a local focus. Grantmaking areas of interest include health, medicine, education, and social services.

Grants almost always go to medicine, health issues, or education in this local area. However, SOMF has supported other groups for local civic and cultural activities and social services causes. For example, the foundation has supported women’s shelters, provided science equipment for schools, and funded health clinics. Ultimately, any program must benefit the quality of life for residents of the Ardmore area.

The foundation’s assets have ranged between $50 million and $100 million. The foundation does not provide an online grants database. SOMF keeps its giving within 50 miles of Ardmore. Grantseekers must have a physical presence in this area and serve its residents to be eligible to apply for a grant.

SOMF accepts unsolicited grant applications from local groups. The application process is informal, only requesting that prospective grantees mail a brief introductory letter to describe the organization and the project that is in need of funds. From there, expect to receive an application form in the mail or a letter stating why the request is being denied. The foundation trustees meet four times per year to discuss grant applications. Submit introductory letters by December 1, March 1, June 1, or September 1 to be considered at the next meeting. SOMF holds board meetings two months later to make final decisions. Direct general questions to Mary Kate Wilson at 580-226-0700 or mkwilson@sbcglobal.net.

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