Southern Oklahoma Memorial Foundation

OVERVIEW: This funder mostly supports health and medical issues, as well as education, in Ardmore, Oklahoma, and the surrounding areas. Unsolicited letters of inquiry are accepted. 

FUNDING AREAS: Health, medicine, education, social services

IP TAKE: Although this is a health legacy funder, don’t be afraid to mail in an introductory letter if you’re running any type of social service, civic, cultural, or educational nonprofit in the Ardmore area.

PROFILE: The Southern Oklahoma Memorial Foundation (SOMF),  based in Ardmore, Oklahoma, supports local health and education issues. SOMF was originally established as a charitable trust in 1950 to build and support a new hospital. That facility opened up in 1955 but was sold decades later to Mercy Health Systems in 1996. So today, this is a health legacy foundation with a very local focus.

Shortly after the hospital sale, SOMF became a grantmaking foundation with a nine-member board of trustees. The very first grants were awarded in 1997. The funder gave 513 grants totaling at least $46.9 million for local groups during its first decade.

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

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.

The application process is fairly informal, only requesting that prospective grantees mail (not email) a brief introductory letter to describe the organization and the project that's 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. So it is important to get your introductory letters in by December 1, March 1, June 1, or September 1 to be considered at the next meeting. Board meetings are held two months later to make final decisions. The foundation’s assets have ranged between $50 million and $100 million.

SOMF has a very simple website with limited information for grantseekers. The foundation is led by Larry Pulliam as its president. 


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