Tulsa Community Foundation: Oklahoma Grants

OVERVIEW: The Tulsa Community Foundation was established in 1998 and oversees dozens of donor-advised funds, corporate contributions, and individual giving efforts. Although TCF rarely awards discretionary grants, the foundation can connect your nonprofit with relevant funders and even allow you to apply for some types of support on its website. TCF has around $4 billion in assets.

FUNDING AREAS: Education, disaster relief, medical assistance, nonprofit capacity

IP TAKE: Navigating the Tulsa Community Foundation website can be tricky, but this foundation is the gateway to dozens of donor-advised funds, agency partners, and individual philanthropists. Nonprofit agencies cannot directly requests gifts from TCF donors, so you’ll need to work with the TCF staff to make valuable connections with donors in your area.

PROFILE: As far as community foundations go, the Tulsa Community Foundation (TCF) is one of the largest in the nation. Established in 1998, Tulsa was the last of 50 major metropolitan areas in America to join together to establish a community fund. The driving force behind TCF was George B. Kaiser, the chairman of BOK Financial Corporation who has his own family foundation as well.

In 1999, TCF had just $117,000 in assets, but that figure has grown to over $4 billion. This is a place where local philanthropists can streamline their charitable contributions for more significant giving power. The grantmaking philosophy at TCF is donor-advised, and donor satisfaction is a top priority. Since TCF refuses to release the names and contact information of its donors, local grantseekers must work through TCF to reach these funds. The foundation has at least 575 donor-advised or donor-designated funds. Check out TCF by the Numbers for the most up-to-date stats.

Additionally, TCF supervises over 280 Agency Funds, which serve charities throughout Oklahoma and across the nation. As a general rule, TCF doesn’t make a habit of awarding discretionary grants, but nonprofits must work with TCF staff to reach local philanthropists. You can find a list of agencies that maintain long-term endowment accounts with the foundation on TCF’s website.

To support local and national education, TCF maintains dozens of scholarship funds, and over $1 million is distributed annually to help students afford college and succeed at primary and secondary schools. TCF’s Partnership for the Availability of School Supplies (PASS) program provides supplies to over 24,000 students at 54 elementary schools in the Tulsa Public and Union school districts. Since 2005, TCF has been assisting corporations with disaster relief efforts, and requests for assistance can be sent to emergency@tulsacf.org.

The foundation has a medical assistance program to help people who are actively seeking costly medical treatment through the Larry W. Brummett Foundation Fund and the Lorie Lord Breast Cancer Foundation Fund. Grants are awarded in March, June, September, and December each year, and applications can be downloaded online. Another TCF program is 501TechNet, which aims to increase the organizational capacity of nonprofits by assisting them with technology upgrades.

The foundation is led by Phil Lakin, Jr., who’s been TCF’s one and only CEO who's been leading the foundation's philanthropic vision since the beginning. There are over a dozen staff members at TCF, each bringing something a little different to the table. To better understand how TCF works, read through the FAQ for agencies and reach out to the staff at info@tulsacf.org or by phone at 918-494-8823.  

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  • Search for staff contact info and bios in PeopleFinder (paid subscribers only.)

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