Did you know OCCF has one of the largest Charitable Organization Endowment Programs in the country? This month, we're sitting down with our COE Program Director Jennifer Meckling, Bruce MacIntyre with the Parkinson Foundation of Oklahoma and Dana Gibson from the El Reno Schools Foundation to talk everything COE.
Visit occf.org to learn more!
Dan Martel 0:28
Here in central Oklahoma there are literally hundreds of charitable organizations that all focus on helping individuals in a variety of different ways. Hello, I'm Dan Martel and welcome back to the pod. Today we're going to be talking about the Oklahoma City Community Foundation and how they work to set up endowments with charitable organizations. We'll find out why it's important for these organizations to establish an endowment. What the advantages of having an endowment are with the Community Foundation and what an endowment can do for that particular organization. Today, we have Jennifer Meckling on the pod. Jennifer is the Director of the Charitable Organization Endowment program here at the Oklahoma City Community Foundation. We also have Bruce McIntyre, who is the Executive Director with the Parkinson Foundation of Oklahoma. Finally, we have Dana Gibson who is with the El Reno Public School Foundation. With that, let's just jump right into it. First let's bring on Jennifer Meckling. Hi Jennifer. Welcome to Creating Impact Through Giving.
Jennifer Meckling 1:23
Thank you so much, Dan. It's great to be here.
Dan Martel 1:24
Absolutely. The Oklahoma City Community Foundation basically got its start by establishing endowments for organizations in the area. Why do you think Mr. John Kirkpatrick had this vision more than 50 years ago?
Jennifer Meckling 1:36
Well, I think Mr. Kirkpatrick had a heart to help the local community, but being a businessman and a banker, he sought to do that in a much more strategic way. He knew how endowment funds worked, and he knew this new thing called a community foundation could help. He took it upon himself to create sustainable support for a lot of local organizations.
Dan Martel 1:56
You know, if he only knew where things stood today. It's an amazing vision that he had and it worked.
Jennifer Meckling 2:02
I think it would put a big smile on his face.
Dan Martel 2:04
I think so, too. Tell us what an endowment is and how they work.
Jennifer Meckling 2:09
So, I like to think of an endowment as a forever gift. It's a gift that we put into an investment fund and we never spend it, but we rely on it to create income that we can then spend. The way our endowments work here is we put $40,000 is the minimum. We put that into an endowment fund. We actually put all the funds together and put them in one big investment account. We try to grow that investment performance over the years so that we can spend some of that part of it so that we can create income for the organization. The part that we don't spend, we call it the principal and that sits and creates income. Then each year we calculate out what 5% of the market value of that fund is. We average that over 12 quarters to try to even out the ups and downs of the market. Then each organization gets a check for 5% of the value of their fund. They can count on that every single year. It's pretty steady income. They can count on it being just a little bit more each year. Over the years, that really adds up.
Dan Martel 3:02
If anybody wanted to establish an endowment here, could they do that?
Jennifer Meckling 3:05
No, we don't want anymore. <laugh>
Dan Martel 3:07
Jennifer Meckling 3:09
Yeah, that would be a great thing for any organization to think about the future needs for whatever their cause is. I think a lot of us are working on challenges in the community that aren't going to be solved overnight. We have to think about what's going to provide sustainable support all those years as we try to attack that problem.
Dan Martel 3:25
Absolutely. Why is it important for a local charitable organization to maybe consider establishing an endowment through OCCF versus somewhere else?
Jennifer Meckling 3:33
Well, one of the great things that we offer, is we consider our endowed organizations, community partners. We're all in this together. We're trying to do good in the community, and we try to do it together. Even though we do charge minimal fees for managing those funds, we also try to do our best to help those organizations grow those funds as much as possible. That includes our networking opportunities, our workshops. We also do one-on-one consulting, trying to help organizations strategize on how to bring additional funding into their endowment fund and sometimes even running a full campaign to perhaps leverage a match and get a really big chunk of money into that endowment fund to help it grow.
Dan Martel 4:09
So, let's say an organization decides to establish an endowment. What do people do to help grow their endowment?
Jennifer Meckling 4:15
One of the great opportunities for endowment with Oklahoma City Community Foundation is our partnership with the Kirkpatrick Family Fund. That's a fund established by Mr. Kirkpatrick himself. He was very fond of setting up funds for organizations. He was also kind of fond of leveraging matches and he would elbow his friends in the community and say, Hey, I'll put some money into their fund if you'll match it. In that way, he set up that precedent for matching funds. To this day, the Kirkpatrick Family Fund will offer a match to eligible organizations in the community. They offer two different ratios of matches. The first is to establish a match and that's a $15,000 grant for a $25,000 raise. If an organization can come up with that $25,000, the Kirkpatrick Family Fund, if approved, will match that with $15,000 to get to the $40,000 minimum for our endowment funds. Subsequent years, organizations have the opportunity to apply for a one to three match. An organization can set its own goal and after approved, they have a full year to hit that goal. Once they do the Kirkpatrick Family Fund will put in $1 for every $3 that was raised.
Dan Martel 5:14
Wow. Now I know that you do and hold a lot of training sessions here at the Foundation on endowments. Tell us about some of those sessions, who's eligible to attend and what do you all accomplish there?
Jennifer Meckling 5:24
So, our sessions range from Endowment 101, which is our basic, what is endowment and how does it work here, all the way up to some additional sessions called Advanced Planned Giving, where we'll talk about some of the more complex tax advantageous gifts that a donor might consider and everything in between. Our Endowment 101 is really targeted at people that are either new to their organization or an organization is new to endowment, or perhaps as someone that's been with the organization for a while and is new to their position and wants to understand endowment a little better. We also invite some people that may be interested in starting an endowment to learn a little bit more about how that works here. Our Advanced Planned Giving we target that really to those organizations that already have an established endowment here. It's really because that endowment fund is a fantastic development tool. Having that in place is really one of the key pieces to having those deeper conversations with donors about strategic gifts.
Dan Martel 6:13
You know, it's interesting. We were visiting with Debbie Ingraham, who was the Executive Director and CEO of Skyline Urban Ministry. They've had an endowment established here for quite some time. So I said, what do you all do with the disbursement of your money once a year? She said that money allows us to pay a full-time staff person.
Jennifer Meckling 6:31
Yeah. Organizations can set different goals for those endowment funds. It could be funding a full-time position if they want to. It could also be funding scholarships for kids if they have a program that goes on an annual basis. It could also be funding an annual gift. If I'm a donor and I've been giving to an organization $500 a year for a very long time, I could actually endow $10,000 with that organization. It would give my $500 back to them every single year forever.
Dan Martel 6:56
Wow, that's excellent. How do you approach a nonprofit if they don't have an endowment here?
Jennifer Meckling 7:02
I'd say it's a long road to establish an endowment. It's not something that's going to pay off right away. If an organization has that idea that they're going to be in the business of supporting their mission for a very long time, I tell them they should probably consider it. They also need to have some rather frank conversations with their key donors and maybe support people in the community that they think will maybe get on board with the endowment fund. It's kind of a steep climb to raise that $40,000 to be able to invest in endowment. Then that 5%, that first year will only be $2,000. It seems like a lot of work with not much payoff for the first couple of years, but over time that fund will grow. It will continue to give back support. There will be donors who will notice that that's a grand opportunity for giving in a much more strategic way.
Dan Martel 7:45
Do you have any success stories that you might want to share with us on organizations that might receive a handsome disbursement check every year?
Jennifer Meckling 7:53
Well, I got to present to a local organization recently and when I do that, I usually pull the history of their fund and give them a little snapshot of what's going on. I was just so delighted with this one. It was one of our earliest funds and it was supported largely by Mr. Kirkpatrick and his wife early on. The fund has been established for 51 years. It truly was one of our first funds here. Its current market value is nearly $2 million. Of that gifts into the fund is about $1.2 million. That difference between that $1.2 million and that $2 million is investment growth over the years. That's a pretty big chunk that has grown over time. In addition to that over the years, it has also given back $1.3 million in annual distributions. If you think about it, the value of that fund, of that giving, that $1.2 million that was given into the fund is actually given them back more than $1.3 or sorry has given them back $3.2 million over the years.
Dan Martel 8:46
Jennifer Meckling 8:47
So absolutely double. This past year they received a check for $85,000. They can count on that money every single year. They can count on getting a little bit larger every single year. If they put some work into growing the fund, it will grow even bigger.
Dan Martel 8:59
Well, that's outstanding. Jennifer, what's the best way for folks to inquire on how to establish an endowment here.
Jennifer Meckling 9:03
I would tell them to poke around on our website. There's some great information about the endowment fund and some ideas of what organizations are doing with their endowment funds. You can actually see every single one of our funds listed there. You can see everything from our largest fund, which is about $65 million down to our smallest funds, which of course are at that minimum of $40,000. I would certainly invite them to reach out to me anytime they want to at www.occf.org.
Dan Martel 9:27
Thanks for being with us today. We always appreciate it.
Jennifer Meckling 9:28
Thank you so much, Dan.
Dan Martel 9:30
Now we want to bring in Bruce McIntyre. Bruce is the Executive Director with the Parkinson Foundation of Oklahoma. Welcome to the podcast today, Bruce.
Bruce McIntyre 9:37
Thank you so much.
Dan Martel 9:38
Glad you're here. So, first of all, Bruce, why don't you tell us a little bit about your organization?
Bruce McIntyre 9:42
The Parkinson Foundation of Oklahoma works to inspire hope and transform life for Parkinson patients and families in Oklahoma. Specifically, we do support, exercise, research, family consultations, LOUD Crowds, all the things that someone needs to do between doctor visits.
Dan Martel 10:01
Okay. You mentioned something called LOUD Crowds. What exactly is that?
Bruce McIntyre 10:04
Yeah, so LOUD Crowd is probably one of the more impactful programs that we have. It's basically the second part of a two-part process. When a Parkinson's patient begins to experience a lower voice volume and choking or swallowing issues, which 89% of Parkinson patients experience that. There's really not a pill you can take for it, but the therapy one-on-one is very effective. Then following the therapy, if a patient doesn't practice the exercises, they lose everything in about six months. This is where LOUD Crowd comes in. We have partnerships with speech therapists and hospitals for licensed speech therapists to lead these LOUD Crowds around Oklahoma. It just helps them practice and maintain their voice.
Dan Martel 10:52
Bruce, how many people does Parkinson's affect here in Central Oklahoma?
Bruce McIntyre 10:56
Yeah, so statewide probably 10,000 or more. In the metro area of Oklahoma City, probably 3,500 to 4,000 people.
Dan Martel 11:03
What are some of the services that you all provide folks of who have been diagnosed with Parkinson's?
Bruce McIntyre 11:08
So, some of the things that we do at the Parkinson Foundation of Oklahoma is we've basically quadrupled our programming in the past six or seven years. We have about 30 support groups, which are educationally driven. We have close to 30 Parkinson's specific exercise groups around the state. Then we also have about now 24 LOUD Crowds. We also provide free family consultations if someone's diagnosed or they've had it 10 years and they're just not sure what to do next, we will help them figure out what is their next right thing to do.
Dan Martel 11:42
So, before we get into talking about endowments, which is what our program is centered on, I wanted to ask you one more question about Parkinson's. What's the first symptom? How does somebody know when they might have something going on?
Bruce McIntyre 11:53
Yeah, so it's a funny thing. With many diseases, you know what it means. With Parkinson's everyone says, oh yeah, that's the one with Michael J. Fox, but what is that? Tremor is the most noticeable symptom, but only about 75% of patients actually have tremor. The others are rigidity and slowness of movement, balance issues. As I mentioned before voice and swallowing issues. These aren't necessarily noticeable to most people, but if someone notices this in themselves, they'll want to see a neurologist.
Dan Martel 12:26
Interesting. Okay. So, your organization has an endowment established here at the Community Foundation, correct?
Bruce McIntyre 12:32
Yes, we do.
Dan Martel 12:32
Okay. Let's talk a little bit about that. When was it established and why did you all decide to secure an endowment?
Bruce McIntyre 12:38
Yeah, our board started talking about this in 2020. We began the endowment in December of 2020, and the purpose for it was really to ensure our mission of what we're doing for Parkinson's patients, because while the cure may be somewhere out on the horizon, people need access to programs that help them have better quality of life today. We want to be sure that we're able to do that.
Dan Martel 13:03
Fantastic. Then the other question I was going to ask you is, having an endowment is one thing, but that's something that you want to grow to benefit you all down the road. What do you all do to continue to grow that endowment?
Bruce McIntyre 13:17
So, we created a strategy from the beginning that we continue to carry out, which basically first of all, is that we would set aside memorial gifts. Unless otherwise directed and as long as we're doing well, financially, we would set those aside quarterly. Then once a year apply for the Kirkpatrick Family Fund match and continue to kind of ratchet up the endowment in that way. We would also consider any outlying gifts as potential gifts to go towards the endowment. Then we make specific asks of a part of our clientele and people that we know to contribute.
Dan Martel 13:52
Okay. You know, it's interesting, Parkinson's is one of those things that it's alive and well right here in Oklahoma City. A lot of people may not be aware that there's something that they've got going on or a family member. Your organization obviously does wonderful things here in the community. We thank you and your team and your board for all that you do for folks that do suffer from Parkinson's. If they want to learn more about you all, where do they go?
Bruce McIntyre 14:20
So, go to www.parkinsonoklahoma.com. You can learn more about the programs that we have. You can get connected with us, and we can help you make your next right step with Parkinson's.
Dan Martel 14:31
Well, Bruce, thanks for being with us. We certainly wish you all the best with the Parkinson's Foundation of Oklahoma and all the great work that you do here in our community.
Bruce McIntyre 14:38
Thank you so much.
Dan Martel 14:40
Now I want to bring in Dana Gibson with the El Reno Public School Foundation. Dana, you all were founded back in 1988 to raise and provide support for El Reno Public Schools’ faculty, staff and students.
Dana Gibson 14:51
Dan Martel 14:52
All right. Well, I want to talk about that. First of all, welcome.
Dana Gibson 14:54
Dan Martel 14:55
All right. Tell us a little bit about the El Reno Public School Foundation. What do you all do?
Dana Gibson 14:59
When we started, we did grants to teachers, that was the main objective, to provide enhancements for teachers. They would ask us for magic markers, Crayolas, drawing paper, seeds to plant a garden, books… Then we started to grow and we had more money to give away. We've enlarged what our vision is to include some leadership grants. We have some site-based grants. We give every school site a certain amount every year to buy something that can be used by the whole school.
Dan Martel 15:35
How many students, teachers, et cetera, do you all help each year with the work that you all do?
Dana Gibson 15:40
We have an enrollment of over 3,000 students, but our budget is a little over $55,000 per year for the fall grants and then the site-based grants.
Dan Martel 15:51
Okay. I want to talk a little bit about endowments and I want to ask you, when you all decided to establish an endowment with the Oklahoma City Community Foundation, and why do you think it's important to have an endowment in place?
Dana Gibson 16:04
We started our endowment process a little unexpectedly. We had a family in 2004-ish, both husband and wife died with no children and no immediate family. They wanted to leave their money in an endowment to be used for educational purposes. They named a couple of attorneys and business people in El Reno to manage those funds. They contacted the El Reno Public School Foundation if we would be interested in managing those funds and then giving scholarships every year. I called our attorney who helped drop the bylaws and said, if somebody gives us $250,000, what are we supposed to do with it so that perpetually it's there. He said, in the morning, pick up the phone and call Nancy Anthony at Oklahoma City Community Foundation and tell her that Jim Bass told you to call. I had no idea who Nancy was, who the Foundation was, but I called and that's when we became involved in the endowment process and its importance.
Dan Martel 17:06
Excellent. What do you suppose that some of the benefits are by having an endowment?
Dana Gibson 17:12
The number one benefit for us is the perpetuity of the endowment. In five years, when we have a complete board shift, they can't decide let's take all this money and invest it in something else and lose sight of what all the founders in 1988 had in mind for the Foundation.
Dan Martel 17:32
What do you all do to ensure the growth of your endowment?
Dana Gibson 17:35
Well, we're not afraid to ask for people to donate, and we have quite a following now of people that donate for memorials. We try to put half of that in endowments. We have a general fund endowment. We have various scholarship endowments. We try to make sure there's an even balance so the endowments are always there to help us with our budget every year.
Dan Martel 17:56
Well, that's the idea. Is there anything that you all do to raise funds? I mean, other than that.
Dana Gibson 18:02
You know, I had a phone call last Thanksgiving from a friend of mine that called and said, I have some money that I need to give away. I said, oh, you call the right person. He goes, no, I mean the Foundation, but he wanted it to be a matching fund. I thought it was a great idea, but in the back of my mind, I thought, I don't really have time to do this, but he's a good friend of mine. We talked about it. He had some ideas, I had some ideas and we started talking to people and before we knew it, the first year's funds were matched. I'm three-fourths of the way matching this year's funds. Then next year we'll have some more funds. So, it just works.
Dan Martel 18:36
Absolutely, it worked. I think that's excellent. If somebody's interested, if they're listening right now and they're interested in perhaps contributing to your endowment, what do they need to do?
Dana Gibson 18:45
Give me a call. If not call someone at Oklahoma City Community Foundation. Jennifer Meckling is a source that I don't know what I would do without. Call Joe Carter if you'd have more questions. I think about my first meeting with Joe, there are two things he said, three things actually. Don't be afraid to ask someone for money. Don't leave any money laying on the table when you leave that conversation. If they have an IRA or 401K that they're going to have to take money out of, talk them into giving it to you and they won't have to pay tax on it. Oh, and talk your donors into not being donors but being investors. I think that's probably the most important phrase that I continue to use, don't be just a donor, be an investor in our vision.
Dan Martel 19:29
Absolutely. Well, and if you think about it here at the Community Foundation, all of our "donors" are technically investors into the community. That's the whole point. The name of this podcast, as you know, is Creating Impact Through Giving. What you all do is create an impact in El Reno and beyond. I hope that the Foundation is certainly helping you all meet those needs. Well, thanks for being with us today, Dana. Thank you for all the work that you do on behalf of the El Reno Public Schools. We do appreciate you being here on the podcast. I hope folks learned a little bit more on how endowments work today. Thanks again.
Dana Gibson 20:01
Dan Martel 20:04
Well that about wraps it up today. I want to thank you all for listening, and I hope we have brought you some good information when it comes to establishing an endowment here at the Oklahoma City Community Foundation. If you would like to learn more, please visit our website www.occf.org. You'll be able to find all the information you need about establishing an endowment if you're interested.
Join us again next month, when we'll have an interesting discussion on the advantages of creating an advised fund at the Community Foundation. We will talk all about the different types of funds one can establish here at OCCF. Joe Carter, the Vice President of Development will be on hand to talk about the advantages of opening and advised fund through the Foundation. We'll have a couple of other surprise guests as well. I want to thank Jennifer Meckling with the Community Foundation for being on the show today and a big shout out and thank you to our other guests, Bruce McIntyre, with the Parkinson Foundation of Oklahoma and Dana Gibson with the El Reno Public School Foundation. Until next time I am Dan Martel, and we hope that you'll join us again next month on Creating Impact Through Giving. Have a great day.