Celebrating Robert L. Spinks, Visions Honoree

by Kristyn Hale, OKCNP Fall 2017 Intern

The Oklahoma Center for Nonprofits is honoring five nonprofit leaders at Visions: A Celebration of Nonprofit Leaders on November 28, 2017. We are spotlighting each of the five honorees.

Visions honoree, Robert L. Spinks Ed.D. is the director of the Non-Profit Leadership Program at Oklahoma City University. The one-year program covers all aspects of nonprofits and emphasizes nonprofit leadership as a lifelong career in helping others.

In his work at Oklahoma City University, Spinks said he is trying pass along the learning and experience he received during his time with United Way to the next generation of nonprofit leaders as well as volunteering with several organizations.

Spinks was the president and CEO of United Way of Central Oklahoma before beginning his work at Oklahoma City University in 2011. While working at United Way, Spinks helped increase the annual campaign results and raise more than $20,000,000 to support the work of 60 partner agencies in the metro area.  He was honored as a finalist by the Journal Record as one of Oklahoma’s Most Admired CEOs, as nominated by the staff at United Way.

Spinks said his parents were teachers and social workers who taught him to care deeply about the human condition.

“I personally know the difference nonprofits make in the lives of all of us,” Spinks said. “What began as an avocation through volunteer experiences became a career devoted to helping others. Along the way, I was fortunate to learn from personal experiences the value of collaboration and the strength of relationships with family, colleagues, mentors and friends that have lasted a lifetime. Nonprofits have blessed my life.”

Spinks received his higher education from Oklahoma State University where he earned a bachelor’s in music education, with a master and doctoral degree in educational administration. Spinks began his career as an a public school band and choir director before serving as the executive director of Community Council of Central Oklahoma, a regional research and planning organization for the nonprofit community.

Spinks serves on the board for Leadership Oklahoma City, Epworth Villa, OU College of Public Health and the Better Business Bureau.

Robert L. Spinks is receiving the inaugural President’s Award, which was selected by the Oklahoma Center for Nonprofit president and CEO, Marnie Taylor.

“I am humbled beyond measure, being the first person to be honored with this award brings responsibility,” Spinks said. “No one earns such recognition individually. It is a reflection of the impact teachers, family, colleagues and mentors have had in my life. We all stand on the shoulders of those who have gone before use, and I have been blessed to benefit from many pairs of strong shoulders.”

Spinks said he is working to build his legacy on serving and caring for others to the best of his abilities.

“A legacy has to be based on a lifetime of work and service,” Spinks said. “Not simply on a small slice of time.”

Visions is a celebration of nonprofit leadership and will recognize Spinks, along with four other Oklahoma-based leaders and visionaries, on November 28th at the Skirvin Hilton in downtown Oklahoma City. For more information, visit the Visions page.

2017 Visions Honorees:
Danny Cavett
Shannon Luper
H.E. Gene Rainbolt
Toby Jenkins
Bob Spinks

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