New Administration in Oklahoma Brings Opportunities for Nonprofits

OpEd by Marnie Taylor, President and CEO

In just a few short days, Governor-elect Kevin Stitt will be sworn into office, and soon after, our legislators – many of whom are freshmen – will convene at the Capitol for our 2019 legislative session.

Nonprofits should see this as a prime opportunity to work together with policy makers to advance to work of our sector and build a far stronger voice with both the executive and legislative branches.

While we continue to face challenges, the nonprofit sector in Oklahoma is as strong as ever. Philanthropy continues to pave the way for new initiatives and support of programs that enrich and improve our communities. The nonprofit workforce is developing into one of the sharpest, most forward-thinking and skilled. Oklahoma continues to lead the nation as one of the most generous states in the country. This is the perfect moment to work in partnership with a new administration to make lasting change in the state.

The concept of public-private partnership is working well at the local level. Mayor Bynum of Tulsa has spoken at length about the partnerships the city has created with various nonprofits. In Oklahoma City, Mayor Holt regularly highlights the work of the sector as being vital for the community. And throughout the state, non-metro and rural areas see our work as vital and necessary for helping our families thrive.

Now is the perfect time to work together with our new administration to build better partnerships with policy makers. The sector is more efficient and more effective than ever, and legislators I have spoken with are eager to work together and collaborate with nonprofits on the big issues that face Oklahoma: health care, human services, criminal justice reform, community improvement, education and programs that help individuals live better lives more independently.

Several legislators have indicated to me that they wish to form a bi-partisan nonprofit caucus to advance more of this important work.

I’m optimistic as we enter the new year that our sector’s prominence and reputation for excellence will continue to grow. We are 10 percent of the state’s workforce and a significant economic driver for Oklahoma. We are poised to deliver services that are efficient and effective in partnership with government, philanthropy and business. We have strong donors who believe in the power of nonprofits, and we have the opportunity to shine throughout the United States as a beacon of philanthropy of donor support.

I look forward to working with our new administration and our new legislators this year and beyond, and I encourage all of my nonprofit colleagues to reach out to their own policy makers very soon and share this important message.

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