Transformative Gifts Transform the State
OpEd by Marnie Taylor, President and CEO
Oklahoma philanthropists and charitable organizations have long held a unique, visionary partnership to build communities through monumental investments of time, talent and treasure. Whether in cities and small towns, dreamers have left their permanent marks that shape futures and change lives.
Last week, the Oklahoma Center for Nonprofits closed on one of these transformative gifts as we took ownership of the Chesapeake Plaza, a 65,000 square-foot office space for nonprofits in Oklahoma City that was the dream-made-reality of a very generous company. We now count ourselves among a very fortunate group of Oklahoma charitable organizations who have received such gifts and will carry the legacy of the donors on well into the future.
In Oklahoma City, you can drive down Classen and see the “Corridor of Hope,” the headquarters of Catholic Charities, Sunbeam Family Services and TEEM. In Tulsa, the Anne and Henry Zarrow Foundation will help renovate two office towers to house nonprofits (including the Center’s Tulsa offices) and people needing affordable housing. This is in addition to new headquarters for DVIS, the Girl Scouts, Tulsa Cares, the Little Light House and so many more.
If you drive through Bethany, you will be awestruck by the new addition of our Children’s Center. The new headquarters for the OKC Ballet is a stunning vision, especially when you see the pictures of dancers en pointe in the modern glass structure. Travel to Enid, Bartlesville, Ardmore and other smaller communities and see the visionary work of local companies and philanthropists in action through the nonprofits that serve those areas.
Today, the Center is thankful for the transformative gift from Chesapeake, along with a transformative gift from the Anne and Henry Zarrow Foundation for our new office space in Tulsa. But I am also deeply thankful to the long list of donors – those with us today and those who have passed on – who had the tenacity to partner with a nonprofit and make sacrificial gifts to improve communities for decades – if not centuries – to come.
I was also reminded that we, as Americans, can all be part of transformative philanthropy through our contributions. It is not lost of me that the Statue of Liberty’s base was not built through one donation, but thousands of tiny donations from everyday Americans who saw the vision to light a permanent torch for our country. That is transformation.