By Darla Shelden
City Sentinel Reporter
The 26th Annual Fall Forum for Local Education Foundations will be held on Tuesday, October 18, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. The event, themed “Connecting for Kids” will take place at the Oklahoma Memorial Union, 900 Asp Ave., on the University of Oklahoma’s Norman campus.
Presented by the Oklahoma Foundation for Excellence and its Local Education Foundation Outreach Program, the forum is open to all community and education leaders interested in starting or strengthening a public school foundation Registration and continental breakfast will begin at 8 a.m.
The event gives school foundation and education leaders an opportunity to network and learn new skills and best practices from top experts in nonprofit administration, fundraising, school foundation programming and board development.
The forum will feature top Oklahoma presenters in school foundation leadership, fundraising, board development and programming.
Registration is $75 per person. Luncheon-only registration is $25. Complete session descriptions and registration forms are available online at www.ofe.org.
“We chose ‘Connecting for Kids’ as the theme for this year’s Fall Forum, recognizing the importance of collaboration among educators, businesses and engaged citizens to support our local schools and encourage academic excellence,” said Fall Forum Chair Beth Johnson of Lawton.
“This year’s Fall Forum offers breakout sessions presented by some of our state’s most respected leaders in nonprofit and foundation leadership.
“Foundations are encouraged to bring several participants so they can take advantage of all the information and resources available through the concurrent sessions,” Johnson added.
The forum will open with a general session titled “Art Matters: Bringing Joy to Education,” presented by Ken Busby, executive director and CEO of the Route 66 Alliance in Tulsa.
Mary Melon, president and CEO of the Foundation for Oklahoma City Public Schools, will present a session on how crowdfunding partnerships help provide critical classroom resources.
Nonprofit leader Diana Hartley, a professor of practice in Nonprofit Management Studies at the University of Oklahoma, will lead sessions on beginning and advanced grant writing.
Dan Billingsley, vice president for external affairs for the Oklahoma Center for Nonprofits, will present two sessions titled “Advocating for Public Education to Legislators and Policy Makers” and “Building a Champion Fundraising Board.”
Norman Public School Foundation Executive Director Jenny Dakil will join Oklahoma Foundation for Excellence Communications Director Brenda Wheelock to discuss their proven strategies for school foundation marketing.
In addition, Foundation Management President Frank Merrick and Communities Foundation of Oklahoma Director Randy Macon will share how foundations can build long-term financial stability by creating and growing an endowment.
Winners of this year’s $1,000 Outstanding Program Awards for Local Education Foundations will also speak.
Recipients are Classroom Closet, a district wide school supply program sponsored by the Chickasha Public School Foundation; the Robert S. Gee Scholars Program, a mentoring and scholarship program sponsored by the Miami Public Schools Enrichment Foundation; and the Artists’ Atelier, an early childhood art studio sponsored by the Education Foundation of Muskogee.
The luncheon will include a keynote address by Oklahoma City University President Robert Henry. His topic will be “Knowing, Understanding, Expressing, Acting: What Teachers Do.”
President Henry has served in all three branches of government. He was a member of the Oklahoma House of Representatives, state attorney general and served as chief judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit. A trustee of the Oklahoma Foundation for Excellence, Henry was the recipient of Leadership Oklahoma’s 2015 Lifetime Achievement Award.
“We are excited to welcome Robert Henry and so many great presenters to this year’s Fall Forum,” said Karen Rose, director of Local Education Foundation Outreach. “We encourage all of Oklahoma’s school foundations and school districts to participate to strengthen support for public schools in their communities.”
2016 Forum sponsors include Foundation Management Inc., the Oklahoma Center for Nonprofits and the University of Oklahoma.
For more information, call Karen Rose, director of Local Education Outreach, at 918- 743-5533 or visit www.ofe.org.