By Darla Shelden
City Sentinel Reporter
OKLAHOMA CITY – The Oklahoma Foundation for Excellence is seeking nominations for its 2017 Outstanding Program Awards for Local Education Foundations.
Each year the foundation recognizes innovative programs sponsored or administered by public school foundations. Trophies and monetary awards of $1,000 each will be presented to honorees on Tuesday, October 17 at the Fall Forum for Local Education Foundations (LEF).
For more than 25 years, the Oklahoma Foundation for Excellence (OFE) has held the Fall Forum as the state’s top training and networking event for school foundation leaders and educators working to improve the quality of public education in their communities.
The OFE is a nonprofit organization dedicated to recognizing and encouraging academic excellence in Oklahoma’s public schools.
Through its outreach services, the OFE has helped build one of the nation’s largest and most effective networks of public school foundations, with more than 220 established to date.
Together, these citizen-led nonprofits have raised millions of dollars to promote academic excellence in their districts and have encouraged community involvement in their local schools.
Recognized OFE programs include arts integration, student leadership development, mentoring, curriculum enhancement, student scholarships, professional development for teachers, public relations and fundraising. Nominations for recognition may come from anyone in the community knowledgeable about the foundation, including its board members. Only one program per foundation may be nominated.
Nomination forms and instructions, as well as descriptions of past award recipients, are available online at www.ofe.org. Forms must be postmarked on or before April 3 and mailed to the Oklahoma Foundation for Excellence, 101 Park Ave., Suite 420, Oklahoma City, OK 73102.
The winners will be notified by the foundation’s LEF Outstanding Program Award Selection Committee in May.
The selection of the winners for the Outstanding Program Awards will be based on the following information:
Description of Program: How does the program work; whom does it serve; how is it administered?
Objective of Program: What are the goals of the program?
Evaluation of Program: How has the program been successful; what was accomplished; how has it helped encourage academic excellence in the district?
“If your district does not currently benefit from the support of a local education foundation, I encourage you to contact the Oklahoma Foundation for Excellence to learn how you can start a foundation in your community,” said David L. Boren, founder of the Oklahoma Foundation for Excellence.
In addition to its many programs, the foundation provides free training and resources to new and established local education foundations across the state.
“Without the assistance of Oklahoma Foundation for Excellence staff, their website full of resources, and the leadership of LEF Outreach, our public school foundation would not have gotten off the ground,” said Lou Christian, founding president, Blanchard Public Schools Foundation.
“OFE has continued to be a resource, providing educational assistance for our board along with information to help us plan strategically for our future,” Christian added. “No matter what stage your foundation is in, the Oklahoma Foundation for Excellence has the resources to help make your organization better.”
Some of Oklahoma’s top experts in non-profit and school foundation leadership will be featured at the October 18 Fall Forum, Oklahoma’s premiere training and networking conference for school foundation leaders and supporters.
Boren stated, “We know that education is the best investment our society can make for the future. If we make all of the right policy decisions in every other area but fail to adequately educate the next generation, we will imperil the future of our society.
“By working together to give outstanding students and educators the recognition they deserve, we send a strong message to our state and to the nation that Oklahomans value academic excellence,” Boren added.
For more information, contact Karen Rose, director of Local Education Foundation Outreach, at 918-743-5533 or e-mail [email protected].