Grants reach high notes
Ms. Margaret E. Petree of El Reno left an $11 million farm estate to the Oklahoma United Methodist Foundation in the mid-1990s. The vast majority of the income from this endowment is dedicated to scholarships at OCU and several significant annual grants for churches and agencies in the El Reno area.
Ms. Petree had the forethought to reserve 10% of the annual income for discretionary spending. The use of this 10% is decided by a committee of Oklahoma United Methodist Foundation trustees "for institutions, agencies, and nonprofit corporations administered, managed, or supervised by the Oklahoma Annual Conference … for the care of children, youths, the aging, or needy and disadvantaged."
First UMC in Cushing received a grant for replacement sewing machines, tools, and supplies to continue and expand a program making quilts and baby clothes that are given to local authorities, Child SHARE, Skyline, the Children’s Home, Cookson Hills Mission, and local charities.
The grant for Connect UMC in Edmond provides curriculum and equipment to start "Hands on Bible" for children.
New Covenant UMC in Edmond, with the help of Quail Springs Baptist, received a grant to start the Upward Sports program to minister to their surrounding community.
First UMC in Heavener received a one-time grant for its food pantry.
Hennessey UMC received a one-time matching grant to start up "Keepers Coffee House." The church will use a neutral environment to attract youths for after-school tutoring, open-mic nights, game nights, and worship experiences outside of the church.
Community UMC, the newest church in Lawton, received a grant for technology equipment to help safely monitor children and youth on Sundays and during events. Many are from military families, who are accustomed to heightened security.
First UMC in Marietta received a one-time grant to expand the Coats and Clothes for the Needy program.
Neighborhood Services Organization in Oklahoma City received a grant for ongoing support of programs that provide housing and life skills education to prevent homelessness.
Circle of Care received a grant for continuing support of the statewide Child SHARE foster care/adoption programming.
First UMC in Okmulgee received a grant to offer Financial Peace University to the community.
First UMC in Perry received a grant to support foster care families in Noble County.
Operation Hope Ministry in Tulsa received a grant for Project Impact to help children of incarcerated parents improve reading skills and to provide mentoring.
The two most significant grants were awarded to St. Luke’s UMC in Oklahoma City and Boston Avenue UMC in Tulsa for their El Sistema programs. Boston Avenue is just getting started. St. Luke’s is in its third year, serving over 220 disadvantaged children with 40 volunteer program instructors. Every child receives a brand-new instrument and about 300 hours of music training. These programs are a staggering success.
Thanks to the wisdom and dedication of the Foundation’s trustees, the Foundation has awarded more than $2,065,000 through more than 300 grants from this endowment since 1996.