The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

November 11, 2013

Cherokee Strip Community Foundation offers ways for residents to give back

By Robert Barron, Staff Writer
Enid News & Eagle

ENID, Okla. — It’s not the size of Cherokee Strip Community Foundation’s endowment, or how much is received in gifts, or the dollar value of grants.

Rather, the measure of worth is the leadership role the foundation plays and the impact it has in the communities it serves, said Todd Humphrey, Cherokee Strip Community Foundation founding member.

“The Cherokee Strip Community Foundation would not exist today were it not for the extraordinary generosity and vision of our donors,” said Executive Director Mary Stallings.

The foundation offers creative and rewarding ways to donate to the community, and some of those ways have significant tax advantages, she said.

“We encourage our prospective donors to contact either the foundation or a professional adviser to learn more about philanthropic opportunities,” she said. “From inception through 2012, a total of $2,542,653 has been distributed from endowed funds at Cherokee Strip Community Foundation to more than 43 nonprofits.”

An additional $4.5 million has been distributed from gift awards, for a total distribution of more than $7 million.

“The Cherokee Strip Community Foundation would not exist were it not for the extraordinary generosity and vision or our donors,” Stallings said. “We have some very special people in Enid that are working to enhance the lives of all residents of Enid and northwest Oklahoma, now and for generations to come.”

Humphrey always has been a passionate supporter of the foundation, Stallings said.

Humphrey was not only one of the founding members of the foundation, he has established more than one fund. Humphrey and his family began the Humphrey Family Fund for David Allen Memorial Ballpark, with Todd and Marilyn Humphrey as donors. The endowed designated funds were established in May 2001, with distribution each year by foundation to the ballpark.

In addition to the initial fund, Humphrey also established others, including Humphrey Abstract Co. to Enid Public School Foundation, the Family of Bill Humphrey and Sons and Daughters of the Cherokee Strip Endowment to Humphrey Heritage Village Maintenance Fund, and Todd Humphrey Endowment to Cherokee Strip Community Foundation.

Other early supporters of the foundation were Bert and Janice Mackie. Stallings called them some of the first of the community leaders to step up and create endowments when the community foundation was first established.

“A longtime banker and business leader in Enid, Mackie and his wife, Janice, are providing for the future of Enid and northwest Oklahoma,” Stallings said.

The Mackies have established the Bert and Janice Mackie Family Endowment Fund to benefit Enid Public School Foundation. The endowed designated fund was established in November 2000, and distribution is made each year to EPSF.

In addition to their initial fund, the Mackies also established the Bert and Janice Mackie Family Endowment for Loaves and Fishes, another family endowment for Enid Symphony Orchestra, Enid Community Theater and to Retired Senior Volunteer Program.

The Mackies were among the first to establish endowments and wanted to reach all areas of the community, including the arts.

“That was when the Sisters of Mercy matched what we put into each organization through the foundation. It looked like the thing to do,” Mackie said.

Mackie said Cherokee Strip Community Foundation will be there long after he and Janice are gone and will help those entities in perpetuity.

“A big factor then was matching funds, it makes people want to do more when they know the money will be matched,” he said. “We wanted to do something for each area of the community. We’d already given to some in other ways. What a great way to do that, it was matched, they managed the endowment for you, it takes all the work out of giving.”

Dan and Kay Dillingham also are members of a group of Enid leaders who established a number of endowments. The Dillinghams established an endowed designated fund in 2000 to benefit Enid Public School Foundation. They also have established funds for Dillingham Memorial Garden Maintenance Fund for the benefit of Keep Enid Beautiful; Class of 1952 fund for the benefit of the Enid High School Student Council, and Dillingham Family Endowment to benefit Cherokee Strip Regional Heritage Center.

Dan Dillingham said the funds for Dillingham Memorial Garden in Government Springs Park go for maintenance of the garden that was built and has been maintained since the flood of 1973. Dillingham’s sister died at St. Mary’s Regional Medical Center, and during her illness, his mother would walk in a garden by the hospital. That garden was destroyed by the flood, but another was built. Dan and his brother, Tom, believe the garden is something their mother would appreciate the family being involved with.

“I’ve always worried about how that will be taken care of 30 years later. The hardest dollars to raise are maintenance dollars, so that’s where we gave it and have increased it several times,” Dillingham said.

The garden has become a project of Keep Enid Beautiful, and Dillingham credited George and Louise Milacek with work they have done on the garden maintenance.

“They have a budget every year and raise money independently, and the endowment fund supplements it,” he said. “It’s a good example of the things the foundation can do, taking a long look forward, looking at things to provide funds down the road to keep the garden going,” he said.

The endowment by the Class of 1952 helps future members of the Enid High School Student Council. Members of one council realized during construction of the new high school cafeteria there were no lights scheduled around the cafeteria ground, so they put a project together to place lights, Dillingham said.

“We knew at times they would do something that would make our hair curl, but that’s all right,” he said.

Mark and Kaye Dick have shown their commitment to Enid through their endowments, Stallings said. They also are interested in families and youths in Enid and northwest Oklahoma, she said.

Established funds include Mark and Kaye Dick Family Endowment to benefit United Way of Enid and Northwest Oklahoma. The endowment was established in September 2001, and a distribution is made each year to United Way.

They also have established other funds benefiting Denny Price Family YMCA, YWCA Enid, Youth and Family Services of North Central Oklahoma, Salvation Army, Community Fund and the Mark and Kaye Dick Family Endowment to benefit Leonardo’s Children’s Museum.