Our Mission and HistoryIn 1985, while serving Oklahoma as a U.S. senator, David L. Boren brought together a group of Oklahoma business and community leaders with the common goal of improving public education in the state. All agreed that private investment was crucial to the success of public schools. The result was the establishment of a statewide, nonprofit organization, the Oklahoma Foundation for Excellence, with the mission of recognizing and encouraging academic excellence in Oklahoma’s public schools. The foundation is a 501 (c)(3) charitable organization supported solely by private contributions with an annual operating budget of nearly $1 million.
Through its Academic Awards Program, the foundation provides more than $125,000 in scholarships and cash awards annually to honor outstanding graduating seniors as Academic All-Staters and exceptional educators as Medal for Excellence winners. The foundation provides free technical support and training to local education foundations across the state and sponsors the annual Fall Forum for Local Education Foundations, bringing together supporters of these nonprofit organizations that raise much-needed private dollars and rally community support for their local schools.
Among its other initiatives, the Foundation for Excellence coordinates a program to send Oklahoma teachers to the Colonial Williamsburg Teacher Institute each summer and provides subscriptions for schools to access HERO – History Education Resources Online, bringing history to life in the classroom. The foundation awards grants for teachers to attend regional and national conferences and has partnered with the national Fund for Teachers and the Tulsa Community Foundation to provide grants statewide for self-designed summer professional development opportunities. In 2006, the foundation launched the David and Molly Boren Mentoring Initiative to promote the establishment and growth of quality youth mentoring programs throughout Oklahoma.