News and Events

OFE News Release

Oklahoma Foundation for Excellence Offers Fall Forum for Public School Foundation, Youth Mentoring Leaders

September 21, 2011
OKLAHOMA CITY – “Building Better Schools Begins With YOU” is the theme for the 2011 Fall Forum for Local Education Foundations and Youth Mentoring Programs, slated from 9 a.m. till 2 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 25, at the Oklahoma Memorial Union, 900 Asp Ave., on the University of Oklahoma’s Norman campus. Registration and continental breakfast will begin at 8 a.m.

For more than 20 years, the Oklahoma Foundation for Excellence has presented the Fall Forum as the state’s premiere event for school foundation leaders, school administrators and others seeking to improve the quality of public education in their communities. As part of its Boren Mentoring Initiative, the Foundation for Excellence is expanding this year’s Fall Forum to include sessions for youth mentoring program leaders as well.

As an incentive to support the establishment of new public school foundations in Oklahoma, Local Education Foundation Outreach supporters Frank and Ludmila Robson of Claremore are sponsoring complimentary admission to the Fall Forum on a first-come, first-served basis for new and developing foundations, as well as for administrators and community leaders interested in developing foundations in their districts. Complimentary admission is also available to public school teachers and school counselors interested in learning how they can collaborate with public school foundations and mentoring programs to support their students.

Featured speakers for this year’s Forum include mentoring advocate Tom Pace, author of “Mentor: The Kid and the CEO,” and luncheon speaker Janet Barresi, state superintendent of Public Instruction. This year’s conference is the most comprehensive in the Fall Forum’s history, with more than 20 sessions led by national and state leaders in nonprofit administration and youth mentoring.

Sessions for school foundation leaders will include “Fundamentals for New and Developing School Foundations,” “Redefining Fundraising: A New Approach that Works,” “Why and How to Use Social Media,” “Keys to Successful Foundations: Best Practices,” and “Successful Fundraising Initiatives from Throughout the United States.” The foundation track will also include networking sessions for foundation leaders to share ideas and experiences.

The mentoring track will offer sessions on “The Three Rs of Mentoring: Recruitment, Retention & Rewards,” “Evaluating Your Mentoring Program Using Youth Quality Assessment,” “How to Launch a Faith-Based Mentoring Program,” “Mentoring Children of Incarcerated Parents,” and “How to Train Mentors.” Tulsa Principal Cindi Hemm, the 2011 Oklahoma Medal for Excellence-winning administrator, will offer sessions in both tracks, including “Proven Ways to Build Community Partnerships” and “Best Practices: How Mentoring Changed Eugene Field Elementary School.”

“Oklahoma’s public school foundations and its youth mentoring programs are both working to help the children of our state reach their fullest potential – academically and socially,” said Karen Rose, director of Local Education Foundation Outreach. “It is our hope that school foundation leaders and mentoring leaders will attend both mentoring and school foundation tracks and that they will build partnerships in their communities to support and nurture Oklahoma’s students.”

Elaine Hunter, interim director of the Boren Mentoring Initiative, said she hopes this year’s Fall Forum will provide useful information and resources for those interested in starting new youth mentoring programs. “Sessions will also focus on the elements of best practice for providing safe and effective mentoring programs for our state’s young people.”

During the Fall Forum luncheon, the Oklahoma Foundation for Excellence will present its $1,000 Outstanding Program Award for Local Education Foundations to the Putnam City Schools Foundation in recognition of its Early Birds Childhood School Readiness and Parent Education Program. The day will culminate with a keynote address by State Superintendent Barresi.

“Through its Outreach Program to Local Education Foundations, the Oklahoma Foundation for Excellence has helped build one of the nation’s largest grassroots networks of public school foundations, with more than 220 established to date,” said Emily Stratton, executive director of the Oklahoma Foundation for Excellence. “We hope to follow this pattern with our Boren Mentoring Initiative to build a strong network of youth mentoring organizations in Oklahoma. This year’s Fall Forum provides an opportunity for school foundation leaders, mentoring leaders and school administrators to work together for the common goals of building better schools and a better future for our children.”

Fall Forum registration is $50 per person if received by Oct. 11 and $60 for late registration. Session descriptions and registration forms are available online at For more information, call Karen Rose, director of Local Education Outreach, at (918) 743-5533.