For Michael and Lisa Coffman, it was a family tradition. For Dick Wright, it provided a way to honor the memories of his late wife and mother. Clyde Schoolfield identified it as a good cause when he moved back to Oklahoma. For Barry and Nancy Grove, it’s always been about the research.
Everyone has a unique reason for giving to the Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation, and OMRF recognized these and other long-term supporters at its inaugural Loyal Donor Society reception on Thursday at the foundation in Oklahoma City.
The group was established to honor and celebrate OMRF’s most consistent long-term donors. The foundation recognized those who have made donations to the nonprofit institute for a minimum of five consecutive years. Donors with giving records of 15, 20, 25 and 30 years were also spotlighted. Nearly 125 people attended last night’s initial celebration.
“It’s amazing to realize that these individuals and groups have giving histories that go back as far as 59 years, and that’s every year,” said OMRF Senior Director of Development Ginny Carl, J.D. “About 15 of those have given more than 500 gifts to OMRF, and that’s significant. We wanted to recognize these donors, because they are the true foundation of support for OMRF.”
As a part of the evening’s program, OMRF President Stephen Prescott, M.D., provided an update on some of the innovative projects in the works at the nonprofit foundation. He touched on several items of interest, including key OMRF discoveries of the past, as well as focusing on current breakthroughs, such as an ongoing brain cancer treatment trial, diagnostic testing for rheumatoid arthritis and the foundation’s rapidly expanding program in aging research.
He also spoke to the critical role philanthropic giving plays in establishing the backbone of support necessary for nonprofits like OMRF.
“I thought the reason for this event was just fantastic and a really nice gesture,” said Wright, who has been donating for 36 years. “I’m not the biggest donor or the longest-term donor, but I do what I can. I am very appreciative of what OMRF does, and it means a lot to me.”
This Oklahoma City reception was the first stop in a five-city tour for OMRF’s donor recognition events. Loyal donor events are also scheduled for Lawton, Tulsa, Enid and McAlester in 2016.
“We are all touched by disease, either individually or by a friend or relative, and these donors have chosen to honor their loved ones by making a difference in the fight against disease,” said Carl. “I thought the event was a huge success, and I look forward to building on it in the future and showing our supporters just how much we appreciate what they do for us.”