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Who Funds OPSRC, and Why Do They Do It?

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March 30, 2016

As I travel the state and meet with school leaders, I am often asked a variation of the question “who funds you and why do they do it?” I am always happy to answer this question and would like to take a moment to share my answer on our blog. As you can see on our website here, the OPSRC receives financial support from the following organizations:

  • The George Kaiser Family Foundation
  • The Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Foundation
  • The Inasmuch Foundation
  • The Walton Family Foundation

These four foundations provided the funding to start the organization, and they each nominate a representative on the OPSRC’s board. These board members can be found our website here, but I’ll list them out in the blog as well:

  • Robert J. Ross Co-chair

          President and CEO | Inasmuch Foundation and Ethics and Excellence in Journalism Foundation

  • Ken Levit Co-chair

          Executive Director | George Kaiser Family Foundation

  • Dennis Neill

          Senior Program Officer | Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Foundation

  • Scott Smith

          Executive Director | Arkansas Public School Resource Center

  • Tracy McDaniel

          School Leader | KIPP Reach College Prep

  • Tyler Norvell

          Executive Director | Oklahoma Youth Expo

  • Lee Denney

          Representative & Speaker Pro Tempore | Oklahoma House of Representatives, District 33

As the executive director of the OPSRC, I report to the board, and we meet on a quarterly basis. Perhaps the most common question I get after highlighting the foundations and board members of the OPSRC is a variation of “why do these foundations and individuals support the OPSRC?” or put another way, “what’s the ulterior motive behind the OPSRC?” I think that this is a completely fair question to ask, and it’s one that I asked three years ago when I applied to be the executive director. This is the answer that I was told then and that I provide today: the four foundations supporting the OPSRC advocate for many different topics and issues, but they have a few common threads:

-       All four organizations have a vested interest in the state of Oklahoma

-       All four organizations invest a great deal of money in public education in Oklahoma

-       All four organizations believe that the OPSRC can provide much needed support for public schools across the state of Oklahoma

Many folks point out that the different foundations have varying agendas and approaches to improving public education in the state of Oklahoma, and I don’t disagree—if you visit the websites for the four foundations, you can see that each has its own distinct mission, but they all share a goal of improving public education in the state of Oklahoma.

I hope this helps shed light on the OPSRC. In future posts, I plan to elaborate on our mission and how we’re working to provide resources and support for public schools across our great state. Thanks for your interest!

About the Author

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Brent Bushey

Executive Director

Brent serves as the Executive Director of the OPSRC. As Executive Director, he is helping to establish the OPSRC and is responsible for building relationships with school leaders while also focusing on recruiting and hiring the OPSRC’s staff. This position is a return to his career “roots” as he began his career as a teacher in the New Orleans public schools on behalf of Teach for America and also served Teach for America as national recruitment director.

Prior to joining the OPSRC, Brent served as a program manager with the Federal Government. Brent holds an MA in Public Administration from George Washington University and a BA in Political Theory and Constitutional Democracy from Michigan State University.