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Oklahoma: A Place of Purpose

By Matt Stansberry

Central Oklahoma individuals and businesses have a rich history of giving, serving and stewarding their resources to make the 405 a better place to live, work and belong.

Many times, this purpose-led living goes unnoticed, which could be due to the humble nature of Oklahomans, especially when it comes to giving back to their community. But, there was a moment in history when the world got a glimpse of how Oklahomans come together to support their neighbor.

A legacy of service

In 1995, the Oklahoma City bombing brought OKC and the state to its knees. In the aftermath of this horrific act, Oklahomans came together in an astonishing way to freely give of their time, money and resources to help however they could. So much so, that this response became known as the Oklahoma Standard. Today, the Oklahoma City National Memorial and Museum preserves this standard and its values – show up to serve, rise up to honor and step up to be kind. These actions describe who we’ve been and who Oklahomans are still to this day.

The legacy continues

According to the Oklahoma City Community Foundation, Oklahomans provide more than 94.5 million hours of volunteer service worth more than $2.2 billion every year. This is a significant impact that can be felt across the state. Additionally, when it comes to giving, Oklahomans repeatedly step up. In 2021, total 501(c)(3) revenue was more than $5 billion in Oklahoma County alone, with total assets of more than $12 billion.

Most recently, Oklahoma has received the third largest group of Afghan refugees coming to the United States, behind California and Texas. Through a state collaboration led by Catholic Charities, the sole refugee resettlement agency in Oklahoma, the state is resettling more than 1,800 refugees. Bottom line, Oklahomans care.

Looking forward

The role of businesses in the 405 will continue to evolve as purpose and social good become more of the norm. Currently, 79 percent of all charitable giving comes from individuals and bequests. In the future, we could see this percentage change as corporations begin to give more to make a positive impact in their communities.

As the world strives to move past the current COVID crisis, now is the time to inspire the next generation of contributors. One way we can do this is by recognizing the current individuals and organizations that are giving back and making the 405 a place of purpose. By acknowledging some of today’s most giving leaders we are helping create a path for future purpose-led leaders, across all sectors of our community – helping them find their way through giving and service to others.

Matt Stansberry is the founder, CEO and partner at Nominee, a brand consultancy.

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