Beauty & Integrity
In 2018, the Executive Committee of the United Founders Neighborhood Association moved to establish a separate organization – a charitable foundation known as the United Founders Neighborhood Foundation – with the purpose of maintaining and enhancing in perpetuity the public spaces within United Founders neighborhood (the historic United Life Plaza Subdivision of Oklahoma City, now known as Founders District), and of tapping into the expected broader-community support for promotion and preservation of this historic neighborhood as part of the City’s urban heritage. This new organization, was granted tax exempt 501(c)(3) public charity status by the IRS in April of 2019.
We hope you will join with us in supporting this new endeavor to insure that Founders District will remain a great place to live and work in perpetuity.
Specifically, the purpose of this charitable foundation, called the United Founders Neighborhood Foundation (“the Neighborhood Foundation”) is to help provide the funding necessary to construct, improve, beautify, and maintain the public street medians, easements, sidewalks, lighting, and parks on publicly owned or dedicated land within Founders District and surrounding areas, which directly benefits the safety of the businesses and residents in the area as well as the pedestrian and vehicle traffic of visitors to the area.
The central focus is the long-term maintenance and improvement of the District’s three blocks of ten (10) publicly-owned boulevard medians and eight (8) blocks of public street easements, which center around the iconic, mid-century-modern, 20-story United Founders Life Tower, a property on the National Register of Historic Places and a recognized landmark of the Oklahoma City skyline.
The Foundation initiates fundraising activities to raise money from persons, businesses, and existing charitable organizations within the District, and in greater Oklahoma City and beyond, known for their civic-minded philanthropy. The key to perpetual financial support is the Neighborhood Foundation’s Endowment Fund (established December 2019) at the Oklahoma City Community Foundation (OCCF) – designed, as all endowments, “to keep the principal amount intact while using the investment income for charitable purposes," and to continue growing the fund through investment performance and donor gifts.
According to the design of the Neighborhood Foundation’s endowment, once the fund reaches $40,000, 5% of the principal is distributed yearly as income to the Neighborhood Foundation for its charitable activities. So looking forward, for example, by building the Endowment Fund to $700,000, the income each year to the Neighborhood Foundation will be $35,000 – the amount needed currently to maintain the ten public medians.
The OCCF partners with the Neighborhood Foundation to help build its endowment through programs and technical assistance, including planned giving services. The OCCF promotes and publicizes the Fund to current and potential donors on a continual basis both via direct mail and website resources.
The planned maintenance and improvement activities to be funded by the distributions from the Endowment Fund and carried out by the Neighborhood Foundation, include the following:
Irrigating, mowing, trimming, fertilizing, and weed control of the ten public medians and selected public street easements on a weekly, monthly, and yearly basis as needed
Planning, planting, irrigating, mulching, fertilizing, and weed control of beds on the ten public medians and selected public street easements containing ornamental plant material on a weekly, monthly, and yearly basis as needed
Upkeep of hardscape elements (gravel walkways, rock features, bed edging) in public medians to include weed control, repair, and replacement of said elements on a weekly, monthly, and yearly basis as needed
Maintenance and installation of existing as well as future signage on public medians and selected public street easements to reinforce Founders District’s distinctiveness and to delineate its gateways – thereby creating a sense of place and reinforcing the architectural heritage rooted in the design legacy of the United Founders Life Tower on the National Register
Maintenance of existing, and installation of future, safety and aesthetic lighting systems in public medians and public easements
Installation and maintenance of additional landscape and hardscape elements, including trees, in the public easements and public medians
Design, installation, and maintenance of additional safety and beautification improvements to public medians and public easements.
The Board of Directors of the Neighborhood Foundation contracts with the City of Oklahoma City to assume the responsibility of planning and executing maintenance and improvement activities for the public spaces mentioned above. Without the takeover of these responsibilities by the UFNF, the City of OKC would carry out either no, or bare-minimum levels of, maintenance activities due to City budget constraints, thereby neglecting an area with a National Park-Service-designated historic-property asset that is in the City’s best interest to preserve and promote as part of Oklahoma City’s urban heritage.