2020 Annual Letter

A Letter from the President

We knew 2020 was going to be a big year for the Foundation. We had just approved our second three-year strategic plan that called for a rural expansion in child welfare, and after years of planning, one of our major initiatives, the Diversion Hub, was set to open in downtown Oklahoma City in April.

Little did we all know that a global pandemic and a long-overdue racial equity uprising would require us all to think about what’s truly most important in our lives and how we can use our voice, influence, and resources to care for and lift one another.

While everyone was affected by the pandemic, the negative effects were most greatly felt by those who could least afford an economic disruption in their lives. This imbalance has been a major motivator for us as a foundation to continue to work through the literal shutdown of all but essential services, and to return to our offices as soon as legally allowed so that we could champion our vulnerable community members and nonprofit partners.

From our COVID-19 Child Welfare Rapid Response Fund which awarded grants to 27 non-profit and governmental organizations spanning more than 50 counties across the state, to providing emergency housing to individuals experiencing homelessness during the brutal winter months when capacity is limited, we stand with our partners and we are grateful for all the ways they continue to serve our community.

Our newly defined vision is a strong and vibrant community where families thrive and individuals are not defined by their circumstances. I cannot think of a better representation of this vision than the Diversion Hub which was created for individuals who are caught up in the criminal justice system. At the Hub they receive case management, justice navigation, and access to over 10 on-site partners who stand ready and willing to help with whatever the client needs to get back on track. Services provided include housing, education, employment, behavioral health, and state benefits to name a few. Despite the pandemic, the Hub opened almost on schedule in May of this past year. Staff members risked their lives to assist individuals who were deeply entangled in the criminal justice system. Their depth of commitment to others has been humbling.

We recognize that inequity lies at the heart of many of the issues we work on day-to-day, and we seek to continuously learn about and actively combat outcome disparities for minority populations in both the child welfare and criminal justice systems. Following the murder of George Floyd, we formed the OKC Black Justice Fund which sought to advance racial equity and justice in Oklahoma City. Through the generous donations of our community – ranging from $10 to $100,000, the fund provided financial support to 17 Black-led organizations working to advance racial justice in Northeast Oklahoma City and other under-resourced communities.

We remain committed to improving the child welfare system as we continue to invest in Oklahoma County and expand into rural Oklahoma. We remain primarily focused on safely preventing children from entering the foster care system by supporting the entire family wellbeing. For those children who cannot safely remain in their homes, then we also support programs and organizations that strengthen placement stability and help children find a permanent home as quickly as possible. We have expanded our reach to assist older youth who have been negatively impacted by the juvenile justice system.

Our grantmaking has deep roots in the animal welfare space and I’m so encouraged by all the progress that has been made to improve outcomes for companion animals. In 2019, we decided to refocus our animal grantmaking to exclusively support existing partners in Oklahoma. The state of animal welfare in Oklahoma has drastically improved in recent years and we are grateful to have been and continue to be a part of it.

I often say that we are ‘risk money’ meaning one of the most meaningful roles philanthropy can play is to encourage innovation and new ideas in search of scalable solutions. Looking ahead, we will continue to utilize proven models while also pushing the envelope to imagine what could be. I’ve highlighted only a small portion of our work in 2020. I invite you to stay connected to our work and that of our partners by visiting our website and following us on social media. What I hope you take away is that the Arnall Family Foundation remains steadfast in its commitment to supporting and inspiring new efforts to promote a just and equitable society — for everyone.

Sue Ann Arnall

Founder & President
Arnall Family Foundation

5 Years of Giving

The Arnall Family Foundation reached an important milestone in 2020 – our fifth anniversary! To commemorate the occasion, we took a look back at our grant investments since 2015. Reflected here are grants that advance the quality of life in our community and investments that represent strategic partnerships with organizations fighting for transformative change in the areas of child welfare, criminal justice and animal welfare. We are grateful to our partners who have made significant strides toward true system improvements and we remain hopeful that our continued journey together leads to a strong, vibrant community where families thrive and individuals are not defined by their circumstances.