A Brief History
Thoughts about starting a community foundation began formulating in 1998 after then-Bartlesville Chamber of Commerce CEO Pam Dunlap learned about the concept of public charities during a conference she had attended. Dunlap, Debbie Mueggenborg (accountant), David King (attorney), Donny Story (bank president), and Charlie Bowerman (Phillips Petroleum Company retiree) thought a community foundation could serve as a stabilizing force to counter the ups and downs of the oil and gas business.
A Certificate of Incorporation for the Bartlesville Area Chamber of Commerce Foundation was filed with the Oklahoma Secretary of State’s office on December 3, 1999. In addition to Mueggenborg, Story, and King, other original trustees included Kelly Diven (66 Federal Credit Union), Jim Evers (Southwestern Bell), Craig Bradshaw (Bank of Oklahoma), Kent Stroman (Bartlesville Wesleyan College). The principal office was the Chamber of Commerce on Keeler.
While the BCF had its own bylaws and was a separate entity, the trustees also served on the Chamber’s board of directors. The BCF operated that way for a few years, but those involved then became more educated with respect to laws and regulations and learned the BCF had to be totally separate from the Chamber. Amended articles of incorporation were filed July 26, 2001 and the name was changed to the Bartlesville Community Foundation.
The first office outside of the Chamber of Commerce was located on the fifth floor of 66 Federal Credit Union (now Truity). Charlie and Corky Bowerman were able to secure office furniture, cabinets, and desks from ConocoPhillips, and the two of them oversaw the daily operations for a few years to keep the BCF going after Pam Dunlap relocated to Edmond, OK.
The BCF hired its first executive director in 2006 and started its annual Legacy Hall of Fame gala in 2007. The event was not designed to be a fundraiser. Instead, it was created to educate people about community foundations and to kindle their interests in charitable giving while simultaneously honoring families that have had a lasting impact on Bartlesville.
In March 2012, Shawn Crawford was hired as the BCF’s fourth executive director. His knowledge and experience translated into significant growth of the Foundation. And in December of 2014, the BCF moved from the Bartlesville Regional United Way office at 415 Silas (Fifth) Street into its present location at 208 E. 4th Street.
In July 2015, the BCF unexpectedly received over $2 million from the Ruth C. Smith Family Trust. The unrestricted donation provided the financial freedom for the BCF to more easily conduct its daily operations as well as become more proactive in offering programs and services.
Today, the BCF works with individuals, corporations, organizations, and families to achieve their philanthropic goals for the betterment of everyone today and tomorrow. Visit our About the BCF page for current organization statistics and the News page for announcements and updates. Thank you for letting us serve you!