Lori Dickinson Black

Pictured with Edmond Public School Foundation Executive Director Lori Dickinson Black are Heritage Elementary students, back row from left: Harper Slotterback, Eli Newby, Dutch Anderson, and Hudson Eden; and front row from left: Judson Graham, Addy Wauters, and Noah Hurwitz. Dickinson Black watched the students perform their Reader’s Theater provided by a grant from the EPS Foundation.

Members of the Edmond Public School Foundation Board of Directors have begun their search for a new executive director.

They are seeking an applicant to fill the position currently held by Lori Dickinson Black who has been leading the foundation for the past five years. Dickinson Black announced she will be leaving at the end of the 2018-19 school year.

“I have been very thankful for the work Lori has done for the community, and we hope to continue the goal and make an impact on the lives of our students,” said Cole Stanley, the EPS Foundation Board of Directors president.  

He said the board is looking for someone who will be able to grow the program and expand the number of grants they are able to offer the district’s teachers.

The EPS Foundation has 16 members on the Board of Directors, 10 members on the Executive Committee including Stanley and three Advisory Members.

Stanley added that some EPSF Board Members rotate off every year and each year there are positions open.

Programs in place include Great Idea Grants for Teachers, Principal for a Day, the newly formed Achieve Fund, and scholarships that are awarded in memory of former students.

Events held each year which also bring funds to the foundation include the Hall of Fame Dinner, the Celebration of Excellence event to bring attention to and celebrate teaching excellence in Edmond and to award/name the EPS Teacher of the Year, the ONE Edmond workplace giving campaign and fundraising luncheon to secure annual and multi-year gifts, the Golf Tournament, and this year the addition of Keller Williams Red Day Run, partnering with VW of Edmond to raffle off a 2019 Jetta, and partnering with the Jobe Family to raffle a Desmond Mason custom-painted Harley Davidson to benefit special needs programs in the Edmond Public Schools.

Dickinson-Black said the EPSF Board Members consistently say the best part of their service is reviewing the grant applications and interviewing the applicants.

“And they also say the most difficult part of their jobs is not being able to fund every request,” Dickinson-Black said.

She said her initial goal was to create a sustainable, annual fundraising approach that would allow for a well-funded, structured granted system to support Edmond Public Schools’ students and teachers.

“It was equally important to raise awareness for the increasing needs in our schools as well as advocate for funding for schools in general to maintain and further the excellence that abounds in Edmond,” Dickinson Black said.

During Dickinson Black’s tenure, annual fundraising was increased from $160,000 to $400,000.

“Most recently, being a part of the largest single donation ($263,700) given to EPSF to benefit increased mental health support and training in Edmond Public Schools is personally meaningful,” Dickinson Black said. “I believe this generous donation is the beginning of a great movement to increasing mental health support in Edmond that ultimately addresses so many of the other issues that concern parents, schools and our community including academic performance, bullying, violence, substance abuse, and suicide prevention.”  

In addition to doubling the Grants for Teachers where classroom grant funds were increased from $90,000 to $185,000 (increasing the grant requests filled from 50 to 80 percent) annually and distributed by EPSF, the Achieve Fund was created and the funds were used to help offset costs of students and teachers attending artistic and academic competitions.

Originally founded as the Edmond Educational Endowment, the organization was created in the early 1980s as one of the first education foundations in the state of Oklahoma. In 1999, the organization formally changed its name to the Edmond Public Schools Foundation.

Since inception, the EPSF has provided more than $2.5 million in direct support to the district. These resources have funded: new technology, classroom curriculum, software, hardware, teaching aids, teacher trainings, student scholarships, playground equipment, textbooks, supplies, musical instruments, artwork, equipment, teacher awards, and numerous other educational aids. 

Dickinson Black will be turning her efforts toward a focus on growing her non-profit consulting business, volunteering in the schools, and increasing awareness of the need for mental health/counseling support in the schools. 

“I’m not going anywhere as far as my commitment to continuing to support Edmond teachers and schools, I’m just changing my approach,” she said.

Dickinson Black holds a Bachelor of Science degree in agricultural communications from Oklahoma State University and a certificate of nonprofit and fundraising management from the Lilly School of Philanthropy at the University of Indiana. She was named by the Edmond Chamber of Commerce the 2016 Woman of the Year, and was a 2010 finalist The Journal Record’s Oklahoma Woman of the Year.

A lifelong Oklahoman, Dickinson Black is married to Robert Black. In joining their families they now have four children, four dogs, three cats, a bird, and two fish. 

The mission of the Edmond Public Schools Foundation is to connect the community and its resources with the Edmond Public Schools teacher, student and school needs in pursuit of the highest level of academic excellence. To find out more about the EPS Board of Directors search for a new executive director or to apply, visit http://www.edmondpsf.org/position-search.htm.