Bartlesville Education Promise, recently honored as one of Oklahoma’s leading non-profit organizations aiding education, has invested more than three quarters of a million dollars over the last six years in helping local public school students become more successful.
Members of the BEP board were recognized Monday (May 17) at the meeting of the Bartlesville Board of Education. The board expressed its appreciation for the citizen-led organization that has worked closely with the public school system in developing extensive after-school tutoring and summer enrichment programs.
Much of BEP’s financial support is directed toward improving reading skills in elementary schools and toward preparing middle and high school students for graduation and productive careers. Although the COVID pandemic forced some efforts to be scaled back during the current school year, in the previous year, BEP programs benefitted approximately 3,100 students while providing part-time employment to about 140 teachers.
“Many of the BEP programs can help students make up for the lost ground that may have occurred in their education during the pandemic,” said Martin Garber, chairman of the BEP 12-member board. “For example, we’re supporting make-up classes at the high school, tutoring in preparation for PSAT testing, and after-school learning opportunities at both the Boys and Girls Club and Westside Community Center.”
With the school year wrapping up this week, BEP has been working with the Bartlesville School District to provide support of several summer programs. These include Transition Camps for 6th and 9th graders preparing for middle and high school, virtual tutoring for elementary students who are challenged to pass a state-mandated reading test, and a Leadership Camp for 3-5th graders taught by the district’s Gifted and Talented staff.
Funding for Bartlesville Education Promise since its founding in 2015 has come primarily from local citizens, corporations and foundations. Subsequently, it also has received grants from two statewide nonprofits that have honored BEP undertakings.
BEP was recognized as Oklahoma’s Outstanding Local Education Foundation by the Oklahoma Foundation for Excellence in 2017. Just last month, BEP was honored by the Oklahoma Center for Non-Profits at its annual awards ceremony as the Category Winner for Education in 2021, which included at $7,500 grant.
“Since its inception, BEP has raised and provided more than $760,000 to help the students be more challenged and successful both in the classroom and during summer break,” Garber said. “Our donors have been gratified by the way the school district and teachers have embraced our goals.”
Garber noted that out of the total funds provided, about $460,000 has gone to in-school programs and $320,000 toward summer activities. He also noted that BEP has no paid staff, so its administrative costs are quite low compared to most nonprofits – amounting to about 7 percent of the total funds raised, which is less than half of the administrative costs for an average foundation.