Through the Ken and Gae Rees Family Fund, the family awarded a three-year $500,000 grant to Parent Promise for an in-home family support program designed to work with overburdened families who are at risk for child abuse and neglect. Parent Promise has been helping at-risk families in Oklahoma County build resiliency and improve their education and employment situations for 30 years.
“The generosity of the Rees Family will allow our organization to increase the number of children and families we serve and improve the effectiveness of our home-based parent support programs,” said Sherry Fair, executive director of Parent Promise. “With the variety of programs we can now offer, we can better meet the needs of more families and help more children break out of the vicious cycle of poverty on their journey to adulthood.”
“Our family decided long ago the focus of our giving would be to make a difference for those children and families who seemed to be trapped in poverty for more than one generation,” Ken Rees said. “We know that our efforts can only begin to make a difference, but we hope they may highlight successful strategies that more can get behind.”
A graduate of Edmond Public Schools, Rees and his wife, Gae, have helped launch and grow several community organizations including the Edmond Public Schools Foundation and the Edmond Fine Arts Institute. They established their advised fund at the Oklahoma City Community Foundation in 2003 to construct a model of giving for their family.
Fair said that with this grant, Parent Promise will expand its programs to offer three evidence-based home visitation models to equip vulnerable families in providing as safe, loving and nurturing home.
“This will allow us to best fit our services to families based on that family’s individual needs,” Fair said. “Our programs enable families to develop resiliency and create positive parenting habits that support healthy child development. The changes these families are able to make today can help improve their children’s future.”
Parent Promise programs also help parents obtain wraparound services they may need to help them improve their education and employment, Fair said.
“We teach families how to nurture positive relationships, connect to a support system and develop healthy coping skills.”
This is the third “Breakout Challenge” conducted by the Rees family awarding a cumulative $1.6 million to four nonprofits since 2013. In 2013 they launched a competitive grant process to award multi-year grants to charitable organizations working to break the cycle of generational poverty in central Oklahoma. Previously, the family awarded grants to the Boys and Girls Club of Oklahoma County and ReMerge Oklahoma.
The Rees family is an example of many donors the Oklahoma City Community Foundation has helped connect to causes they care about, said Nancy Anthony, president of the Oklahoma City Community Foundation.
“This generous family had a vision of how they wanted to help their community. We were honored to provide a charitable vehicle that helps them accomplish that,” Anthony added.