Teresa Rose

Executive director of the Communities Foundation of Oklahoma (CFO), Teresa Rose earned her bachelor’s degree and juris doctor from Oklahoma City University. After, she traversed the state, representing school districts in 150 communities. Following stints with Chesapeake Energy Corporation and the Oklahoma City Community Foundation, Rose landed at CFO, utilizing her expertise in law, community relations, government and philanthropy. We caught up with Rose and got her thoughts on … 

… the mission behind CFO. 

To strategically distribute charitable funds, maximize our donors’ impact and strengthen their communities through stewardship and commitment to sustainable change. For us, this looks like helping great people, organizations and communities across the state do great things by providing guidance, assistance and knowledge. We are the trusted partner in helping people create positive, long-term change in Oklahoma. 

… her day-to-day. 

Most generally, I am responsible for ensuring the day-to-day operations are accomplished, but I also serve as the bridge between our generous donors and the diverse communities we support. It’s my responsibility to facilitate meaningful connections, ensuring that our donors’ intentions are fulfilled and that the work of our team will advance the communities in which we are working. As a result, sometimes I find myself traveling the state, from Anadarko to Stillwater, Tahlequah to Alva, visiting one or more of our communities in a day. Other days, I’m stationed at our office, collaborating closely with our staff, brainstorming innovative strategies to amplify the positive impact our donors can make across Oklahoma.

… her proudest accomplishments. 

There is so much that I am proud of from the work of CFO and the donors and communities we support.  The increase in the number of communities we work with is something I am very proud of. When people living in a community decide they want to make their community better, we can provide assistance by helping them with administrative support and nonprofit guidance. Often, people have a vision or a project which will improve their community but lack the experience or tools for the project to come to fruition. I am also very proud of the work we did to assist the State, City of OKC and OK County in dispersing the rent and utility assistance included in the Emergency Rental Assistance Program (ERAP). Through the work of CFO and numerous partners, we were able to keep housed over 83,000 Oklahomans during the COVID-19 pandemic. Through this work we literally saved lives.

… what she wishes more people knew about. 

The transformative power individuals hold within their communities. CFO’s goal is to forge dynamic partnerships between donors and communities, fostering growth and progress throughout our state. We firmly believe that every individual possesses the ability to affect meaningful change and leave a lasting impact.

… her time practicing law and her passion for education. 

I absolutely loved the time I practiced law representing school districts. For most people who choose to spend their careers caring for other people’s children is a calling, and I was honored to support them as they worked to help children learn and grow to have healthy and stable lives. I believe education is one of the key and essential components of a successful and independent adult life. And for our children who are in low-income or poverty situations, an education is one of the only ways they have a chance to accomplish a different future. Additionally, democracy is dependent on an educated and thoughtful population. Self-governance requires that the population be informed and have the capacity to understand, assess and make determinations. A quality education is critical to developing these skills.

… what her dream Oklahoma looks like. 

I love this question.  My ideal Oklahoma is a state where, through a combination of public and private resources, every Oklahoman could access the resources to live the life they choose. Whether it’s through access to quality healthcare, affordable childcare in every county, or education systems that uplift everyone in them, our state’s citizens would be enabled to achieve their dreams and give back to their communities. 

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