February 16, 2024


Our wonderful executive director, Sharon Walsh, is retiring in January 2025.  I have been pretending that her retirement is not happening, but now I can no longer be in denial.  And I want this for Sharon --- she has grandchildren who need her and a husband who wants more of her time.  She deserves all the good things that retirement can bring.  But this is going to be a big adjustment for all of us--- the Flint Family Foundation trustees and family members, and also for you, the nonprofits.  All of us will miss Sharon profoundly.

I am 78 years old and it is time for me to begin to hand over this wonderful and challenging position to the next generation, even though I’ll still be president for this year and probably next. 

So what will this look like going forward?  After hours of talk and consulting, the trustees have decided to strip the operations of the Flint Family Foundation to the bone and examine every part of what we are doing and how we are doing it.  We want to be certain that we will be creating a fresh Foundation that will promote unity within our family, will be most helpful to our community, and create more impactful grants.  The new process will perhaps be lighter on formal grant applications, online filings, and mid-year reports   This means that we are taking at least a year to figure out what format of giving will be best.  I just cannot make any predictions or presumptions at this time.

For the more immediate future, this next grant cycle [grants going out in 2024], we will be giving larger gifts to fewer nonprofits.  We are not accepting any applications, nor are we accepting any new grantees.  We will pick possibly 15-20 nonprofits from our list of agencies previously funded and fund those before the end of this year.  Sharon or I will be in touch with you if your nonprofit is one of those agencies.   Please, before March 15th, make certain that your contact person’s information is up to date on our portal.

I do realize that this may not be a welcome change.  But you can count on change being a hallmark of the Flint Family Foundation for probably the next three years until we can create a vision going forward.   We will try hard to keep you updated via emails and our website.  In other words, you won’t be able to count on us during this interim in the way you have been used to.  I have some concept of how losing our funding might impact some of you.  I apologize deeply for that.

I have cherished the opportunity to be of service to so many of Tulsa’s wonderful nonprofits and to help, in a small way, as you have worked tirelessly to fulfill your agency’s mission.  I thank you for your energy and your commitment.  It has been an honor and an inspiration to work with a group of people so dedicated to making Tulsa shine.  

~ Robin Ballenger