T. Boone Pickens believes in the power of education and the dire need for preparing a next generation of leaders. He has supported this in his personal funding of different scholarship programs and the Foundation’s support of education initiatives. The Foundation has been particularly generous in its support of Oklahoma State University, more than $500 million split evenly between academics and athletics. Pickens often talks about how important his days on the Stillwater campus were to his career success.
American Association of Petroleum Geologists Foundation
The Foundation has committed to a $9.4 million pledge for the development of a GIS digital geology consortium between the American Association of Petroleum Geologists Foundation and Oklahoma State University, the first consortium of its kind. The consortium is developing digital GIS products through OSU’s geology and geography department, and will make them available to professionals and the public via AAPG’s intranet database. The gift comprises $240,000 per year for 10 years, plus a gift of $7 million provided in Pickens’ will as a legal testament. It is one of the largest single bequeaths the AAPG Foundation has ever received. AAPG was established in 1967 with the primary goal of providing a source of funding for educational, charitable and scientific objectives, which directly and indirectly benefit the geologic profession and the general public. The funds are providing operating capital for the Boone Pickens Digital Geology Fund to provide geologic, scientific and resource information to the general public via a map-based format researched and compiled through graduate geology students.
Boy Scouts of America
Pickens is a longtime support of the Boy Scouts of America and its programs. In 2008, the Foundation donated $250,000 to the Last Frontier Council in Oklahoma for construction of an Energy, Science and Technology Center at Slippery Falls Scout Ranch near Tishomingo. Last Frontier Council represents 30,000 youth and more than 8,000 volunteer Scouters and adults delivering the promise of Scouting in 24 counties across central, western, and southwestern Oklahoma. Its mission is to serve others by helping to instill values in young people and, in other ways, to prepare them to make ethical choices over their lifetime in achieving their full potential. The center features the state’s energy industry, natural resources and technology.
Branding Success/Oklahoma State University
Pickens and the Foundation has been extremely generous to Oklahoma State University, giving more than $500 million to the institution, split almost evenly between academic and athletic initiatives — all the while urging his fellow alums to donate to OSU as well. For example, when the OSU Foundation, a private fundraising organization whose mission is to unite donor and university passions and priorities to achieve excellence, launched a Branding Success campaign, Pickens offered some extra incentives for the cause. On February 26, 2010, Pickens announced a testamentary matching gift of up to $100 million to the university’s $1 billion Branding Success campaign. Due to an incredible response from donors, he later added an additional $20 million to his challenge. By the time the deadline hit, more than 2,600 other donors had stepped up to add more than $73.6 million for scholarships and graduate fellowships across the OSU system. Pickens added another $20 million to his pledge as the campaign’s end neared. The campaign, which ended Dec. 31, 2014, raised $1.2 billion nearly two years ahead of schedule. This is the second Pickens challenge sparking a record-breaking outpouring of generosity at OSU. In 2008, his $100 million commitment for endowed faculty positions prompted about 900 donors to add $68 million in just 40 days. With matches from the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education, the total impact balloons to more than $330 million.
Dallas Arboretum & Botanical Gardens
The Foundation supplied a $5 million grant to help develop an 8-acre outdoor science laboratory at the at Dallas Arboretum & Botanical Gardens, located on the southeastern shore of White Rock Lake in Dallas. The 24,424-square-foot T. Boone Pickens Pure Energy Learning Gallery, one of the largest attractions in the Rory Meyers Children’s Adventure Garden, opened in late 2013. The adventure garden has 17 Learning Galleries, offering a comprehensive outdoor science laboratory where children can learn about nature in nature. One of the largest and most prominent of the Learning Galleries is the T. Boone Pickens Pure Energy Gallery. Pure Energy is anchored by a 30-foot-tall Energy Tower, and features three separate islands, each devoted to an alternative source of energy: water, wind, and sun. From an interactive machine that demonstrates how wind energy can be transformed to make things operate to high-powered water pistols and a solar tree with leaves composed of photovoltaic cells, the exhibits in Pure Energy deliver science education with a high dose of wow.
Oklahoma Heritage Association (Oklahoma Hall of Fame)
A $3 million Foundation award helped open the Gaylord-Pickens Oklahoma Heritage Museum in 2007 in Oklahoma City. The museum offers high-tech, interactive exhibitory that provides visitors the opportunity to experience Oklahoma’s history through its people, and houses the state’s Hall of Fame. Visitors meet both famous and everyday Oklahomans whose lives have impacted Oklahoma, the country, and the world. The Oklahoma Heritage Association changed its name to the Oklahoma Hall of Fame in 2015. The museum is scheduled to receive an additional $2 million testamentary gift.
Opportunity Plan Inc. Educational Loans and Scholarships
Pickens, a longtime Robert County property owner in the Texas Panhandle, and Canadian, Texas, couple Salem and Ruth Ann Abraham, joined forces to form the Pickens-Abraham Foundation. The joint Foundation, through separate gifts and a partnership with Canyon-based Opportunity Plan Inc. Educational Loans and Scholarships, has provided more than $1.6 million in annual financial assistance to high school graduates of Miami High School and Canadian High School. Pickens began supporting OPI in 1979 when he established the T. Boone Pickens Jr. Student Loan Fund. In recognition of the role OPI played in Ruth Ann’s higher education, the Abrahams set up OPI’s Salem and Ruth Ann Abraham Scholarship Fund in 2005. When Salem Abraham approached Pickens about funding scholarships for high school graduates in Canadian and Miami at the time, Pickens agreed if the Abrahams would match him dollar for dollar in contributions, which have totaled at least $100,000 annually.
Perot Museum of Nature & Science
The Perot Museum of Nature & Science at Victory Park, which opened in December 2013, has quickly become a fixture of Dallas tourism and education. The Museum is the result of a 2006 merger, unlike any in the nation, of three cultural institutions—the Dallas Museum of Natural History (est. 1936), The Science Place (est. 1946) and the Dallas Children’s Museum (est. 1995). The merger made the need for additional space critical. In November 2009, the Museum of Nature & Science — whose mission is to “inspire minds through nature and science” — broke ground on an $185-million-dollar, world-class, state-of-the-art museum at Victory Park in Downtown Dallas, which supplements the Museum’s existing programming and operations at its Fair Park location. The Foundation donated $10 million to the museum’s fundraising campaign. Towering dinosaurs, rare fossils and virtual paleo-habitats are just a few of the features that make the T. Boone Pickens Life Then and Now Hall a must-go destination for dinosaur lovers, fossil collectors or just about anyone who has ever wondered what life was like when dinosaurs roamed the Earth. It occupies 11,566 square feet on the museum’s top floor. The Perot Museum exposes children to a world of ideas and concepts in science, math and technology, all within one spectacular 180,000–square-foot location.
Ronald Reagan Foundation/ Ronald Reagan Presidential Library and Museum
A $10 millions Pickens gift helped pay for the Air Force One Pavilion at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library and Museum in Simi Valley. The library’s 87,000-squarefoot Pavilion features the Boeing 707 used by seven U.S. presidents. It was President Reagan’s dream to share Air Force One with the American people by bringing this plane, which carried him to Berlin, where he challenged Soviet General Secretary Mikhail Gorbachev to “Tear down this wall.” Two plaques at the Pavilion recognize Pickens for his contributions to the project and his relationship with President Reagan, whom he greatly admired. Additional testamentary gifts of $25 million and $1 million are pledged to the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library and The Reagan Library Foundation, respectively. Pickens is particularly fond of Ronald Reagan’s legacy of leadership, as evidenced by the following summary he offered for a book on the former president called, Reagan on Leadership: “President Reagan was one of the finest leaders of this century. Business leaders and entrepreneurs alike can learn from his management style and communication practices. Ronald Reagan always left an audience with the impression he was sincere, approachable, and a regular guy. These qualities are described in Reagan on leadership in a way that is invaluable for today’s executive. It should be required reading in business schools across America.”
Special Olympics Texas
Special Olympics Texas provides year-round sports training and athletic competition in a variety of Olympic-type sports for children and adults with intellectual disabilities. The events give them continuing opportunities to develop physical fitness, demonstrate courage, experience joy and participate in a sharing of gifts, skills and friendship with their families, other Special Olympics athletes and the community. A$100,000 Foundation grant in 2007 helped cover the expenses for 60 athletes to attend the Special Olympics Team USA training camp and Texas orientation sessions, including the cost of uniforms, luggage, food, and housing. Special Olympics Texas is a year-round movement, holding more than 300 competitions annually on area, regional and state levels. Event divisions are based on age, gender and ability level to give athletes an equal chance to win. Each participant receives a medal or ribbon following his or her events.
Texas Woman’s University
Texas Woman’s University is a public institution primarily for women that prepares women and men for leadership and service through high-quality undergraduate, graduate and professional programs on campus and at a distance. When Ann Stuart became chancellor and president of Texas Woman’s University in 1999, she was charged with heightening the reputation and visibility of the university. As part of this goal, she envisioned moving TWU’s Dallas health care programs, then housed at two locations, into one state-of-the-art building that would enhance the university’s reputation as a leader in graduating health care professionals. With a $5 million gift from Boone Pickens in 2006 — then the largest gift to TWU in its more than 100-year history — this vision became a reality. The TWU T. Boone Pickens Institute of Health Sciences-Dallas Center opened in 2011 on the site of TWU’s former campus near Parkland Hospital. A 190,000-square-foot facility, it houses the Houston J. and Florence A. Doswell College of Nursing, the TWU Stroke Center-Dallas, the School of Occupational Therapy, the School of Physical Therapy and the university’s health systems management program. Since it opened, the facility has helped TWU become a leader in using technology that mirrors the workplace, including the use of state-of- the-art teaching tools in the classroom, live streaming of lectures, and high-fidelity patient mannequins in nursing labs. Having well positioned TWU for the future, Dr. Stuart retired from the university in June 2014 (after her May induction into the Texas Women’s Hall of Fame in Austin).
Alexis De Tocqueville Society
The Foundation has supported the United Way Tocqueville Society, founded in 1984 as an opportunity for passionate individuals to become more deeply involved in United Way’s mission. The Society aims to change lives through philanthropic leadership focused on the building blocks for a better life: a quality education that leads to a stable job; income that can support a family through retirement, and good health. It recognizes local philanthropic leaders and volunteer champions in the United States, France, and Romania who have devoted time, talent, and funds to create long-lasting changes by tackling our communities’ most serious issues.
The American Spectator Foundation’s mission is to educate the public on new ideas, concepts, and policies that favor traditional American values, such as economic freedom, individual liberty, self-sufficiency, and limited government. Pickens and the Foundation have supported American spectator in a number of ways, including as a benefactor of its Young Journalism Training Program, which trains and cultivates young writers for careers in journalism and serves as an outlet for a host of both young and established conservative writers and thinkers.
Booker T Washington
The Foundation has supported Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing & Visual Arts, part of the Dallas Independent School District and the first secondary school in the district to be awarded the prestigious National Blue Ribbon Award for Exemplary Education from the Department of Education. Since 1976, the school has earned the distinction for Exemplary Arts Education from the Rockefeller Foundation, one of the Top 8 Magnet Schools in the country by the Department of Education, and one of the top 5 schools in the nation by the National Foundation for Advancement in the Arts, among others.
Dallas Center for the Performing Arts Foundation
The Foundation participated in the capital campaign for the construction of the AT&T Performing Arts Center in downtown Dallas, and Pickens’ name is represented in the Donor Reflecting Pool, a centerpiece of the Center’s campus and a lasting tribute to the individuals, families, foundations and corporations that made unparalleled contributions to this historic cultural project.
Equest Therapeutic Horsemanship
Equest Therapeutic Horsemanship, founded in 1981, was the first therapeutic riding center in Texas. The Foundation has supported the organization in its mission, which is to enhance the quality of life for children and adults with diverse needs by partnering with horses to bring hope and healing through equine assisted activities and therapies. Equest provides equine facilitated activities, therapies, and counseling to children and adults with physical, cognitive, sensory, coping, social, and learning disabilities and veterans with adjustment challenges.
The Federalist Society
Pickens and the Foundation have long supported the Federalist Society for Law and Public Policy Studies, founded in 1982 as a group of conservatives and libertarians dedicated to reforming the current legal order. It is committed to the principles that the state exists to preserve freedom, that the separation of governmental powers is central to our Constitution, and that it is emphatically the province and duty of the judiciary to say what the law is, not what it should be. The Society seeks to promote awareness of these principles and to further their application by providing a forum for legal experts of opposing views to interact with members of the legal profession, the judiciary, law students, academics, and the architects of public policy.
Ford’s Theater Society
The Foundation contributed $1 million to the Ford’s Theatre Society $50-million-plus capital campaign in support of the renovation of Ford’s Theatre and its museum, as well as the building of the new Center for Education and Leadership. The 153-year-old Ford’s Theatre reopened in February 2009 after being closed for an 18-month renovation in connection with the bicentennial of Lincoln’s birth. The re-imagined museum opened and addition of the new Center for Education and Leadership occurred later that year.
Pickens and the Foundation have supported the FreedomWorks Foundation, which aims to build, educate, and mobilize the largest network of activists advocating the principles of smaller government, lower taxes, free markets, personal liberty and the rule of law. For over a quarter century, FreedomWorks has identified, educated, and actuated citizens who are enthused about showing up to support free enterprise and constitutionally limited government. It attempts to break down the barriers between the beltway insiders and grassroots America.
Gerald R. Ford Foundation
The Foundation awarded $1 million The Gerald R. Ford Presidential Foundation in 2006 for ongoing support of the feature exhibits and educational programming at the Ford Museum, which fosters increased awareness of the life, career, values and legacy of America’s 38th President. It does so through activities designed to promote the high ideals of integrity, honesty, and candor that defined President Ford’s extraordinary career of public service.
Horatio Alger Association
The Foundation has supported the Alexander, Virginia-based Horatio Alger Association of Distinguished Americans Inc., founded in 1947, since Pickens’ induction in 2006. The association, dedicated to the belief that hard work, honesty and determination can conquer all obstacles, honors the achievements of outstanding leaders who have accomplished remarkable successes in spite of adversity by bestowing upon them the Horatio Alger Award and inducting them as lifetime members. Those members in turn support promising young people with the resources and confidence needed to overcome adversity in pursuit of their dreams through higher education. Since 1984, the association has awarded more than $125 million in college scholarships to more than 25,000 young people. The association is named for Horatio Alger, a 19th-century author of hundreds of dime novels in the “rags-to-riches” genre, extolling the importance of perseverance and hard work.
Jesse Helms Center Foundation
The Foundation has supported the Jesse Helms Center Foundation, founded to promote traditional American values and the principles upon which the United States was founded and that Sen. Jesse Helms advanced throughout his career. It accomplishes this mission through education, public policy promotion and historical preservation. Its programs are offered at little or no coat to the public through the generosity of donors. Pickens is a member of its Charles A. Cannon Free Enterprise Hall of Fame and was a frequent lecture series speaker during his career.
The Foundation has supported the Alexandra, Virginia, Leadership Institute, founded in 1979. The Institute provides training in campaigns, fundraising, grassroots organizing, youth politics, and communications. The Institute teaches conservatives of all ages how to succeed in politics, government, and the media. The Institute offers 47 types of training schools, workshops, and seminars; a free employment placement service; and a national field program that trains conservative students to organize campus groups.
Media Research Center
The Foundation has supported the Reston, Virginia-based Media Research Center, whose mission is to serve as nation’s premier media watchdog. MRC doesn’t endorse politicians or lobby for legislation, but rather it aims to expose and neutralize what it determines to be the propaganda arm of the Left: the national news media. Integrating cutting-edge news monitoring capabilities with a sophisticated marketing operation, MRC reaches nearly 203.6 million Americans each week to educate them about left-wing bias in the media.
Oak Hill Academy
The Foundation gave $450,000 to the Academy, which has a decades-long history of unveiling the extraordinary minds of students whose gifts had been hidden in ordinary classrooms. Its program is designed to help “at-risk” youths with specific learning differences, such as ADHD, Auditory Processing Disorders, and others. The T. Boone Pickens Science Center increased the services on the campus, which enrolls students age 3 through 10th grade.
The Foundation has supported Washington, D.C.-based Philanthropy Roundtable, America’s largest network of donors committed to protecting philanthropic freedom, upholding donor intent, and strengthening a free society through charitable giving. It provides expertise, create definitive publications, connect funders, and help donors achieve their charitable goals.
The Robert Dole J. Institute of Politics
The Foundation has supported the Lawrence, Kansas-based Robert J. Dole Institute of Politics, which celebrates public service and promotes civil discourse and the legacy of Sen. Bob Dole by providing public programming, research and educational opportunities, a museum gallery, and other offerings. Museum gallery features include the world’s largest stained-glass American flag, Kansas veterans WWII memory wall and World Trade Center beams. It is home to the Robert J. Dole Archive & Special Collections, which includes over 35 years of congressional papers, as well as objects and materials from the Senator’s entire life.
Salesmanship Club of Dallas
The Foundation has supported the Salesmanship Club of Dallas, which for more than 95 years have committed to transforming kids’ lives. Founded in 1920, the Club unites its more than 600 members by four core values: fellowship, commitment, respectfulness and humility. Club members focus their dedicated efforts to support Momentous Institute, which builds and repairs social emotional health for kids and families through education, therapeutic programs, research and training. Uniquely, the Salesmanship Club owns and operates both Momentous Institute and its chief fundraiser, the AT&T Byron Nelson, a PGA TOUR tournament. The Foundation has sponsored the Byron Nelson Prize, honors a person or organization in the golf world who exemplifies the ideals of “giving back” that the late Byron Nelson personified.
St. Stephen’s and St. Agnes School
The Foundation has supported St. Stephen’s & St. Agnes School, an independent Episcopal coed private college preparatory school in Alexandria, Virginia. The school was created from the 1991 merger of St. Agnes School (a girls school founded in 1924) with St. Stephen’s School (a boys school founded in 1944). One of Pickens’ personal highlights was giving the 2007 commencement address to the school with a graduating grandson in attendance.
Young America’s Foundation
The Foundation has supported the Young America’s Foundation, which is committed to ensuring that increasing numbers of young Americans understand and are inspired by the ideas of individual freedom, a strong national defense, free enterprise, and traditional values. As the principal outreach organization of the Conservative Movement, YAF introduces thousands of American youth to these principles by providing essential conferences, seminars, educational materials, internships, and speakers to young people across the country. It also operates The Reagan Ranch Center in Santa Barbara, California.