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Supporter Spotlight: Meet the Lobeck Taylor Family Foundation

As Tulsa, Oklahoma’s leading convener for entrepreneurs and small businesses, the Lobeck Taylor Family Foundation curates targeted programs surrounding innovation and entrepreneurism. A proud Youth Entrepreneurs supporter, the Foundation partners with YE as a catalyst for entrepreneurship in the Tulsa area. Meredith Peebles, COO of the Lobeck Taylor Family Foundation, explains why the organization is deeply committed to entrepreneurism and why they partner with YE.

The roots of the Lobeck Taylor Family Foundation: The Lobeck Taylor Family Foundation was launched in Tulsa by Kathy Taylor and Bill Lobeck in 1997. Kathy Taylor was the 38th mayor of Tulsa, from 2006 - 2009. “She is a committed public servant and that permeates the mindset of our organization,” says Meredith. Bill Lobeck led a successful career in the rental car industry, serving a variety of companies with his entrepreneurial vision. The couple shares a commitment to seeing entrepreneurism thrive in Tulsa. For the first 15 years of its existence, LTFF primarily made grants to education, the arts and community capital campaigns.

Focusing on cultivating entrepreneurism: Five years ago, the Lobeck Taylor Family Foundation commissioned a gap analysis on Tulsa’s entrepreneurial ecosystem. The study uncovered a blueprint of what existed, and created pathways for Lobeck Taylor to be a convener and grantmaker for the city. “We shifted the mission and focus, and our heartbeat today is innovation and entrepreneurship,” Meredith says. The Foundation continues to iterate on that first study every year, aggregating national research with local data in their annual State of Entrepreneurship Report. “It’s a call to action for us as a grantmaking organization, to determine how we can best be meeting the needs of our community.” To that end, the Foundation has spearheaded the Tulsa Startup Series – Kitchen 66, an incubator focused on the food industry - a microfinance partnership with Kiva and many more initiatives.

Lobeck Taylor’s YE connection: When Youth Entrepreneurs moved into the Tulsa market, YE Development Director Rachel Janes got connected with Meredith. “We were instantly encouraged and excited about the mission of YE, and the curriculum is so incredible,” Meredith reflects. “Youth Entrepreneurs actually teaches students an entrepreneurial mindset and then couples that with tactical, tangible business skills and knowledge. Understanding these things at such a young age is so impactful for students in Tulsa and across the country.”

“We were instantly encouraged and excited about the mission of YE, and the curriculum is so incredible.”

How the Foundation supports Youth Entrepreneurs: “We were very excited to help fund YE’s pilot year in Tulsa,” Meredith says. “We believe that robust education is paramount to success as a business owner, and we were happy to have the opportunity to fund and partner with this organization. We’ve also been a big YE champion in Tulsa, making introductions to other funders and being a convener in that way.” Meredith and her team also looks forward to further pathways for YE engagement, including for students to participate in Lobeck Taylor’s pitch competition.

Why Lobeck Taylor partners with YE: Lobeck Taylor’s passion for YE stems from a mutual commitment to hands-on, practical lessons. “The practical learning that YE brings to life really resonates with our organization,” Meredith says. “The applied learning and opportunities for students sets the groundwork for success as they transition to college and to the workplace, whether students start a business of their own or go on to be an employee at a different organization. That really resonated with us and it’s truly incredible.”  

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