- Cathy O’Connor
Progress OKC welcomes new executive director
Kimberly Statum-Francisco will begin as executive director of Progress OKC on March 7. Her professional experience and roots in Oklahoma City will help Progress OKC advance economic and social resources in areas of Oklahoma City that have traditionally been under-resourced or disinvested. As a CDC, Progress OKC develops and manages affordable housing, supports small and minority-owned businesses and has other revitalization activities. The cornerstone of the organization’s success has been its collaborations with residents and partners.
Kimberly’s background positions her perfectly for the leadership position. In her most recent role as manager of the Ralph Ellison Library, she worked with state and local agencies, community-based nonprofits and local school systems to provide programming and services based on community needs. She led a systemwide effort to curate a hundred-year history of the Ralph Ellison library in collaboration with community stakeholders, leaders and individuals. Other experience includes work for nonprofits in the areas of education and training, federal, state and foundation grant acquisition and administration and fundraising.
Kimberly understands the time and energy required to rebuild trust and inclusion. A lifelong resident of northeast Oklahoma City, she has seen disconnect between the leaders, financers and developers and the needs and desires of underrepresented people who live in the impacted neighborhoods. She is motivated to build on the inroads made by Progress OKC and the Alliance in visioning and developing with community inclusion.
The Alliance founded Progress OKC in 2016 to better support investment and development in key areas. One of Progress OKC’s first projects was grant writing and fundraising for the renovations of the auditorium at the Douglass into a premier performing arts and community meeting venue.
Progress OKC has also taken the lead on redeveloping areas for affordable housing, improving parks and setting up programs to help minority-owned businesses.
Progress OKC developed the Building Businesses Back Better (B4) program to connect small Oklahoma City businesses with consultants who provide human resources, marketing and financial services to help the business recover from COVID.
In 2021, Progress OKC launched the KIVA OKC lending program to help local entrepreneurs and small businesses access low-barrier, micro loans. The program has fully funded 18 local businesses with nearly $100,000 in total loans.
I look forward to the positive impact of Progress OKC’s next projects under the Kimberly’s leadership.