RICHARD SIMUNEK GIFTS 1 MILLION TO THE HENNESSEY LIBRARY

Zorita Zevely Matching Funds Gift

Announcement by Richard W. Simunek, January 27, 2020 at Hennessey Pubic Library, 12 pages.

My thanks to all for coming today.  Zorita, my good buddy and wife of 48 years, and I graduated from Hennessey in 1964.  Our class was the last class to graduate from the old Hennessey High School building.  I was gone for 49 years until I returned in 2013 following Zorita’s passing in 2012.  For Zorita and me, Hennessey was a wonderful place to grow up. 

Today, I am announcing matching funds for Hennessey that will be given to Hennessey upon my death.  These matching funds are not from me.  Rather, these matching funds are a gift from both my wife, Zorita Zevely Simunek, and me as specified in our 2008 Trust.  All funds are to held by the Communities Foundation of Oklahoma, the largest foundation in Oklahoma established specifically targeting rural counties and rural towns.

I have shifted the specified 2008 funds in our 2008 Trust around because of town projects and goals Zorita and I were not aware of in 2008.  Zorita would undoubtedly approve of the changes.

Zorita possessed superb organizations skills, a strong sense of humor, and the ability to put everyone at ease and draw them into her world of fun and trust.  Zorita was what is called in the business world a “Rain Maker.”  Without her superb skills, this gift would not have been possible.

Zorita is lost to us.  But what is not lost is her hard work and concern for others.  That will never be lost because of her matching fund gift.  Her concern for others will always live on.

Every dollar donation by a donor to the projects and purposes listed below will be matched dollar for dollar by the Zorita Zevely Matching Funds. 

These matching funds come with two overall conditions.  The first is regarding use.  The second condition is requirements for community development education for Town Council members.  The matching funds and direct gifts will go to the following purposes or projects:

1.       Hennessey Public Library, Sam and Burla Snyder History Center, and old school Gym,

2.       Hennessey School Teacher enhancement,

3.       The proposed Hennessey Pavilion,

4.       Christian Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts,

5.       Old Sinclair Gas Station/John C. Karcher Museum,

6.       Horse Stable Entrepreneur Center,

7.       Champlin Gas Station Bed and Breakfast,

8.       Hennessey Grant Writing Position, and

9.       Town Board Required Training.

All cash donations and all irrevocable pledges that become cash bequests receive a 5% match from the Communities Foundation of Oklahoma.                                                                                                                                                                    

CFO does not hold property.  Donated property listed in this memo will be given directly to the town of Hennessey.

For the first ten years following my death, all income earned from the provided matching funds held by CFO will go to the specific Hennessey project.  These earned funds may be spent immediately or held and accumulated for future use.  

Beginning with the 11th year, any income earned from the matching funds will go to Hennessey in proportion of the cash funds given or pledged against the Zorita Zevely matching funds.  For example, if 70% of the Library and Museum matching funds are matched either by immediate gifts or pledged future gifts, then the Hennessey Library and Museum will receive 70% of the income from the matching funds provided by Zorita and me.

The remaining 30% will go into the Zorita Zevely Simunek and Anita Hill Zevely Scholarship endowment established with the Oklahoma State University Foundation.  This scholarship is for women enrolled in the College of Education at Oklahoma State University and in need of financial aid.

When the Zorita Zevely matching funds are 100% matched, then all income earned from the Zorita Zevely matching funds will of course go to Hennessey.  Donations to match the funds can be cash or an irrevocable pledge of a future donation.

All pledges of future donations to match the Zorita Zevely matching funds must be irrevocable pledges.  For example, if a 30-year old person pledges to donate $10,000 to a Hennessey project upon their passing, that irrevocable pledge will be considered a match of the Zorita Zevely matching funds.

Hennessey Library, Sam and Burla Snyder History Center, and old school Gym

One million three hundred and fifty thousand dollars will be provided at the time of my death for the Hennessey library, Sam and Burla Snyder History Center, and the old school Gym.  These funds are to be held by the Communities Foundation of Oklahoma and are to be referred to as the Zorita Zevely Sokol  Funds.  These funds must be matched.

If the Town Council does not maintain and preserve the Library and History Center building in the old High School building, the attached auditorium, and old Gym, then the one million three hundred and fifty thousand dollars of matching funds are to be transferred into the Zorita Zevely Simunek and Anita Hill Zevely endowed Scholarship Fund at the Oklahoma State University Foundation.  

The Town Council may modify and/or remodel the auditorium for any future proposed public or private use, provided it is approved both by the Friends of the Hennessey Library and approved by community wide vote.

Income from the Zorita Zevely Sokol matching funds is to go first for the fireproofing of the Library and History Center building, installation of a sprinkler system, and remodeling the second level above the library to meet building and fire codes so that space can be used by the library and/or history center.

Income earned from the Zorita Zevely matching funds may also be used to provide required matching funds for seeking grants to enhance the mission of the library, history center, and old school gym.

Starting in the first year, one percent of the income earned by the Zorita Zevely Sokol Fund is to go to the Helen Cline Scholarship Fund administered by the Friends of the Library, five percent to the Mary Haney Fund and five percent to the Opaleta Blalock Fund.  The monies in the Mary Haney Fund and Opaleta Blalock Fund are to administered by the Friends of the Library for any purpose at their sole discretion supporting the Library and History Center.

When the fireproofing is completed, the sprinkler system installed, and the remodeling of the second library/history center second floor completed, 10% of the income earned from the Zorita Zevely Sokol funds are to go to the Mary Haney Fund and 10% to the Opaleta Blalock Fund.

The Friends of the Library along with Library/History staff sponsor many worthwhile activities and devote many unpaid hours and days to this effort.  But they are limited by the simple lack of funds.  These additional funds will allow greater exploitation and greater use of the Library/History Center facilities and holdings by the Friends of the Library and Staff for the Hennessey community.

When the fire proofing is completed, the sprinkler system is installed, and the remodeling of the second floor of the library/history center is completed, the income from the endowed Zorita Zevely Sokol funds for any use in support and maintenance of the Library and History Center including staff salaries, the upgrading, capital improvement, and maintenance of the old school gym, the building and maintenance of a separate history building preferably located between the library and old school gym, remodeling and maintenance of the old school auditorium for any use, acquisition of adjacent land bordering the old school grounds, maintenance and improvement of any building or facility located on the old school grounds, building and maintaining tennis courts and pickle ball courts, matching funds for submitted grant requests, foundation advertising, all other advertising, and for any use that enhances the mission of the library, history center, and gym.

No new buildings are to be built on the old school grounds or buildings moved to the old school grounds with the exception of building a new museum building.

At this time, I wish to compliment and express my deep appreciation to the Friends of the Library, former Director Mary Haney, and current Director Ruth Ann Replogle and former and current staff for their tremendous dedication in support of the Library despite a very limited budget.  They have substituted labor, dedication, band aids, and some magic in preserving and maintaining this strongest of Hennessey’s heritage.  The library and history center preserve our history and heritage in that magnificent beautiful historic building and has always had a special place in Zorita’s and my heart.

My deep thanks are extended to the past and current Town Council for preserving our library and the magnificent historical old school building for the people of Hennessey to enjoy for generations to come.

Hennessey School Teacher Enhancement

Five hundred thousand dollars of endowed matching funds are provided to the Hennessey Public Schools and Hennessey Education Foundation for Teacher Enhancement.  These funds must be matched.  The five hundred thousand matching funds are endowed funds.  The $500,000 is to be held by the Communities Foundation of Oklahoma and referred to as the Zorita Zevely Teacher funds. 

All income earned by the Zorita Zevely Teacher matching funds are to go to Hennessey teachers.  Beginning in the 11th year, any income earned from the matching funds will go to Hennessey school teacher enhancement in proportion of the cash funds and/or irrevocable pledges against the Zorita Zevely matching teacher funds.  The remaining income from unmatched funds will go into the Zorita Zevely Simunek an Anita Hill Zevely endowed scholarship at the Oklahoma State University Foundation.

The School Board and the Hennessey Education Foundation will jointly decide the disposition of earned income in response to proposals made by individual Hennessey School teachers which could range from teaching materials and equipment, tuition for further education and related educational expenses, educational travel within the United States and overseas, to provide matching funds for submitted grants, teacher bonuses, foundation advertising, and any other teacher enhancement purpose deemed worthy by the school board and Hennessey School Foundation.

A condition of the Zorita Zevely matching fund gift is that the School Board and/or Hennessey School Foundation build and maintain an email list of past Hennessey School graduates.  With the email list, information will be sent to Hennessey School educational activities along with information about the  Hennessey school foundation and giving.  It would be nice to work for the community as a whole, and include information about giving to the Library and History Center, Pavilion, and Main Street preservation.

It would also be nice for the Library web page and the Hennessey town web page have links to the Hennesey School web page and its Foundation program.  

Proposed Hennessey Pavilion

Five hundred thousand dollars of endowed funds and the 11 lots located between the Champlin Apartments and railroad track are given to the town of Hennessey for the proposed Hennessey Pavilion.  No buildings are to be built on the 11 lots so the kids can play soccer and touch football there.  The 11 lots are to be named the John C. Karcher Park.  Tents may be erected on the 11 lots for events held at the Pavilion.   No matching funds are required to receive the endowed Pavilion funds.

The $500,000 will be held by the Communities Foundation of Oklahoma and will be referred to as the Zorita Zevely Paviion Fund.

Income earned from the endowed funds may be used to build the Pavilion and John C. Karcher Park.  After the Pavilion is built, income from the endowed Zorita Zevely Pavilion funds are to be used in whole or part to hire an events coordinator, advertising of Pavilion events, expenses to maintain the Pavilion and John C. Karcher Park, utilities, and any effort to support the mission of the Pavilion.  Income earned from the endowed funds may also be used as the town’s contribution to obtain grants for the Pavilion.

Three major conditions must be met to receive the endowed funds.  First, the Pavilion must be built on the former Lee Lumber Yard site.  Second, the architecture must be unique (for example, like the historic Ranch Room is unique).  Third, the architecture of the Pavilion must recognize and honor Hennessey’s Petroleum and Wind Energy industries.  

The proposed Pavilion is a highly complicated architectural proposal.  If the Town Council does not have definite architectural renderings in place soon, I will ask an architect to develop a schematic and plans meeting the above requirements and make building the Pavilion according to those plans a condition before receiving the endowed funds and 11 lots.  

If the Town Council does not maintain and preserve the Library and History Center, the old High School building, and old gym, the $500,000 Zorita Zevely Pavilion Funds are to be transferred into the Zorita Zevely Simunek and Anita Hill Zevely endowed scholarship at the Oklahoma State University Foundation.

Christian Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts

Fifty thousand dollars of endowed matching funds are for the support and activities of the Christian Boy Scouts and Christian Girl Scouts.  If a situation develops where there is not a functioning boy and/or girl scout program, the income from the endowed matched funds are to go to the Friends of the Library to support youth and adult programs at the Hennessey Library and History Center. 

The endowed matching funds are to be held by the Communities Foundation of Oklahoma and are to be referred to as the Zorita Zevely Scout Fund.

The endowed $50,000 funds must be matched.  The Boy and Girl Scout programs may receive all income from the endowed funds for the first ten years.  Beginning in the 11th year, any income earned from the matching funds will go to the Boys and Girls Scouts in proportion of the cash funds and/or irrevocable pledges against the Zorita Zevely Scout funds.  The remaining income will go into the Zorita Zevely Simunek and Anita Hill Zevely endowed scholarship at the Oklahoma State University Foundation.

John C. Karcher Museum of Energy and Transportation and Hennessey Visitors Center

One hundred fifty thousand dollars is given to the town of Hennessey for the John C. Karcher Museum of Energy and Transportation and Hennessey Visitors Center in the old Sinclair Gas Station.  No matching funds are required. 

The matching funds are to be used for the improvement, maintenance, an operation of the John C. Karcher Museum and Hennessey Visitor Center including advertising, staff salaries, events coordinator, and provide matching funds to obtain grants.  These matching funds are to be held by the Communities Foundation of Oklahoma and are to be referred to as the Zorita Zevely Karcher Museum Funds.

John C. Karcher is a 1912 graduate of Hennessey High School and a nationally known figure in the petroleum industry.  Karcher invented the Reflective Seismograph by which most of the world’s oil was discovered.  Karcher’s company eventually became Texas Instruments.  Karcher is included in the Oklahoma and Texas historical chronicles.  A display of John C. Karcher’s contributions is located at the T. Boone Pickens School of Geology at Oklahoma State University.  My hope is that the John C. Karcher Museum and John C. Karcher Park might provide the interest and desire of Oklahoma and national petroleum companies to donate to the building of the Pavilion.

Horse Stable Alley and Entrepreneur Center

Oklahoma City has Automobile Alley.  Hennessey will do OKC one better with its Horse Stable Alley!

In addition to the matching funds, I am giving the old barber shop building to Hennessey located at 109 South Main (first building south of Annie’s Flower Shop).  I have a ratified contract to purchase the Louise’s Beauty Shop Building next door (111 South Main) when she retires and will give that building to Hennessey also.  These two buildings are two separate legal buildings, each with their own address.  But they have a common roof.  They may have a common main sewer line.

Both buildings have a second floor also with tall ceilings.  There is a lot of retail space available.

Many communities have an “Entrepreneur Center.”  Small business owners are allowed to rent space with little or no rent.  The condition of the gift of these two buildings is that they be renovated into a purpose that will benefit Main Street such as an Entrepreneur Center.  The stucco must be removed and the building restored to its original appearance.  The old windows must be retained.  Storm windows over the old windows is permitted and encouraged.

The area behind the Prairie Quilt (old LaPorte Drugstore) building and Barber Shop Building could be landscaped into a “pocket” park.  The east side of the pocket park is framed by the former horse stable on the east side and used by Prairie Quilt.  Something special could be done with that old small cinder block building behind the Beauty shop, perhaps a coffee shop/ (kolache?) bakery or fruit shakes shop.  The alley should be bricked to enhance a park like serene setting.

The first floor of the Beauty Shop was once a bakery.  The bakery fireplace is still there.  The bakery stove was undoubtedly a pot belly stove with a large rectangular top.  The second floor of the Beauty Shop was the old telephone office. 

Champlin Gas Station Bed and Breakfast

I am giving the Champlin Apartments (224 South Main) and the adjacent old Hennessey Hospital Building (222 South Main) to Hennessey which Hennessey may sell or keep as a Bed and Breakfast.  There are nine bedrooms in the Champlin and Hospital buildings.  No one has a clue what a bedroom would rent for or what the occupancy rate would be if the two buildings were operated as a Bed and Breakfast.

What is the upper limit of income potential of the Bed and Breakfast?  Motels in the area typically rent $80 per night.  Nine bedrooms at $80 each night equals $720 for one night and $21,600 for the month.  But who knows?  It’s a mystery!  No one knows if a Bread and Breakfast will succeed on Main Street.

The average occupancy rate for all USA motels is 65%.

I chose to rent the Champlin Apartments long term as I did not have the energy to operate a Bed and Breakfast at this time.  The Hospital building is about 60% complete.  I chose not to complete the Hospital Building until I rented the Champlin Apartments and I was also tired and wanted some time off.  I am almost 74 and certainly not the horse I used to be.

Hennessey has tourist attractions in Prairie Quilt, historic Ranch Room, the Library and History Center, people attending basketball tournaments and non-sports events at the Dome, and the potential of the Pavilion.  People may want to stay at a place that is different from all others.

The completed Champlin Apartments are tax assessed at $459,840 and have no debt.

When the Hospital Building is completed, I will operate it as a Bed and Breakfast to test the market if the Champlin and Hospital Buildings could be a successful Bed and Breakfast.  I will share that information with the Town Council so when the times comes, the Town Council will know whether to sell or keep the buildings.  

A 20% occupancy rate makes the annual income from a Bed and Breakfast equal to a year’s residential lease.  A 40% occupancy rate (4 bedrooms out of 9) will double the income from these two buildings in comparison to residential leasing.  That would double the value of the Champlin Building from $459,840 to $919,680.

If successful, I have the suspicion the buildings would not bring their full market value as reflected by bed and breakfast rent, as the price might become too high.  Finding a buyer willing to operate a Bed and Breakfast and with the ability to afford to make the purchase might be difficult.

There are conditions with the gift of the Champlin apartment building and the old Hennessey Hospital.

Any proceeds from these two buildings, whether current income or from the sale of the buildings, must first go for the renovation of the old Barber Shop and Beauty Shop buildings into an Entrepreneur Center, remodeling and updating the stone building behind, landscaping, and building a mini park behind, and bricking the alley adjacent to the Barber Shop, Beauty Shop, and Prairie Quilt buildings (old horse stable).

When Horse Stable project is completed, the proceeds with from the Champlin and Hospital buildings, whether current income or from the sale of the two buildings, will go to maintain 109 and 111 South Main Street and the Horse Stable Alley improvements.  The funds also may also be used to purchase Main Street buildings or property in and around the Pavilion site, renovate them, and offer them for no rent or very low rents so as to attract shops and businesses to Hennessey.  If the town has the opportunity in the future to purchase the properties immediately north of the Pavilion site, income and/or sale proceeds from the Champlin and Hospital buildings may be used to acquire those properties and make any remodeling improvements and/or new construction as the town desires including parking.

 The town may also use the income and/or sale proceeds to build and finish the Pavilion, build, improve, renovate and/or remodel and maintain the old Sinclair Gas Station, the Public Library and History Center, the old School Gym, build a new museum on the old school grounds, Boy Scout Park and Cabin, Pat Hennessey Park, Bull Foot Park, Water Park, Events Coordinator, Hennessey Foundation advertising, all other advertising,  and any other project that improves and enhances Main Street and Hennessey.

Thirty years after my passing, the town may use the income and/or sale proceeds from the Champlin and Hospital buildings for any purpose not listed above.

No matching funds are required for the gift of the Champlin and Hospital buildings.

If the town Council does not maintain and preserve the Library and History Center building, and old school Gym building, the Champlin and Hospital buildings are to be sold with the proceeds transferred into the Zorita Zevely Simunek and Anita Hill Zevely scholarship endowment at the Oklahoma State University Foundation.

Hennessey Grant Writing Position

It is a misnomer that grant funds are not available and are difficult to receive.  Without pursuing grants, the taxpayers of Hennessey are basically subsidizing other towns who are actively pursuing grants.  Most grants provided by State of Oklahoma agencies (using Hennessey tax dollars) are specified for towns with less than 5,000 population.  

I attended the Grant Writing Workshop sponsored by the Oklahoma Municipal League and was very pleasantly surprised by the help provided by many Oklahoma agencies and foundations.  And, many times, they target small rural towns of less than 5,000 population.

Hennessey needs to combine and coordinate the Hennessey Foundation with an established Hennessey Grant Writing program.  That is the strategy.  Military people refer to this strategy as a force multiplier.

Fifty thousand dollars is given to establish an endowed Hennessey Grant Writer position.  In many towns, grant writing duties are often assigned to an existing town employee and is not their primary duty.  Some towns use an outside Grant Writer, often reimbursed based on the dollar amount of grant funds achieved.

Income from the endowed grant writing funds may be used for wages, bonuses, and for conference fees, travel costs, lodging, and meals incurred to attend the Grant Writing workshops sponsored by the Oklahoma Municipal League or any other like workshop, provided it is approved by the Communities Foundation of Oklahoma.  The Grant Writer will provide a monthly report for the Town Council’s monthly meeting for their review.

The $50,000 endowed Grant Writer funds will be held by the Communities Foundation of Oklahoma and will be referred to as the Zorita Zevely Grant Writer funds.  No matching funds are required.

Town Council Training

No special training is required to be a part of and contribute to the community booster efforts of the Friends of the Library, Lions Club, Masons, United Committee, Jimmy Berkenbile’s Community Action Team, and Hennessey School Foundation.

That’s not true for the Hennessey Police or Voluntary Fire Department.  Substantial training is required to first qualify to be a policeman and fire fighter.  Additional annual training is also required.

A requirement of all the endowed gifts listed in this memo is each Town Council member must attend the Rural Economic Action Plan (REAP) class sponsored by the Northern Oklahoma Development Authority (a one hour class offered in the afternoon and evening), the Grant Writing Workshop sponsored by the Oklahoma Municipal League (two days), and the annual Preservation meeting sponsored by the Oklahoma Historical Society (two days) in the first two years of their four year term.

If not completed in the first 24 months of a Town Council member’s term,  all annual income from the Zorita Zevely Scout Fund and the Zorita Zevely Pavilion Fund will go into the Zorita Zevely SImunek and Anita Hill Zevely Scholarship to be added to those endowed funds held by the Oklahoma State University until the Town Board member completes the training.  Once the training is completed, the training does not have to be repeated if the Town Council member is re-elected.

Town Council members may substitute other but similar training if the above training is no longer offered.  All substituted training must be approved by the Community Foundation of Oklahoma.

The total time required by the above training is four days and one hour in the four-year term (1,460 days) of a Town Council member.  The above training time is much less than required of a Hennessey Policeman or Hennessey Voluntary Fire Fighter and much less than the hours and days of unpaid Hennessey volunteers in civic associations like Friends of Library, Community Action Committee, United Committee, Lions, and Masons.

The two-year time limit may be extended due to unforeseen events such as sickness, provided the extension is approved by the Communities Foundation of Oklahoma.

A second requirement for all gifts listed in this memo is each future Town Council Meeting will have the following topic on its monthly agenda:  Preservation, Main Street and community enhancement, and Grants.

A third requirement for all gifts listed in this memo is to be posted and linked on the Library Web Site, the Town web site, and the appropriate Hennessey School Foundation school web site.

Summary

When a donor makes a gift to match the Zorita Zevely funds, the donor will be making a triple gift.  First and most important, the gift insures the continued preservation, maintenance and operation of the Hennessey Library, History Center, an old School Gym, and old High School building for generations to come.  

Second, the endowed funds for the Library, History Center, and the old school gym will free up funds for other town purposes, for example, street maintenance.  

Third, the Communities Foundation of Oklahoma will contribute an additional 5% of any cash gift or when an irrevocable pledge converts to a cash donation.

Fourth, the donor will receive a nice tax write off.  In a way, this federal and state tax write off can be considered a “matching grant.”

Establishing an endowment to support the Library, History Center, and old Gym is Hennessey’s number one priority over all other projects.  No new project should be undertaken until existing projects and amenities are fully funded through endowment funds and properly maintained.

Historically, Hennessey’s sales tax collection has equaled about 2/3 of Kingfisher on a per citizen basis.  Or, to say the same thing in a different way, Kingfisher historically collected about 50% more in sales taxes per person as compared to Hennessey.  To make matters worse, sales tax collection for Hennessey has dropped 35% to 40% in recent months due to the downturn in the oil patch.  Kingfisher sales tax collection has held steady due to their broader tax base.

If Hennessey is to maintain its existing amenities and provide new amenities, it must be through the Hennessey Foundation and by pursuing grants.  There is no other alternative.

I have been waiting for the appropriate time to make this announcement.  Just recently, Hennessey schools have received the large financial bequest from Raymond Kokojan, a gift was made to Hennessey for a Chapel at the Cemetery, and the Hennessey Foundation has been established by the United Committee.  I witnessed the strong interest and citizen support at the community wide Hennessey Foundation meeting sponsored by the United Committee.  For all these reasons, I feel this is now a most appropriate time to announce these matching funds. (END)

Share
%d bloggers like this: