Oklahoma-Based Noble Ag Foundation Enacts Major Restructuring

    The Samuel Roberts Noble Foundation announced Wednesday that it has separated its research and education operations from its philanthropic activities to advance its mission and better serve agriculture.

    The organization’s research, education and consultation activities will continue forward under a new name, the Noble Research Institute, LLC. The philanthropic activities, including grant-making and scholarship programs, of the original organization are being placed in a new, private foundation, which will carry the name traditionally associated with the organization’s community giving, The Samuel Roberts Noble Foundation.

    Members of the Oklahoma nonprofit’s leadership team held two special announcements (one in Ardmore and one in Oklahoma City) and explained that this decision was made so the organization could better serve the agriculture sector; expand collaborations; and better pursue opportunities to bring innovation, technologies and discoveries to agricultural producers and consumers.

    “As a single entity, the organization served many audiences with diverse interests,” said Bill Buckner, president and chief executive officer. “By separating our activities into two organizations, each new organization can now build its respective name around its specific operations and build new relationships that were otherwise unavailable.”

    Concurrent with this transition, the Noble Research Institute has sought to be recognized by the Internal Revenue Service as a nonprofit, 501(c)(3) agricultural research organization. The option to pursue this designation was enabled in 2015 when Congress modified the Internal Revenue Code to create agricultural research organizations, a new form of 501(c)(3), public charity focused on the conduct of agricultural research.

    “Through the Noble Research Institute, we are continuing the vision of our founder, Lloyd Noble,” Buckner said. “He challenged us to explore new frontiers in innovation to help solve agriculture’s most pressing challenges, and this change will open up new possibilities.”

    The Institute will seek to add to its existing collaborations with government research organizations, universities and industry, to solve problems and deliver solutions. Additionally, the Noble Research Institute will seek funding and support to complement its own investments in agricultural research and education.

    While the organizational transition will help create new opportunities, the Noble Research Institute will continue to embrace the key activities that have been the cornerstones of the organization’s work for more than seven decades. The Institute will continue to conduct agriculturally focused research, provide education from youth to adult, offer no-cost consultation to regional agricultural producers, and manage demonstration and research farms.

    “While there is considerable excitement about the changing structure, the focus areas of our organization and our culture will not change,” Buckner said. “We remain committed to our culture of hard work, innovation and philanthropy. Additionally, but through a separate organization, the new Noble Foundation is committed to fulfilling the philanthropic legacy of Lloyd Noble by awarding scholarships and making charitable grants that advance agriculture, cultivate good health, support education and build stronger communities.”

    Moving forward, the new Noble Foundation will continue to conduct grant-making and scholarship activities. Grant requests will be submitted, processed and reviewed by the Noble Foundation’s board of directors as they always have.

    “This is an exciting time for Noble,” Buckner said. “This evolution places us in an even better position to meet local, national and even global agricultural challenges. We are grateful that our founder had the vision to create this organization and that its board has shared and stewarded such vision. Today, more than ever, we are well-positioned to expand our network of global collaborations and deliver transformational knowledge and outcomes to benefit a hungry world.”

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