We Create Opportunities For A Better Tomorrow
The Simon Estes Educational Foundation, Inc. was founded in 1983. Led by Jayne L. Reed, a small group of Tulsans met with opera star Simon Estes, in town to perform with the Tulsa Opera. Bound by a mutual belief in the importance of education and concern for the many bright Tulsa-area high school seniors financially unable to attend college, the group decided to do what they could to assist these promising students. Mr. Estes and Ms. Reed serve as Co-Founders of the Foundation. Further showing their support, Mr. Estes made numerous gratuitous concert appearances in Tulsa to benefit the Foundation while Ms. Reed served as Chief Executive Officer and currently is the Chairwoman of the Board.
For over forty years, the Foundation has raised funds for scholarships through in-kind gifts, grants, corporate and individual contributions to assist hundreds of graduating Tulsa-area high school students. These Simon Estes Scholars have attended some of this nation’s most prestigious colleges and universities with some participating in international study programs abroad. This list includes Baylor, Cornell, Eastman School of Music, Harvard, Howard, Loyola, The Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Morehouse, Northeastern State University, Notre Dame, Oklahoma State University, Rice, Spelman, St. Louis University, University of Denver, University of Michigan, University of Missouri at Kansas City, The University of Oklahoma, University of Southern California, University of Texas at Austin, The University of Tulsa, Vanderbilt, Washington University at St. Louis, William Jewell, and Yale. Academic pursuits ranged from Accounting, Aerospace, Computer Science, Education, Engineering, International Business, Journalism, to Pharmacy, Physics, Pre-Law, Pre-Medicine, Pre-Veterinary Medicine, Sociology, Speech Pathology, and Water Resource Management. All graduates have taken their places in the professional world and serve as the greatest endorsement of the Foundation’s work.
Proceeds from benefit concerts featuring the talents of such performing greats as Simon Estes, Joy Simpson, Cynthia Clarey, Marietta Simpson, Gordon Hawkins, Daniel Washington, Angela Brown, Denyce Graves, and a special appearance by Noble Laureate Archbishop Desmond Tutu led to national recognition of the Foundation’s scholarship program. Ongoing donations from special projects strengthen the Foundation’s base of support to ensure financial stability.
The Simon Estes Educational Foundation, Inc. is tax-exempt under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. This exemption, granted in May 1984, remains in full force and effect. Contributions to the organization are therefore “tax deductible” to the fullest extent of the law. The Simon Estes Educational Foundation, Inc. is not a private foundation by the definition of section 509(a) of the Internal Revenue Code.
Meet The Founders
JAYNE LORRAINE REED graduated from high school at age15 and went on to pursue a nursing degree and earned her Registered Nurse license in St. Louis, Missouri. After marrying she moved to Tulsa, Oklahoma, and upon becoming a parent, she was often struck by the myriad of difficulties experienced by high school students in their desire to attend college. Over the years, their struggles provoked a yearning in her heart to help ease some of the limitations brought on by those financial constraints.
In 1983, Jayne met Simon Estes and asked for his celebrity status in the formation of an organization to assist local graduating seniors to attain their dreams of higher education. Armed with Simon’s immediate willingness to join her in this effort, they organized a student assembly at McLain High School where students were invited to speak freely about the barriers preventing their prospects for attending college.
This encounter prompted Jayne to convene a meeting of community leaders who shared her belief in the importance of education. Together they formed The Simon Estes Educational Foundation, Inc., which comprised an all-volunteer, cross-strata Board of Directors to guide the operation of the organization.
In addition to her roles as Co-Founder, CEO, Chairwoman, and long-standing Adopt-A-Scholar sponsor of The Simon Estes Educational Foundation, Inc., Ms. Reed has served her community as a board volunteer of the Tulsa Ballet Theatre, Tulsa Opera, Tulsa Urban League, YWCA, Tulsa Performing Arts Center, At Risk Child Abuse Prevention Program, and Operation Aware of Oklahoma. She is an alumna of Leadership Tulsa and former recipient of the Harwelden Award and Community Service Award from the Martin Luther King, Jr. Commemorative Society.
DR. SIMON ESTES is an internationally renowned Opera Singer who has sung in 84 of the major Opera Houses, with 115 Orchestra’s, 104 Operatic Roles, and with over 90 different Conductors all around the world. Simon has sung for over 20 Presidents throughout the world including 6 Presidents in the USA. Notable Religious Figures for whom Estes has sung are: 2 Popes, Billy Graham Crusade in Madison Square Garden, Archbishop Desmond Tutu at St.Georges Cathedral in Cape Town, South Africa, and various Church Denominations around the world. He feels deeply humbled to have sung for Nelson Mandela many times and fortunate to have heard Dr. Martin Luther King speak in person. Dr. Estes is the only person in history to have sung for the 25 th , 50 th , and 75 th Anniversary of the United Nations, in San Francisco and New York respectively.
Simon’s humanitarian efforts have helped to save more than 100,000 children’s lives in Africa and in other countries through his affiliation with the United Nations. His Foundations in Switzerland, Oklahoma, and Iowa have awarded over 600 scholarships to attend colleges and universities in varied disciplines of study, and he supported the Simon Estes Music High School in Capetown, South Africa for many years.
Dr. Estes has a profound faith in his Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, and has the express desire to love, serve and follow Jesus in all ways for the remainder of his life.