Carl B. King was born in Neiltown, Pennsylvania in 1890. He and his wife, Florence, moved to Oklahoma in 1909 to seek their fortune in the oil fields. Honest, forthright, and hardworking, the young Mr. King worked oil deals for leases until he had acquired sufficient resources to purchase his own drilling rig equipment.
The Carl B. King Drilling Company established offices in Tulsa, where the King family lived for 25 years, and in Dallas, where they moved in 1935. The Kings remained in Dallas until Mr. King’s death in 1967 and Mrs. King’s death in 1983.
Mr. and Mrs. King started the King Foundation in 1966, a year before Mr. King’s death. Mrs. King served as the president from 1967 until her death in 1983. The giving policies for the Foundation have been shaped by the wisdom and compassion of the Kings, who were unabashedly generous during their lives. They preferred to give without fanfare, and sought to strike a balance between causes that built opportunity in the future and those that “put shoes on people’s feet.”
In addition to his early work in Oklahoma, Mr. King became active in the Permian Basin beginning around 1940. His sagacity in the energy industry continues to benefit the Foundation today, through the many mineral properties bequeathed to the Foundation. The Foundation gives in West Texas in the belief that the region that created the wealth should continue to benefit from it.
While they were living in Tulsa, the Kings acquired a farm about 80 miles to the east, in Siloam Springs, Arkansas, which they named Kingford Farms. The farm was a favorite retreat for the entire family, and the Kings quickly grew to love Arkansas and its people. The Foundation’s current giving in Arkansas pays homage to their affection.