Lloyd Noble was born Nov. 30, 1896, in the young train depot town of Ardmore in what was then Indian Territory. His parents, Samuel Roberts and Hattie Noble, were pioneer merchants from New York, and Samuel and his brother, Edward, ran a hardware store in Ardmore. As a young boy, Lloyd delivered goods to the shop's customers – mainly farmers and ranchers from the area.
In the 1920s and '30s, Noble helped revolutionize the oil and gas drilling industry. He capitalized on highly organized crews and the latest technology to drill deeper and faster than his contemporaries. Speed and skill resulted in rapid growth, and, within 15 years, Noble's swath of drilling rigs spread across North America.
His thriving businesses defied the Great Depression, and he achieved financial success. But as the Dust Bowl wreaked havoc on the land of his home community and the lives of the farmers and ranchers he'd grown to respect, Noble knew he wanted to use his resources to help these people protect the soil and prevent future disaster.
In 1943, Noble said, "The obligation that rests squarely on the shoulders of each generation is not what they inherit, what they have handed to them or what they have in their hands, or what they acquire from the standpoint of wealth or position, but what they do with the wealth or power they have in their hands."
In 1945, Noble took funds from his oil businesses and created The Samuel Roberts Noble Foundation as a resource for farmers and ranchers to help rebuild the soil, promote land stewardship, and provide philanthropic gifts. Noble died in 1950 at the age of 53, and his descendants have continued to steward the resources he left to benefit mankind.
The Noble Foundation Board of Trustees, largely composed of Noble's descendants, unanimously elected to separate the organization's activities, effective May 1, 2017.
The organization's research, education and consultation activities stayed with existing entity and became the Noble Research Institute, LLC, a 501(c)(3) public charity. The philanthropic activities, including the grant-making and scholarship programs of the original organization, were shifted to a new, private foundation: The Samuel Roberts Noble Foundation.
As the continuation of Noble's philanthropic legacy, we carry the name he bestowed upon the organization he founded in recognition of the most charitable man he knew – his father, Samuel Roberts Noble.
We continue Noble's vision to address agricultural challenges by funding agricultural research conducted by his original organization: the Noble Research Institute.
We also continue Noble's other philanthropic interests. Noble was influential in many areas of civic life from the YMCA to the Oklahoma Heart Association. He also served as a member of the University of Oklahoma Board of Regents for 14 years, including two terms as president.
We continue this legacy by making charitable grants to nonprofits that cultivate good health, support education and build stronger communities, primarily in Oklahoma.
We offer two scholarship programs:
We also bring nationally renowned speakers to Ardmore multiple times per year through the Profiles and Perspectives Community Enrichment Series.
Mission: To continue the philanthropic legacy of Lloyd Noble by funding agricultural research and making charitable grants that cultivate good health, support education and build stronger communities.
Vision: To see our grant recipients successfully address agricultural challenges, expand educational opportunities, advance medical research, improve health services and strengthen our communities.
The Samuel Roberts Noble Foundation annually files a 990-PF informational return with the Internal Revenue Service. The Foundation's current 990-PF may be downloaded here.