PSO Announces $1.25 Million Grant for Gathering Place for Student Learning Opportunities

Courtesy photo
GRANT ANNOUNCEMENT TEAM: Present at the AEP Foundation gift announcement at Gathering Place in November are, from left, Dale Heydlauff, sr. vice president-AEP Corporate Communications; Peggy Simmons, PSO president and COO; George Kaiser, founder of George Kaiser Family Foundation; and Nick Akins, AEP chairman, president and CEO.

Public Service Company of Oklahoma announced a $1.25 million grant from the American Electric Power Foundation that will provide funding to the Gathering Place for world-class learning opportunities to an estimated 75,000 students throughout the region over the next five years.
The commitment from AEP Foundation will provide resources for transportation assistance, curriculum development and professional development for educators for field trip programs at Gathering Place as well as educational events for the community. The transportation assistance for 400 planned field trips will be primarily intended for students in low-income communities and from Title I schools.
“At PSO, we recognize the value of experiential learning in improving literacy and STEM-related skills,” said, Peggy Simmons, chief operating officer and president, Public Service Company of Oklahoma, a unit of American Electric Power. “The Gathering Place is a tremendous asset to our community and we’re excited to collaborate with them to provide engaging and educational field trips and curriculum to area students. Each school year, over 15,000 students will participate in the field trips funded through this grant. It’s an honor for us to invest in our community’s future leaders.”
The field trip curriculum will be developed in alignment with learning objectives from the Oklahoma Academic Standards, creating educational experiences that are unique to Gathering Place and an additive to student development in the classroom. Through the field trip programming, students will have the opportunity to engage in a variety of experiences including grade level specific curriculum, STEAM programming, creative play, world-class performances and reading activities.
“We are proud to work together with PSO as a strong community partner to help further our mission to engage, educate and excite, and to become a true educational resource for the entire community,” said Tony Moore, executive director, Gathering Place. “The grant will allow Gathering Place to remove some of the financial barriers for schools in our area allowing for all teachers and students to benefit from what Gathering Place has to offer through educational programming in a hands-on environment,” 
The grant will enable access for thousands of students to experience these world-class learning opportunities each year. Field trips will be available beginning spring 2020.

About PSO
Public Service Company of Oklahoma (PSO), a unit of American Electric Power (NYSE: AEP), is an electric utility company serving more than 554,000 customers’ accounts across 30,000 square miles in eastern and southwestern Oklahoma. Based in Tulsa, PSO has nearly 3,800 megawatts of primarily gas-fired generating capacity, 22-thousand miles of distribution lines, 37-hundred miles of transmission lines, and is one of the largest distributors of wind energy in the state. News releases and other information about PSO is at Connect with us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram @PSOklahoma.

About AEP Foundation 
 The American Electric Power Foundation is funded by American Electric Power and its utility operating units, including Public Service Company of Oklahoma. The foundation provides a permanent, ongoing resource for charitable initiatives involving higher dollar values and multi-year commitments in the communities served by AEP and initiatives outside of AEP’s 11-state service area.
The foundation focuses on improving lives through education from early childhood education through higher education in the areas of science, technology, engineering, and math and by meeting basic needs for emergency shelter, affordable housing and the elimination of hunger. Other foundation support may be offered to protect the environment, support healthcare and safety, and enrich life through art, music and cultural heritage.
The AEP Foundation is based in Columbus, Ohio.
About Gathering Place
A project of George Kaiser Family Foundation, Gathering Place, with a first phase of 66.5 acres, will ultimately transform nearly 100 acres of Tulsa’s waterfront along the Arkansas River into a dynamic and active space when the project is completed. A public-private partnership, GKFF and numerous corporate and community philanthropists gave ownership of the $465 million park to River Parks Authority who in turn signed a long-term operational and management lease back to an entity of the foundation to ensure the highest quality operation, maintenance and programming for the life of the park. 

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