TTCU Pledges $1 Million to Area Schools
TTCU Pledges $1 Million to Area Schools
RAISING AWARENESS: The private sector in greater Tulsa is working with educators to overcome the financial shortfalls in public education. Present at the TTCU announcement for “Support Our Schools” are, from left, Owasso Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Clark Ogilvie; Managing Director, Aircraft Overhaul and Maintenance at American Airlines, Mark Easton; TTCU President and CEO Tim Lyons; Tulsa Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Deborah Gist; and Broken Arrow Public Schools Superintendent Jarod Mendenhall.
GTR Newspapers photos
The Credit Union announced on June 2 a $1 million pledge match to benefit school districts in its service areas in northeast Oklahoma. At the same time, announced the launch of SOS–Support Our Schools, a major matching pledge fundraising effort to raise significant funds for Tulsa area school districts.
The campaign goal is $4 million. To date, campaign supporters collectively have pledged to match community donations up to $1.5 million. As part of the $1.5 already committed, three major Tulsa-based foundations – George Kaiser Family Foundation, Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Foundation and Anne and Henry Zarrow Foundation. – collectively have pledged to support the campaign with up to $500,000. Other donors committing to the project include Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Oklahoma and American Airlines.
The announcements came at a joint news conference where President and Tim Lyons was joined by Tulsa Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Deborah Gist, Broken Arrow Public Schools Superintendent Jarod Mendenhall, and Managing Director, Aircraft Overhaul and Maintenance at American Airlines, Mark Easton.
The pledges and campaign are in response to the state funding shortfall gripping schools across Oklahoma.
“TTCU has been serving schools for more than 80 years,” says Lyons. “We are stepping up to say ‘we will help,’ and we hope that our challenge pledge serves as a catalyst for the business community and individuals to join us in this effort to support area schools.”
Statewide, Oklahoma school districts are facing a $60 million shortfall. The shortfall for Tulsa area schools alone accounts for more than $6 million. The same shortfall, plus additional cuts, will impact school districts again next year.
“We can’t solve the problem,” Lyons says. “That’s the legislature’s responsibility. But we believe our local philanthropic, business and individual resources can provide a vital bridge until a more permanent solution is implemented at the state level.”
Echoing Lyons’ remarks Gist, says, “We are so grateful for TTCU’s continued commitment to helping to create bright futures for Tulsa children. In these challenging financial times, it is critical that we come together to work in the best interests of our students. TTCU’s SOS–Support Our Schools Campaign is an opportunity for Tulsans to invest in great teaching and learning; donating much needed funds to offset cuts in state aid. The future of our state will be shaped by what we do today to provide a world-class education for our students, and I am thankful that Tulsa’s community leaders are such strong advocates for our students, teachers and families.”
Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Oklahoma has pledged $25,000 to SOS–Support Our Schools. “We are committed to investing in programs that enrich the health, well-being and quality of life for Oklahoma children and families, including programs that focus on strengthening our education system,” says Ted Haynes, president of Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Oklahoma. “We are proud to support Tulsa Public Schools and The Credit Union through the – Support Our Schools initiative. Together, we can help make Tulsa a better place to live, work and raise a family, and it starts with a strong educational foundation.”
Donations are being collected through Tulsa Community Foundation’s online giving site. Those who donate to the SOS– Support Our Schools fund can specify the schools they wish to receive their donations or can contribute to a general fund that will be apportioned to the 15 largest school districts in the Tulsa area based on enrollment. All donations to the campaign are tax deductible.
For online giving:
Visit www.TulsaCF.org or at www.ttcu.com which has additional information and a link to the Tulsa Community Foundation website.
To make a donation in person:
Visit any location. Branch location information is available at www.ttcu.com.
Checks should be made payable to: Tulsa Community Foundation, with memo to “SOS Fund” and a designation of the school district to receive the funds.