Economic development is the engine of opportunity, and GKFF takes an active role in providing and supporting efforts to enhance the growth of Tulsa for the benefit of its citizens.
A transformation along Tulsa’s riverfront is underway as nearly 100 acres are being turned into a world‐class centralized park for Tulsa, Oklahoma—Gathering Place. GKFF leads the effort and collaborates with renowned NYC‐based landscape architect Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates to design the unique park. Construction began in September 2014, and the 66.5‐acre Phase I is expected to be completed in late spring/summer 2018. The result of a $450 million public‐private partnership, the park has been named the largest gift to a public park in U.S. history. Working with numerous corporate and community philanthropists, GKFF gifted ownership of the $450 million park to the Tulsa River Parks Authority. The park will serve as a cornerstone for a vibrant community while improving social, economic and environmental sustainability in Tulsa. Gathering Place will also provide experiences for all ages. The park includes several amenities like a five‐acre Adventure Playground, Mist Mountain, sport courts, bike and skate parks, nature trails, a boathouse and large lawns for concerts. Providing park-goers space to play, relax and gather for community events, Gathering Place is estimated to attract more than one million visitors annually.
A strong entrepreneurial community is a major indicator of civic health. GKFF supports a variety of programs that raise the profile of Tulsa’s entrepreneurial culture and provide opportunities for individuals and startups to pursue transformative projects. The Foundation is a founding supporter of The Mine, a social innovation fellowship to teach young professionals to apply business principles to community problems. GKFF also worked with a variety of local partners to create 36 Degrees North, Tulsa’s first entrepreneur hub that offers flexible workspace, community resources and startup programs for entrepreneurs at all stages of their journey. Many young people rank a bustling local startup community high on their checklist of features present in great cities. GKFF is proud to continue support of entrepreneurship initiatives that attract great talent to Tulsa and grow local businesses.
Talent Recruitment & Retention
As the Foundation expands community initiatives in other focus areas, it is increasingly committed to identifying and developing the next generation of leaders, magnifying their opportunities, and assisting them in acquiring skills they need to transform Tulsa. GKFF layers programs for corps members on top of operational support from Teach for America and City Year. Graduate school loan reimbursement programs in educational leadership at OU‐Tulsa produce talented principals for area schools. GKFF also supports programs like Thrive Tulsa and The Mine to develop future leaders of the Tulsa community.