GKFF neighborhood investments focus on targeted geographic areas in order to affect and measure meaningful progress.
Inspired by the success of the Harlem Children’s Zone, GKFF’s efforts in the Kendall Whittier neighborhood focus intensely on the birth-to-college-to-career pipeline, collectively called the Growing Together effort. GKFF believes that a safe, quality home environment is a significant factor in breaking the cycle of poverty for children and their families. In 2013, GKFF partnered with McCormack Baron Salazar, a nationally respected developer specializing in revitalizing economically distressed urban areas, to develop the 128‐unit mixed income Kendall Whittier West Park Apartments. In addition, GKFF renovated Kendall Whittier’s public park and collaborated with the University of Tulsa to build 20 graduate student units as well as non‐profit offices within the West Park development. The success of these projects has spurred further development through construction of affordable, for‐sale, single family homes, $12 million of investment and 160 new jobs in the adjacent historic shopping district, and a planned 100‐unit second phase of the mixed‐income West Park apartments. GKFF is hopeful these combined efforts will create a successful revitalization model that can be adapted and applied to other struggling neighborhoods in Tulsa.
Tulsa's Arts District
GKFF has invested nearly $100 million in a number of revitalization projects in Tulsa’s Arts District as part of its mission to enhance the quality of life in Tulsa and spur economic development in the core of the city. In 2009, GKFF sponsored a series of community visioning sessions where residents, business owners, property owners, city planners, artists and others joined together to create a plan to guide the future development of Tulsa’s Arts District neighborhood while maintaining the area’s authenticity as an arts district with historic character. In March 2010, the final plan was released. Since then, the Foundation has built more than 50 apartments for teachers, artists and entrepreneurs in the area. The Mathews Building includes art and museum institutions including the Woody Guthrie Center, 108 Contemporary, Philbrook Downtown and the University of Tulsa Zarrow Center for Art and Education. Guthrie Green, an urban green space and performance stage, brings the entire Tulsa community together for free events such as movie nights, yoga, Sunday concerts, food trucks and fitness. GKFF is a leader in the use of historic and new market tax credit projects to develop restaurants, retail, apartments, and green spaces.
In the neighborhood around Educare 2 in North Tulsa, GKFF is working to create a significant number of quality job opportunities to uplift the community. The site at the southeast corner of 36th Street North and Peoria Avenue is a 115-acre economic development project designed to attract a large‐scale employer bringing 1000+ transferable-skills jobs to the area. Tulsa Community WorkAdvance and Tulsa Technology Center have partnered to provide on‐site skills training. The partnership’s presence will not only benefit the employer but also residents of North Tulsa by providing training targeted at the local population. The successful completion of this project will be a catalyst driving the implementation of the city’s approved Small Area Plan around housing, commercial and retail development along the Peoria corridor.