TTCU Aims To Raise $4 Million For Area Schools This Month

Thursday, June 2nd 2016, 4:40 pm
By: Amy Slanchik

TTCU announced Thursday morning a $1 million challenge pledge to education.

The goal of the campaign is to raise $4 million. That money will benefit Tulsa-area schools.

TTCU says it wants to give to school districts in every city it has a branch in, including here in Tulsa, Broken Arrow, Bixby and several others.

The campaign already has commitments from the George Kaiser Family Foundation, the Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Foundation and the the Anne and Henry Zarrow Foundation.

“We asked when schools could start seeing the money,” TTCU President and CEO Tim Lyons said. “TTCU says just as soon as possible, and it's too soon to say if that will be this fall.”

The campaign ends the first of July, so they've got just about a month to reach the goal.

Broken Arrow superintendent Jarod Mendenhall says the money needs to stay in the classroom, adding he would probably use it to bring a teacher’s aide into a class.

But he knows that likely wouldn't be a permanent position.

“This is not a situation to where this is gonna fix the problem because it’s not gonna reoccur,” he said.

TTCU pledged to match community donations up to one million dollars to help schools throughout northeastern Oklahoma.

"TTCU bleeds education. our heart is for educators,” Lyons said. “That's what we've done for 80 years, but we know that we can't do it by ourselves.”

And they're not alone.

Several foundations and companies have committed to the campaign, with a goal of raising $4 million. Those include the George Kaiser Family Foundation, Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Foundation, Anne and Henry Zarrow Foundation, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Oklahoma and American Airlines.

But it's not just companies with big pockets trying to make a difference.

It's people like 9-year-old Rayleigh Henson from Carnegie Elementary.

"So far, I've raised 1,500.02."

At $1 a cup, she's been selling lemonade to raise money for Tulsa Public Schools.

She says learning about this campaign is a relief.

“It's a relief because I know that other people are taking action, and they feel like they need to take action, too, not just me," she said.

Mendenhall says while finding a solution ultimately falls on the state Legislature, Tulsa can look to Henson as an example.

"It doesn't matter if it's a little bit or a lot, doing this is the right thing to do," Mendenhall said.

If you'd like to help, you can donate here. You can also make a donation in person at any TTCU location. Check should be made payable to Tulsa Community Foundation, with memo to "SOS Fund" and a designation of the school district to receive the funds.

The Foundation for Tulsa Schools has a separate plan to raise funds that also is ambitious. It is hoping to help offset statewide education budget cuts by raising $2 million by the end of June.

That initiative is called "Together For Tulsa."

Find out more about TFT and how to donate by clicking here.