Two Tulsa Non-Profit Organizations Completely Cut From State Budget

Wednesday, June 9th 2010, 9:06 pm
By: News On 6

By Ashli Sims, The News On 6

TULSA, OK -- Hundreds of Tulsa children could see their summer programs shut down. Two organizations recently found out all of their state money was cut.

The two organizations expected cuts, but they didn't expect to be cut out of the state budget altogether.

A summer arts program has some children on top of the world. But many have no idea the bottom just fell out.

"We were pretty shocked," said Frances Jordan, Greenwood Cultural Center. "Devastated is a better word."

The Greenwood Cultural Center hosts several activities for kids, from summer arts to after-school programs to leadership development. Last year, it received $75,000 from the state. This year, not a penny.

"We expected cuts, not a total elimination of funds," Jordan said.

Greenwood Cultural Center isn't the only organization devastated by budget cuts. A Pocket Full of Hope lost 80% of its funding.

"It's devastating," said Lester Shaw. "I mean we're bleeding right now."

Lester Shaw runs a Pocket Full of Hope, which uses music, theatre and dance to help shape young people into productive adults.

"This is our ten-year anniversary. Happy Birthday! We're cutting you," Shaw said.

Both organizations were singled out in a letter from the legislature to receive no funds from the department of tourism.

A Guthrie theatre had its funding cut in half.  And several other organizations also took a hit, but they're down only eight to eleven percent.

Back at the Greenwood Cultural Center, they're scrambling to plug the hole left by the state, which is about a third of their budget.

"If we don't raise the money the programs won't be here," Jordan said.

Jordan is confident they'll be able to raise the cash so the music won't have to stop for these Tulsa children.

The News On 6 called House Speaker Chris Benge to try to figure out why these two programs were singled out but he did not return the call.