Schusterman Family Foundation Gives Gift Of Light

Monday, December 29th 2008, 9:26 pm
By: News On 6

By Jennifer Loren, The News On 6

TULSA, OK -- A gift will help keep the lights on at Tulsa area non-profits.  Surprise gifts of $25,000 dollars each went to 15 agencies last week.  Tulsa's Schusterman Family Foundation wrote the checks to help meet the basic needs of the agencies.  And, thanks to their generosity, many of the organizations say they will be able to keep their lights on next year.

Behind the scenes of non-profits, there are a lot of hidden costs like the laundry room at Tulsa's Day Center for the Homeless.

"But you know for folks who have jobs and have uniforms that they need to get cleaned.  We'll do their laundry for them and help them be able to go to work and look presentable," said Sandra Lewis with Tulsa's Day Center for the Homeless.

There's also the kitchen where they cook several meals a day.  The center is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

"The utility part of it is that we have our lights on.  We have our utilities running.  There's never a time when we can set the thermostat a little differently because the building's empty that just doesn't happen. There are always people here," said Sandra Lewis with Tulsa's Day Center for the Homeless.

For non-profits like the Day Center, money is always a concern.  They depend on the generosity of the community for funding.

"I worry every day about funding for this organization and, who knows, I mean I don't know what the economy is going to be," said Sandra Lewis with Tulsa's Day Center for the Homeless.

But now Lewis knows about a third of their utility bills will be paid next year, thanks to a $25,000 donation from the Schusterman Foundation.          

Alana Hughes got to make some of the phone calls, surprising each of the 15 agencies they donated to.

"They went from loud shrieks of joy to tears and just thank yous across the board," said Alana Hughes.

For agencies like the Day Center, $25,000 for utilities is really a priceless gift.

"And, one of the things that we told the directors is that we wanted them to keep the lights on and keep their offices warm and welcoming. And, that's the part of basic need for the caregiver that sometimes gets over-looked. It was an opportunity for us to do something for those who are on the front lines," said Alana Hughes.

The Schusterman Family Foundation's mission is to eliminate child abuse, support education and make sure Tulsans receive their basic needs.