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Tulsa’s top 10 fund-raisers of 2009

We spotlight the year’s top-earning fund-raising events.

By tradition and perhaps by nature, Tulsans are unusually generous. We are among the top in donating discretionary income and in volunteering our time to local causes. Our Tulsa Community Foundation is the largest in the nation.

But any event chair will tell you that a fund-raiser requires a tremendous amount of time and effort.

So we wondered, along with the goodwill it generates, what do fund-raisers reap in the hard-to-come-by cash nonprofits need? And which organizations appear to do it best?

This fall, TulsaPeople, with assistance from the Tulsa Community Foundation, surveyed area nonprofits, asking them to tell us their most successful 2009 fund-raisers and the amounts those events grossed.    

Then we ranked them — first, by the Top 10 grossing events and, second, by the Top 5 in several popular event types, including dinners, luncheons, golf tournaments, races and a special “other” category. (You will find those on the following pages in the Charitable Events Registry.) We think you will be fascinated by the amounts raised and the nonprofits that qualified in more than one group.

Here’s another fascinating fact: When we added the gross figures from the nearly 100 nonprofits that reported back to us, we found their events raised at least $23.6 million, almost equaling the 2009 Tulsa Area United Way campaign’s final number, $23.9 million.

Now that’s generosity.

1. Painted Pony Ball


$1.2 million+
Children’s Hospital at Saint Francis
Theme: Black tie with a Western twist
Number of years held: 4
Event type: Gala
Benefited: Children’s Hospital at Saint Francis NICU
Date: Nov. 13, 2009
Location: Central Park Hall, Expo Square
Chairpersons: Cathey and Mike Barkley; Suzanne Warren, honorary chair  
Major donors: Henry Zarrow Fund, William K. Warren Foundation, Saint Francis Health System, Newborn Specialists of Tulsa, F&M Bank & Trust Co., Mr. and Mrs. Mike Barkley
Event coordinator or designer: Arin Zinke

2. William Booth Society


Benefit Dinner  


$1.15 million
The Salvation Army Metro Tulsa Command
Number of years held: 16
Event type: Dinner   
Benefited: General fund raising
Date: May 2, 2009
Location: BOK Center
Chairmen: Bill and Bob Thomas
Major donors: Miriam B. & Jess L. Stevens Foundation, Helmerich Foundation, Mervin Bovaird Foundation, Carl and Virginia Short, Paul and Helen Sisk Foundation
In-kind donors: QuikPrint
Event coordinator or designer: Talmadge Powell

3. Promise Ball


Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation
Theme: A Night of Hope … A Time to Believe
Number of years held: 9
Event type: Gala
Benefited: Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation’s Artificial Pancreas Project
Date: May 9, 2009
Location: Renaissance Tulsa Hotel and Convention Center
Chairpersons: Gov. Brad and First Lady Kim Henry, Promise Ball honorees; Arlo and Barbara DeKraai, Promise Ball co-chairs; Stuart & Linda Price, corporate sponsorship chairs
Major donors: Two anonymous donors, Jim Adelson, Tony Beeson, Arlo and Barbara DeKraai, Bill and Bard Drotar, Donald and Nedra Hansen, Carl and Val Hansen, Clayton and Gina Hughes, Tom Pearson, Stuart and Linda Price, Gary and Anita Rathburn, Richard and Pam Shimer, Terry Stewart, Les Veltman
Event coordinator or designer: Nikki DeFalco and Jessica Maldonado

4. Race for the Cure


Tulsa Affiliate of
Susan G. Komen for the Cure
Theme: Imagine Life Without Breast Cancer
Number of years held: 13
Event type: Race/walk
Benefited: Tulsa Project Woman Inc., Indian Health Care Resource Center, Morton Comprehensive Health Services Inc., St. John Health System, Breast Cancer Network of Strength  
Date: Sept. 19, 2009
Location: CityPlex Towers/Oral Roberts University, 7777 S. Lewis Ave.
Chairpersons: Krista Zachariae and Mark McFarland
Major donors: Presenting sponsors, Cancer Treatment Centers of America, The News on 6, Academy Sports and Outdoors. Platinum sponsors, TulsaPeople Magazine, 92.9 KBEZ, 98.5 KVOO, McDonald’s

5. Tulsa Heart Ball  


American Heart Association
Theme: Belt Buckle Ball
Number of years held: 38
Event type: Gala
Benefited: AHA research, community programs and education
Date: Feb. 7, 2009
Location: Central Park Hall at Expo Square
Chairpersons: Chip and Sharon McElroy
Major donors: Presenting sponsor, Saint Francis Health System; sponsors, Childhood Obesity Awareness, Bank of America, Williams, McElroy, American Airlines and Oklahoma Heart Institute
Event coordinator or designer: E2 Worldwide

6. Western Days 2009


Saint Simeon’s Foundation
Theme: Western Days — The Driller’s Bash
Number of years held: 13
Event type: Dinner
Benefited: Remodel of the Saint Simeon’s Memory Center
Date: Sept. 15, 2009
Location: Central Park Hall, Expo Square
Chairpersons: Lucy and John Barker; Eileen and Jim Hewgley, honorary chairs
Major donors: The Ralph and Frances McGill Foundation, Phyllis and George Dotson, Pat and Malcolm Deisenroth, Joan Flint, Phyllis and Steve Anderson, Broadhurst Foundation, The Hewgley Family, Hille Foundation, Peggy and Charles Stephenson, Tommy Williams, Marshall Brewing Co., Mary Stewart, Toni’s Flowers

7. Bike MS


National Multiple Sclerosis Society
Theme: The Mother Road Ride presented by Sam’s Club
Number of years held: 24
Event type: Race/walk/other
Benefited: General overall operating,
programs, direct services and MS research
Date: Sept. 26-27, 2009
Location: Downtown Tulsa to the state Capitol
Chairmen: Ray Mack and Peyton Neilsen
Major donors: Presenting sponsor, Sam’s Club  
Event coordinator or designer: Blaine King, development manager and bike ride director 

8. Carnivale


Mental Health Association in Tulsa
Theme: Carnivale: The Best Party in Town
Number of years held: 20
Event type: Gala
Benefited: Housing programs and services for individuals with mental illness.  
Date: March 28, 2009
Location: Donald W. Reynolds Center
Chairwoman: Rita Singer
Major donors: Mega Roller, George Kaiser Family Foundation; High Rollers, Saint Francis Health System, Ann and John Wieczorek, The Zarrow Families Foundation.
Event coordinator or designer: Phil Long Inc.

9. Concours for the Cure


American Diabetes Association
Theme: A concours is a showing of vintage, antique and exotic vehicles in which the entries are judged on originality, appearance, rarity and overall appeal
Number of years held: 4
Event type: Gala
Benefited: ADA mission to prevent and cure diabetes and those affected
Date: Sept. 20, 2009    
Location: Southern Hills Country Club
Chairmen: Bill and Becky Warnock     
Major donors: MidFirst Bank, Alliance Resource Partners LP, Harold and Sue Ann Hamm

10. Walk to Cure Diabetes


Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation
Theme: Superheroes Unite for a Cure!
Number of years held: 13
Event type: Walk
Benefited: Type 1 diabetes research
Date: Oct. 3, 2009
Location: University of Oklahoma-Tulsa Schusterman Center
Chairpersons: Lee Rector, corporate walk chair; Micki Curtis, family team chair
Major donors: Samson, DirecTV, TTCU, Williams, Willbros, McJunkin Red Man Corp., The Hille Foundation, The Chickasaw Nation, Indian Health Care Resource Center, BlueCross BlueShield of Oklahoma, Business Planning Group, GoFresh, McAlister’s Deli, Nordam, Universal Ensco, Inc., Schlotzsky’s Deli, Tulsa Association of Health Underwriters, The Cardinal Family
Event coordinator or designer: Nikki DeFalco and Jessica Maldonado
* 2008 figure; 2009 numbers due in January with goal of $420,000.



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