From the publisher: A grand time in Tulsa
I’ve only lived in Tulsa for 32 years, but today seems destined to be noted as a golden era in our city’s history.
2018 in review. Clockwise from top left: Gathering Place opened in September; revitalization of downtown Tulsa continues, including the renovation of historic Tulsa Club Hotel; Mayor G.T. Bynum continues to inspire; Tulsa named the Best City for Philanthropy, in no small part due to GKFF and Gathering Place; Tulsa Drillers team wins Texas League; Amazon announces a fulfillment center in Tulsa; Tulsa Roughnecks have another great season at ONEOK Field; Tulsan Kevin Stitt is elected governor; Tulsa Area United Way reached $25 million goal; BOK Center named Arena of the Year; Duet, a unique jazz club, opens in downtown Tulsa.
I’ve only lived in Tulsa for 32 years, but today seems destined to be noted as a golden era in our city’s history. There are signs of progress almost everywhere you look …
• The opening of Gathering Place. It is the greatest park gift in American history. Thank you, George Kaiser Family Foundation and donors.
• The continuing renaissance in downtown, with new businesses and hotels sprouting, including the soon-to-open Tulsa Club Hotel. The renovation is beautifully converting a badly blighted historic building into a vibrant place once again.
• The ongoing leadership of our native son mayor whose forward-thinking work is making Tulsa safer, more livable, more inclusive and just better for all.
• The election of a Tulsan as governor. Hopefully he will sprinkle sugar on his hometown at every opportunity.
• The exciting success in professional sports. The Tulsa Drillers won the Texas League Championship in 2018, and the Tulsa Roughnecks successfully played another season of professional soccer at ONEOK Field.
• The opening of Duet Jazz Club by the George Kaiser Family Foundation. I think every great city should have a place to enjoy our most American music genre.
• The continuing success of the BOK Center. Our SMG-managed, multi-purpose arena is one of the nation’s best, earning another Arena of the Year title during its 10th anniversary year in 2018.
• The welcoming news of Amazon’s plans to build a fulfillment center. The facility, which will employ 1,500 people, will be the largest new employer to come to Tulsa in our city’s history.
• The continuing generosity to make a positive difference in the lives of fellow Tulsans in need. Tulsa was named “Best City for Philanthropy” in 2018 by the readers of the Chronicle of Philanthropy. Our United Way campaign last year topped $25 million, just $5 million shy of the giving total to the United Way of New York City. Tulsa consistently ranks in the top 10 most generous cities.
One cannot discuss the power of philanthropy in Tulsa without focusing on the change-making impact of the Zarrow families and their foundations. Brothers Henry and Jack Zarrow converted their success in building Sooner Pipe and Supply Co. into international business acclaim. Even before selling the business in the late 1990s, the caring and compassionate brothers established the Anne and Henry Zarrow Foundation, the Maxine and Jack Zarrow Family Foundation, and the Zarrow Families Foundation, in a generous effort to lift-up people in need.
The enduring purpose of the foundations is to engage in charitable giving that broadly reflects the Zarrow devotion to the Jewish ideal of “tzedakah”: righteous giving to those in need. Over the past 40 years, the foundations have done immeasurable good for others, principally in Tulsa.
As you will read in Connie Cronley’s excellent cover story, TulsaPeople has named Judy Zarrow Kishner as our Tulsan of the Year. The recognition honors Kishner’s caring spirit and can-do leadership in carrying on her family’s desire to use the power of philanthropy to create positive change for people in need of a lift.
Kishner, who prefers to be a stay-in-the-background type of leader, embraces the power of giving and grant-making as problem-solving tools to tackle Tulsa’s greatest human issues and needs … to create positive change for individuals, families and our community.
On a personal note, I extend my best wishes to Judy and Bill Castleberry for a long and happy retirement. The couple opened their Castleberry’s Ethan Allen store in November 1986, the same month we published the first issue of TulsaPeople. The store advertised in every issue of the magazine for 32 years until its closing at year-end.
Every business owner needs a trusted, outside mentor-friend, and Bill has been that person to me. I have always valued and appreciated his interest, counsel and positive outlook.
Thank you, Judy and Bill, for your enduring friendship.