Tulsa Area United Way celebrates 85 years.
For its 85th birthday, the Tulsa Area United Way wanted to celebrate with some of the typical party fare: cake, friends, a dunk tank, popcorn, gifts. But officials also wanted to add something not so typical, a detail that would help not only commemorate the organization’s anniversary but also celebrate some of the agencies the United Way serves.
So they began to think big. School bus-big.
On June 12, the public is invited to help the United Way celebrate by bringing “birthday presents” for children from infants through high school, which will be donated to agencies serving those populations. United Way organizers hope to fill an entire school bus with the items, which could include school supplies, clothing, diapers, shoes, toys and books. Items will be accepted during the party, 2-4 p.m. at the United Way parking lot, 1430 S. Boulder Ave., as well as the week leading up to the event.
Mark Graham, United Way president and CEO, says he hopes the first-time event will provide an opportunity for people who have not before been involved with the United Way to get acquainted with the organization while also helping their fellow Tulsans.
“I hope it reaches all kinds of people,” he says. “I can see kids getting on board helping kids, grandparents finding a way to help students.
“ … We would love to stuff that bus, literally.”
Graham also looks forward to the opportunity to celebrate the United Way’s 85 years and, in particular, the $545 million that has been raised and reinvested in the community during that time.
“I don’t think Tulsa would be the same community without the United Way,” he says. “And it’s not just the United Way. You think about the philanthropy of this community and the caring heart of Tulsans taking care of Tulsans. It’s part of the fiber, and I really think it’s helped shape the community that we’ve become.”
That’s enough love to fill a bus.
Pictured: Mark Graham, United Way president and CEO, with representatives of United Way agencies, from left, Desiree Doherty, Parent Child Center of Tulsa; Nadia Guevara, Owasso Community Resources; and Felecia Rowland, Margaret Hudson Program.