When the fundraising’s over...
Phil and Adriane Lakin will celebrate at Mental Health Association Oklahoma's Carnivale 2017, “the best party in town.”
Phil and Adriane Lakin have a creative way of involving their sons — Brooks, 18, Alex, 15, and Cooper, 11 — in their philanthropic activities.
“Every year, I withdraw cash from the bank, bring it home and lay it on the table,” Phil Lakin says. Together, the family decides how to allocate the money — to church, universities and nonprofits like Mental Health Association Oklahoma — in the coming year.
“I want our sons to know that this is our responsibility to our community,” Phil says.
But to the Lakins, philanthropy is more than a financial investment. In addition to his work as the CEO of the Tulsa Community Foundation and as a city councilor, Phil, alongside Adriane, a fitness instructor at the St. Francis HealthZone, is chairing “the best party in town” — Carnivale 2017, a gala benefiting MHAO.
Chairing the event is a yearlong effort, as the Lakins’ primary responsibility is to raise $1 million with the help of a committee. This money will support MHAO’s mission to provide housing for the homeless, particularly those with mental health issues or veterans. It also will help fund other services provided by MHAO, including suicide prevention screening and training.
Although Phil grew familiar with MHAO through his work at the Tulsa Community Foundation, Adriane learned about the organization when she attended her first Carnivale in 2003. The theme was Cirque Le Masque, and it was held at the University of Tulsa Reynolds Center. Since then, she has developed a deep appreciation for its work.
On the second Friday of every month, MHAO offers public tours of its housing complexes. After taking a tour, Adriane was impressed by the sense of community and responsibility that MHAO’s housing clients have.
Although MHAO doesn’t ask for anything from its clients, “Once they get off the streets, and they have a home and a purpose, they want to start volunteering, they get a job. And everybody takes care of each other,” she says.
As Carnivale chairs, the Lakins also got to pick this year’s theme: Tribalé. Attendees will be immersed in an exotic, Polynesian-inspired environment, including tropical cocktails — and of course, great food and dancing. One reason guests enjoy Carnivale is that all the fundraising is completed beforehand.
“It’s a celebration of the work that MHAO does and will continue to do,” Phil says.
6:30 p.m., March 25; Cox Business Center, 100 Civic Center. Black tie. $2,000-$60,000, sponsorships. bestpartyintown.org