A strong culture of giving is necessary to meet the needs of citizens. And Oklahoma has an asset most states don’t — strong tribal nations who can support and help grow communities. The tribes headquartered here have long been stepping up to meet philanthropic needs.
First responder equipment. Arts programs. Scholarships. Home health care. STEM initiatives. Affordable housing. Medical technology. Transportation services. Elderly programs. Infrastructure improvements.
There’s hardly an area that goes untouched by tribal kindness. The tribal nations of Oklahoma have a long history of providing support and stability to the communities that they call home. In city after city, town after town, the tribes are making a critical difference.
They have also lent a consistency to giving. When an economic downturn hits, tribal nations can stabilize communities with steady support through the valleys. “The only consistency you have is with the tribes,” notes Debby Hampton, president and CEO of the United Way of Central Oklahoma. “We are so fortunate to have the support of the tribes. We are dependent on the tribes.”
Tribe Provides Lifesaving Equipment
Firefighters in Anadarko have benefited from tribal generosity that has helped fund a thermal imaging camera and brush truck.
Many nonprofit organizations statewide are grateful to be on the receiving end of tribal generosity that adds up to millions of dollars in donations. Anne Clouse, vice president and executive director of the INTEGRIS Foundation, raves about the long history of support the tribes have provided and the stability they bring. “I would hate to think that, if we didn’t have that tribal support through philanthropy, what our nonprofits would look like in this state,” Clouse says. “They’re very passionate about taking care of all Oklahomans.”
It’s not just the funding that they provide — the things that the funding allows us to do is certainly transformational — but they also help us with their leadership. They sit on our committees, on our boards and they offer their expertise and bring a new perspective to the table.
The tribes serve as active and willing community partners throughout the entire state — from bustling metro hubs to smaller cities and towns. But it is perhaps the more isolated and remote rural areas who are most impacted by tribal giving.
“What I don’t think a lot of people understand is how the tribes really fill that need so greatly in rural communities,” says Alison Anthony, president and CEO of Tulsa Area United Way. The tribes help fund everything from new fire trucks and transportation services to youth and elderly programs, housing and health care. “Without them, that would leave a vast hole that would affect thousands of Oklahomans.”
People leading United Way chapters in cities all over the country would do anything to have that type of really stable and involved support our tribal leadership provides.
Deadly Intersection Made Safer
Tribal support helped improve a dangerous crossing — and save lives — in the small town of Ramona.
I wouldn’t be able to overstate the amount of contributions they’re making. It’s really extraordinary.
To say we’re dependent is kind of an understatement. We really do rely on the tribes to help us with some of the most difficult challenges in the state of Oklahoma.
Their giving sometimes is quiet, but it’s powerful and it’s meaningful and it means a lot to a lot of people across this state.
Stay up to date on the stories about all the unique ways state-tribal partnerships work for the benefit of everyone in the state.