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Tulsa Area United Way Hands Out Annual Live United Awards

Published in Tulsa World, written by Tim Stanley

Tulsa, Okla., Feb. 26, 2020 – Tulsa Area United Way officials on Tuesday hosted their Live United Awards, an annual celebration that shines a light on the organization’s donors and volunteers.

Just over 1,000 attended, a record for the event, which was held at the Cox Business Convention Center.

“It’s a reflection of the (2019) campaign itself,” United Way board Chairman Kirk Hays said of the packed ballroom.

“And look at how much we invested back into the community — $26,028,910. That deserves some serious high-fives.”

Companies and organizations recognized Tuesday included QuikTrip, with over $2 million raised; Bank of Oklahoma, over $1.5 million; ONEOK and Williams, each over $1 million; and the George Kaiser Family Foundation, Magellan Midstream Partners and ONE Gas, each over $500,000.

The annual Volunteer of the Year award went to Josh Starks, commander of VFW Post 577.

Former Tulsa Mayor Kathy Taylor was recipient of the Clydella Hentschel Award for Women in Leadership.

Alison Anthony, Tulsa Area United Way president and CEO, talked about the United Way’s social innovation grants, which give local nonprofits a chance to test out new ideas and projects.

One successful example of the program, Sapulpa’s Book and Snack Mobile, was parked outside the event for attendees to visit.

A partnership between Caring Community Friends and Sapulpa Public Schools, the mobile library circulated 2,000 books last summer while providing 1,400 snack lunches.

Camille Teale, CCF executive director, said the idea was designed to deal with two needs: maintaining kids’ reading levels over the summer while addressing the “food gap” that starts once school lets out.

The needs were going unmet due to a lack of funding, Teale said, but “funding is a terrible reason” for children not have books or access to nutritional essentials. The United Way grant allowed the innovative idea to go forward.

As chairman of the 2019 United Way campaign, Hays visited all 59 partner agencies over about six months last year, he said.

“I met so many inspirational leaders,” he said. “I’m so inspired to be working with people whose calling is to improve lives.”

Other honorees Tuesday included First Oklahoma Bank, Nordam, Ramsey Industries, Frederic Dorwart Lawyers, Hughes-Anderson Heat Exchangers, Sapulpa Public Schools, T.D. Williamson, Life Senior Services, Gateway First Bank, Laredo Petroleum, Arvest Bank and Tulsa County.

Anthony said, “At Tulsa Area United Way, we love the month of February because it gives us all the opportunity to come together and thank our donors and volunteers for a remarkable community effort.”

The original article was published by the Tulsa World on February 26, 2020 and can be found here.


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In May of 2019, Gateway Mortgage Group merged with an Oklahoma community bank to create Gateway First Bank. With bank roots dating back over 100 years and a 20-year mortgage history, a new kind of financial institution emerged. Gateway First Bank is a leading financial institution that provides digital banking and mortgage services for consumers and commercial customers. Headquartered in Tulsa, Oklahoma, Gateway funds over $7.7 billion in mortgages annually, maintains $1.5 billion in assets, and operates six bank branches in Oklahoma and 160 mortgage centers across America. With over 1,300 employees, Gateway is one of the largest banking and mortgage operations in the United States. 

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