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October 15, 2020

Partnership Spotlight: Tulsa Area United Way

History of the Partnership

Reading Partners Tulsa and Tulsa Area United Way began a formal partnership in 2016. Every year since we have strengthened the many ways we work together to #LiveUnited. We are grateful to have this partnership with Tulsa Area United Way because they not only encourage community support by giving but also through service and timebecause giving your experience, strength, and hope is important, too. 

We wanted to take a moment to not only thank Tulsa Area United Way for all they have done over the years to support our work but to also shine a light on the impact they have had on our program and the greater Tulsa community.

tulsa area united way

About Tulsa Area United Way

The Tulsa Area United Way works to advance the common good by focusing on the three building blocks of a better quality of lifeeducation, health and safety, and financial stability. They mobilize people and organizations from across the community who bring the passion, expertise, and resources needed to get things done.

During its 95-year history, the Tulsa Area United Way has raised more than $799 million for the community. Every dollar the Tulsa Area United Way receives stays in Tulsa to help our neighbors, colleagues, friends, and family. 

Each year, the Tulsa Area United Way is a leader across the country for raising the most money to support local social services. This year, despite the challenges of raising money during a global pandemic, the Tulsa Area United Way aims to raise $23,720,000.

Known for outstanding efficiency and hundreds of volunteers that drive the agency, Tulsa Area United Way can proudly report to contributors that approximately 90 cents of every dollar donated last year went directly to local services and that hundreds of thousands of lives were touched, changed, or perhaps even saved through area contributions. [Link to FAQ]

“We know that Reading Partners is a resource multiplier for the funding provided by the community. For every dollar invested in Reading Partners, two dollars of resources are provided directly to kids. Schools pay for less than 20 percent of the cost of the program, while Reading Partners fundraises the remaining costs. The average cost to the school per Reading Partners student is significantly lower than the average cost of other supplemental reading services,” said Brent Sadler, VP Community Investments at Tulsa Area United Way.

tulsa area united way

Response to COVID-19

Over the years, Days of Caring historically took place in early September and included all affinity groups and partner agencies. For Reading Partners, that meant taking a day off from tutoring to engage in community service activities like the beautification of the Tandy YMCA, and local elementary schools, service work at the Girl Scouts campgrounds, and the Gathering Place. 

This year, the main goals of the three Days of Caring are to meet the most pressing needs due to the pandemic and safety for participants and partners. Therefore, we are pleased to be a partner with Ernst & Young to host a book drive for our studentskeeping employees and students engaged and safe. 

tulsa area united way

Partnership in Action

Believe it or not, 8.4 percent of our annual budget during the 2019-20 program year came from the Tulsa Area United Way. This substantial funding allows us to carry out so much of our duties as a literacy non-profitwhether it’s buying books, supporting volunteer onboarding, or paying our staff, we truly appreciate how much Tulsa Area United Way supports our work. 

“Third-grade reading levels are a critical tipping point for future student success and are an increasing focus of schools. Reading Partners, a United Way partner agency, works to enhance the reading skills of students through its annual investment of community dollars and through its corps of community volunteers.” – Brent Sadler, VP Community Investments at Tulsa Area United Way.

In addition to providing monetary support, the Women United affinity group of Tulsa Area United Way has traditionally worked with our team to provide Tutor for a Day events that offer the opportunity to provide students with makeup sessions throughout the year. In the past, our scheduled tutoring occurred Monday through Thursday, so we used Fridays as the day for students to make up sessions that they may have missed and ensured that they stay on track to meet their individual end-of-year literacy goal. 

“Coordinating one-time tutoring events with Reading Partners is so easy. I’ve hosted several of these, and each time they are organized and meaningful for the participants. All we have to do is show up!” – Heidi Braver, Director of Volunteer Experience, Tulsa Area United Way.

tulsa area united way

Since 2016, we have hosted a total of ten Tutor for a Day events with an average of ten attendees per event. These one-day events (also known as Books and Bagels) provide a springboard for community members to get started with Reading Partners which often translates into a weekly commitment. 

 “Reading Partners is a great way for Women United members to get involved with a partner agency because it’s easy to see the impact you make in the life of a student in Tulsa. We see the donations of our time and money sitting right next to us in the reading center. It’s a great way to see how the Tulsa Area United Way partner agencies are improving the city. You can be a part of that!” – Sharon Gallagher

tulsa area united way

The Tulsa Area United Way unites people and resources to improve lives and strengthen our communities, and this is true for our team at Reading Partners Tulsa as well! Did you know? Reading Partners hosts its own Internal Campaign to provide funding for Tulsa Area United Way. Each year, our development team works hard to come up with creative ways to encourage our team to have 100 percent participation. This year, Reading Partners hosted a spelling bee challenge to help raise money for our internal campaign and succeeded in engaging 100 percent of our full-time staff and AmeriCorps members. Our internal campaign begins on September 30 and runs through October 14.

tulsa area united way

Because of You

As you can tell, everyone is playing a part, and you can be part of that giving! We need your support and every dollar counts. Donate to Tulsa Area United Way and support Reading Partners today, or consider volunteering with one of their partner agencies. Your contribution will make an immediate and direct impact on the lives of more than 600,000 people who benefit from the services of the partner agencies each year.

Bonus: Check out Javion’s Story of Wonder, Discovery and Hope through Reading.

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Thanks to our partners

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