Oklahoma ranks among the worst states for the number of citizens suffering from mental health and substance abuse problems — especially among its homeless population.
United Way of Central Oklahoma announced Thursday that it will dedicate $1.2 million to help implement a program to make a substantial impact in the area of mental health and substance abuse in central Oklahoma.
“This funding will help our excellent agencies provide a new kind of support to our most vulnerable population,” said Debby Hampton, CEO of United Way of Central Oklahoma. “Recognizing the serious mental illness and substance abuse problems of central Oklahomans, the United Way Board of Directors decided to dedicate these funds to address this pressing community need.”
Thanksgiving is a time for giving thanks for the blessings in life. But the holiday is followed by some less introspective, more commercial days designated “Black Friday” and “Cyber Monday.”
But “Giving Tuesday,” which follows Cyber Monday, is a day during which people are encouraged to look within their hearts and find ways to give back to their communities. For United Way of Central Oklahoma, every day is like a Giving Tuesday.
“United Way keeps it local with our giving 365 days per year, raising money to support 61 local nonprofits whose sole aim is provide social services to those in need,” said Debby Hampton, CEO of United Way of Central Oklahoma.
United Way of Central Oklahoma on Wednesday hosted a Recognition Reception, formerly known as Early Bird Reception, to announce early fundraising results and present some special awards and recognitions.
Larry Nichols, United Way of Central Oklahoma board chair kicked-off the event and Mike Turpen and Judy Love, 2015 campaign co-chairs, emceed, presenting the awards and honors and announcing the grand total to date for the campaign: $16,291,335. Final campaign results will be announced at the Snowflake Gala on Jan. 22, 2016.
During the Recognition Reception, several Employee Campaign Coordinators were given awards for their exceptional efforts during their companies’ campaigns and a group of loaned executives representing various corporate, federal, state and City of Oklahoma City contributors were honored for their dedicated efforts toward the fundraising campaign.
The awards for employee campaign coordinators, keyworker and Rookie of the Year went to:
- Hank Hartsell who coordinated the Oklahoma State Department of Health campaign as part of the State Charitable Campaign
- Josh Ryan who coordinated the Airports Department campaign for the Heart of the City Campaign
- Jan Zubia who coordinated the Oklahoma Fidelity Bank campaign
- Macay McComas and Allison Bailey who coordinated the fundraising campaign at Devon Energy
- The Combined Federal Campaign Outstanding Keyworker award was presented to Anna Elkins, who was keyworker for the Maintenance Department at the Oklahoma City Processing Center for the United States Postal Service.
- An Outstanding Rookie of the Year award was presented to Lesley Smith who coordinated the inaugural employee campaign for Ascent Resources.
The following are the 2015 Loaned Executives who were honored for their service at the Recognition Reception. The group of individuals spent 12 weeks working on the campaign. Also listed are the companies that loaned the individuals’ services to United Way of Central Oklahoma.
- LaRee Anderson, Tinker Air Force Base
- Lizzy Booe, US Postal Service
- Tiffany Booth, City of Oklahoma City
- Michael Cantrell, US Postal Service
- Blossom Crews, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Oklahoma
- Micki Daily, Federal Aviation Administration
- Helen Davis, Federal Aviation Administration
- Chuck Hughes, Tinker Air Force Base
- Lorena Martinez, INTEGRIS Health
- Andrea Mosley, Oklahoma Natural Gas, A Division of ONE Gas
- Shannon Stiger-Monahan, Bank of Oklahoma
- Benjamin Nockels, Devon Energy
- Jeremiah Perryman, OG&E Energy Corp
- Edna Pittman, Federal Aviation Administration
- Sara Rivera, Tinker Air Force Base
- Ann Stout, Arvest Bank/Love’s Travel Stops & Country Stores, Inc.
- Tyler Sullivan, Sonic, America’s Drive-In
- Mary Belle Zook, American Fidelity Group
The early fundraising total is tabulated from the Heart of the City, State Charitable Campaign, Combined Federal Campaign, “Early Bird” employee campaigns and the United Way of Central Oklahoma Campaign. The results to date also included funds raised by Pacesetter Campaigns.
The fundraising campaign is still in progress and individuals and corporations are encouraged to make donations throughout December and early January.
For more information, contact Heather Warlick at (405) 523-3534 or Hwarlick [at] unitedwayokc [dot] org.
Research is at the heart of United Way of Central Oklahoma’s purpose of improving the health and welfare of the area’s citizens. A recent grant from The Boeing Company will allow United Way to improve the organization’s impact by expanding the reach of United Way’s research.
Most people are aware that United Way of Central Oklahoma supports a huge group of local nonprofit agencies by raising money and funding projects of these agencies each year. In fact, 61 nonprofits are included under the “umbrella” of United Way of Central Oklahoma. UWCO grants funding to more than 125 programs administered by these agencies, making it the largest supporter of health and human services in the state.
Few, however, realize the amount of research United Way of Central Oklahoma conducts. The organization has an in-house team of professional researchers who spend countless hours delving into various aspects of health and human welfare in the area.
For 20 years, this research has been compiled into volumes of “Vital Signs,” a semi-annual publication that analyzes topics related to United Way’s focus areas: strong families, successful kids, healthy citizens, independent living and community preparedness. Additionally, UWCO regularly publishes impact brochures and special reports.
The grant from Boeing will allow for more community outreach and distribution of this important information by enabling United Way of Central Oklahoma’s research team to translate the publications into some of the most common non-English languages spoken in Oklahoma.
“United Way is one of the best run nonprofits in Oklahoma City,” said Jeb Boatman, site director and chief counsel for The Boeing Company.
On Monday, Boatman presented a check for $51,000 to Debby Hampton, CEO of United Way of Central Oklahoma.
“As a member of the United Way board of directors, I think the research they do is a tremendous help to the community, to the nonprofits in the community and to state and local governments as they’re deciding where to direct their efforts for the year,” Boatman said. “We’re proud to be part of that.”
“This financial support from Boeing is such an enormous benefit to the research we do at United Way,” Hampton said. “Not only does Boeing’s support help increase awareness of the importance of this research, but it frees up campaign dollars that support our agencies in their hands-on efforts in central Oklahoma.”
Upcoming editions of Vital Signs publications will address mental health and substance abuse issues and criminal justice issues in central Oklahoma.
For more information on United Way of Central Oklahoma’ s research and data center, go online to unitedwayokc.org, cal Heather Warlick at (405) 523-3534 or email hwarlick [at] unitedwayokc [dot] org.
Escorted in by service members and bright-eyed young professionals, a bus-full of senior citizens celebrated the holidays at the Oklahoma History Center on Dec. 7 during an evening many of them had been waiting for all year.
“This is my second year to attend,” said Sylvia Washington, a Trinity Gardens resident. “It’s a good time and it means a lot to get out, especially to some of these residents that will not even get out to bingo. It’s nice to see everyone dressed up and having fun.”
The Emerging Leaders group from United Way of Central Oklahoma hosted its third annual senior holiday dance, providing a dinner, live music and an open dance floor to the residents of Trinity Gardens and Villa Isenbart, senior housing facilites sponsored by Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Oklahoma City. Also invited were residents from St. Katherine Drexel Retirement Center in El Reno.
“One of my favorite things about this event is being able to intermingle with multiple generations,” said Donny Greenwalt, Emerging Leaders steering committee member. “While we all come from different backgrounds, we can all agree that we all want to be loved and we all want to be involved during the holidays.”
Emerging Leaders first formulated the idea of giving back to senior citizens when thinking of a group not commonly touched during the holidays, Greenwalt said. The Emerging Leaders group, comprised of young adults in the community aspiring to be the leaders of tomorrow, finds joy in providing a memorable night for the citizens in their community that paved the way for younger generations.
You can “Dine United” when you eat at one of 13 area restaurants this week. From October 12-16, several central Oklahoma restaurants will donate 5% or more of their net proceeds to benefit United Way’s annual campaign.
Donations will be allocated to 127 programs administered by 61 Partner Agencies who serve thousands of central Oklahomans each year through the community investment process. Proceeds from the event covers the spectrum of community needs, providing a social services safety net for our most vulnerable residents.
“Dine United is a great opportunity for participating local restaurants to serve hope in addition to delicious food, and for individuals to give back to the community by simply dining out,” said Debby Hampton, CEO and president of United Way of Central Oklahoma. “With each meal served, both the business and dining guest are pledging their support for our neighbors in need.”
See the full 2015 Dine United Schedule below!
United Way of Central Oklahoma is pleased to announce the Campaign Cabinet volunteers who will lead the 2015 fall fundraising campaign. The cabinet is comprised of local business leaders who volunteer their time to work with United Way to engage support from companies and organizations across central Oklahoma.
United Way of Central Oklahoma will kick off its 2015-16 campaign with a free pancake breakfast at the Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark at 7:30 a.m. on Friday, September 11, 2015. The event is open to the public.
United Way of Central Oklahoma kicked off the United Way Pacesetter Campaign with its annual Pacesetter Games on Thursday, June 25 on the lawn at American Fidelity.
United Way is pleased to reveal the new Volunteer Center website as the latest way to help build a stronger, healthier, and more compassionate community.