Your friends at Smart Growth Tulsa enter 2018 with renewed enthusiasm after experiencing some disappointing results from 2017’s fundraising efforts. There really is no way to sugar-coat it. Our hopes of generating sufficient revenue to fund a full-time executive director and administrative assistant have simply not yet materialized.
After unsuccessfully appealing to several major local foundations, our team was faced with a sobering decision. We could devote virtually all available resources to grant writing and fund-raising efforts at the expense of our advocacy, or continue as an all-volunteer organization. While not ruling out future fund-raising efforts, we agreed to narrow our focus and reevaluate our priorities.
While permanent staffing appears out-of-reach for now, our Trustees and Advisors remain resolute in our mission To Advocate and Shape Smart Public Policy, albeit in a more reactive than the proactive manner we had hoped for.
A look back
Our 2017 projects and programs each enjoyed a measure of success. Our Community Policing Initiatives resulted in the appointment of Julie Skye as a SGT representative to Mayor Bynum’s Community Policing Commission. We made many suggestions not all of which made the final cut, but were never-the-less important to the discussion on how best to deploy the addition of newly funded officers in community policing roles.
Our Civic Tech Initiatives supported the administration in embracing open data & citizen participation in government by establishing formal policies as well as grassroots support. Tulsa is now part of a national movement that believes civic engagement can have a transformative effect on citizens’ attitudes toward government—in addition to realizing tangible positive outcomes from improving government efficiency.
Our goal to partner with the City of Tulsa to develop and deploy a single internet-based point of access to public notices, agendas, minutes, ordinances, regulations, policies, procedures, official plans, budgets, financial statements, and other public records that is open, unabridged, responsive, interactive, and proactive and promotes citizen understanding and engagement…remains a work in progress.
Our Riverwood Neighborhood Plan Update did not get the traction we were hoping for and it remains a key objective moving forward, as the city prepares for the debut of the Bus Rapid Transit system on the South Peoria corridor and the somewhat controversial design improvements proposed for the 61st and Peoria roadway. Smart land-use and transportation policies are at the core of Smart Growth Tulsa’s vision and mission. We’ve steadfastly advocated for increased density to save money on infrastructure, and for safer, multi-modal streets serving not just automobiles, but also pedestrians, cyclists, and transit users.
And finally, after nearly four years I’ve concluded my role serving you as the organization’s volunteer full-time executive director is untenable and must necessarily diminish as I re-focus on my real estate career to support my home and family. We are exploring options on how to fill the gap and welcome your feedback on how best to fill that gap. If you or anyone you know has suggestions or an interest in assuming some or all the volunteer duties of the executive director, please contact me.
In the meantime, I will continue to write and share articles, administer the website and fund routine expenses by becoming a sponsor of the organization. Amber Whitlatch will continue to manage our social media presence as she has so admirably done since the beginning. We will also continue to rely upon your generous contributions of $10, $25, or $100 to help with incidental out-of-pocket expenses. Click here to visit our secure Smart Growth Tulsa fundraising platform.
All of us at SGT remain committed to achieving the objectives of our adopted Business Plan, detailing what we hope to do, while simultaneously developing specific strategies on how we plan to do it.
The good news
It can be argued that no single person or organization has done more than Smart Growth Tulsa, in collaboration with our partners, to encourage elected officials to aggressively implement PLANiTULSA, our Comprehensive Plan and our adopted small area plans.
Day-in and day-out, SGT advocates for true participatory governance, the preservation of Tulsa’s historic assets and wilderness areas, for walkable neighborhoods, for bike lanes, for an expanded transit system, for community-policing, for affordable housing options, and for sound place-making strategies in both the public and private sectors.
In that regard we look forward to continuing our support for and collaboration with TYPros and their Urbanist Crew members to attract, retain and empower young, creative talent. Working together with other individuals and groups, we seek to imagine and execute big ideas and bold actions to build an equitable, resilient, connected and flourishing community.
Thank you, thank you, thank you
In closing, we express our most sincere gratitude for your continued activism and support as we work together to create a more vibrant and sustainable city.