OKLAHOMA CITY– RestoreOKC is receiving $250,000 in funding from Bank of America as part of a campaign to renovate and expand the organization’s Community Resource Campus at the former Polk Elementary School.
The future campus is expected to serve approximately 6,000 households throughout the Northeast Oklahoma City community, which is home to the state’s largest percentage of African American households. The campus hopes to serve as an important economic and relational catalyst and is set to provide area residents with wide array of resources and services to area residents, including those experiencing homelessness, legal assistance, workforce development opportunities, small business development support, and an array of community-led mental health resources, among others.
“Every day we are reminded that, while we are stronger together, not every community has had the opportunity and investment it takes to thrive,” said Caylee Dodson, director, RestoreOKC. “Poverty, food scarcity, and unemployment are challenges that families in our neighborhoods face as a result of our history and disinvestment that has led to cycles for families that want the same thing we all do: a chance to flourish. Bank of America’s investment brings us significantly closer to seeing a community-led resource campus serve as an integral asset for revitalizing Northeast Oklahoma City and fostering economic mobility for families and neighborhoods.”
The center plans to partner with the Boys & Girls Clubs of Central Oklahoma and Thelma R. Parks, Martin Luther King, Jr. and Britton elementary schools, so that the community’s youth can gather and thrive after school and during summers. For their families, the campus’s north building will anchor additional adult and family services such as legal aid, family support, housing assistance, workforce development and entrepreneurial resources through a partnership with the Oklahoma Small Business Development Corporation.
“RestoreOKC’s Community Resource Center will serve as a social and economic anchor for Northeast Oklahoma City, the region and our state,” said Tony Shinn, president, Bank of America Oklahoma City. “In the relatively short time since they began their work, RestoreOKC has sought to combat the challenges of poverty by addressing and committing to work together to solve systemic issues from the ground up. We hope that our philanthropic investment will impact current and future generations as we work together with our neighbors to help encourage economic mobility and bolster positive growth for our region.”
RestoreOKC has been focused on reconciliation and restorative justice since it began five years ago at Ralph Ellison Library, as a community of neighbors, leaders and friends committed to working together to change the trajectory of this city’s racial divisions. As the rising calls for social justice spread across the country, RestoreOKC has partnered with the community to provide comprehensive programs addressing school resourcing and educational equity, home repair and affordable housing, food justice, economic development and senior care as part of their larger vision to foster and sustain economic growth for residents in the area.
This anchor grant is part of Bank of America’s focus on advancing economic mobility by supporting nonprofit organizations focused on education, workforce and community development, and basic needs. It also complements the company’s five-year, $1.25 billion commitment to address racial equality and economic opportunity.