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TULSA, Okla. – Ed and Lisa Mitzen with their New York-based nonprofit Business for Good Foundation™ and several staff members, will present a $1 million shared gift to the three known living 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre survivors of the 1921, 108-year-old Mrs. Viola Ford Fletcher, 107-year-old Mrs. Lessie Benningfield Randle and 101-year-old Mr. Hughes Van Ellis.

The Press conference will be held at 1 p.m. on Wednesday, May 18, 2022, at the Greenwood Cultural Center, 

Ed Mitzen said he felt compelled to give a significant donation to the survivors after he read an article regarding the Tulsa Race Massacre survivors in The Washington Post, written by DeNeen L. Brown, an Oklahoma native, award-winning journalist and documentarian. Mitzen contacted Brown to praise her for the article and requested assistance to reach out to the survivors.

Brown forwarded the Mitzens’ request to State Rep. Regina Goodwin, who represents the Historic Greenwood District, to coordinate a meeting with the Mitzens and the survivors. Goodwin has enlisted Tulsa S.T.E.P.S. (Serving To Empower People Successfully) Foundation Inc., a local 501(c)(3) organization, to help facilitate engagement as was previously done with fundraising efforts on behalf of the survivors.

Tulsa Massacre survivors to receive $1 million donation

Tulsa S.T.E.P.S. was co-founded by Cindy Driver, who serves as the development chair. The foundation has a threefold mission: civic engagement, health advocacy and educational development. 

Foundation president Lanetta Lyons confirms the overwhelming appreciation of S.T.E.P.S. board members to be involved in such a worthy project.

“A movement of gratitude and giving, it means so much to me when I make a difference in someone else’s life,” Ed Mitzen said of his foundation. “If I could inspire that action in others, no matter how small the gesture, it would make an immeasurable impact in the world around us.”


With values rooted in equity, access, opportunity, and prosperity, Business for Good has advanced the model of traditional venture philanthropy to Do Good and Give Back to communities in the Greater Capital Region of Albany, New York. 

Formed in 2020, BFG seeks to give back to move forward and is rooted in the core principle of “for good, not gain.” Its efforts were recognized on a national level with a 2022 Fast Company’s World Changing Ideas Honorable Mention, which recognizes pioneering teams that are playing an important role in the betterment of the world through intentional philanthropy. 

Comprised of a mission-focused team, Business for Good™ believes no challenge is insurmountable through hard and thoughtful work. With a goal to provide businesses and organizations with sustained support, BFG invests in people for the long term and in every way. 

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The Black Wall Street Times is a news publication located in Tulsa, Okla. and Atlanta, Ga. At The BWSTimes, we focus on elevating the stories of our beloved Greenwood community, elevating the stories of...