Listen to this article here
GREENWOOD Dist.–A Tulsa City Council working group approved nearly $7 million in federal ARPA funds for 45 nonprofits on Wednesday, including $481,201 for Terence Crutcher Foundation.
While Wednesday’s vote was unanimous, some city councilors almost succeeded in removing TCF from funding in a vote just months earlier.
The Terence Crutcher Foundation was formed after the tragic police killing of unarmed Terence Crutcher in 2016. His twin sister Dr. Tiffany Crutcher founded the organization to create just and liberated communities free from racial violence.
“We truly want to disrupt systemic racism that’s been happening in North Tulsa,” Dr. Crutcher told The Black Wall Street Times after the 4 p.m. meeting on Wednesday.
Her organization purchased the North Pointe Business Center at East Pine Street and MLK Jr. Boulevard for $1.7 to empower economic revitalization in the long-neglected community.
The building was once city-owned business resource center. Eventually a private out-of-state owner purchased the property, allowing to become dilapidated and empty.
Tulsa City Councilors drop opposition after Terence Crutcher Foundation packs meeting room
Dr. Tiffany Crutcher led the push to set aside ARPA (American Rescue Plan Act) dollars for nonprofits. As one of dozens that applied, TCF requested $481,201, part of which would be used to purchase a five-year warranty on an HVAC system for the North Pointe building.
Yet during a meeting in May, District 5 City Councilor Grant Miller proposed removing TCF from the list of recipients with no explanation, according to a report by Public Radio Tulsa. In a 4-4 vote, TCF was just barely spared from removal.
When she learned Tulsa City Council would be voting on Wednesday, Dr. Crutcher packed the room with supporters, including her father Rev. Joe Crutcher and her nephew, Terence Crutcher Jr.
“Maybe they had to do a little soul-searching, and I’m sure that when they really searched their souls that they had to do the right thing,” Rev. Joe Crutcher said.
“Tulsa got it right for once”
Councilor Jayme Fowler, a conservative District 9 councilor who’s running for mayor, told Public Radio Tulsa in September he had concerns about the vetting process for TCF.
Yet when faced with dozens of Black supporters of the Terence Crutcher Foundation on Wednesday, Fowler changed his tune.
“If we were going to buy half-a-million-dollar car and not insure it, I think it would be pretty short-sighted,” he said.
Ultimately, Tulsa City Council was set to vote on giving TCF $462,201, with plans to remove the $19,000 for the HVAC warranty.
However, Councilor Vanessa Hall-Harper, the only Black councilor, asked to amend the vote to give TCF the full $482,201. It was approved unanimously, despite Councilor Miler appearing to be displeased.
“It feels good. I think Tulsa got it right for once. There was really no justification or rationale as to why we would be removed from the list. We checked every box; We did everything right,” Dr. Tiffany Crutcher said.
“We met every qualification and so I would think that if they really want to be One Tulsa and make sure all of Tulsa thrives that this would be an easy vote.”
The future of North Pointe
Renderings from the Terence Crutcher Foundation show a glimpse of how they plan to restore the North Pointe building.
The plans include a community hub free for anyone to network, collaborate or just hang out, offices for entrepreneurs and artists, and a lounge with food and beverages.
For years, the Terence Crutcher Foundation has organized door-to-door listening sessions to gain community feedback, programs for youth and policy initiatives to reverse the life-impacting racial disparities for North Tulsa.
Wednesday’s vote signals another step in that direction.
“We all know that North Tulsa historically has been underinvested in, and we’re hoping that all of the growth that’s happening around the Greenwood District, that North POinte will actually be right in alignment with that growth,” Dr. Crutcher said.
“And not just have communal impact, that it will have economic impact for the North Tulsa community. So, we’re super excited.”