(Written by By Laurie Winslow for Tulsa World)
Do you have a great idea that you think would generate excitement and interest among the community’s young professionals?
Maybe it’s a festival, event, program or something novel and eye-catching that you’ve frequently envisioned.
Whatever the idea, the TYPros Foundation wants to know and is seeking grant applicants.
Launched last year, the foundation aims to develop the next generation of community and philanthropic leaders and provide financial support for projects, events or programs that advance the foundation’s mission.
“We made a strategic decision last year that as we celebrate our 10th anniversary we have an opportunity to position TYPros to impact and create a lasting change in our community that benefits all of Tulsa,” said Shagah Zakerion, executive director of TYPros.
For many years through a community partnership program, TYPros selected one nonprofit each year to receive a donation through its fundraising efforts and provided volunteers.
This year, in celebration of its 10th anniversary, the young professional group decided to do something different. It has done away with the community partnership program, Zakerion said, in favor of setting up a foundation that can give grants to a variety of individuals or organizations.
The foundation is housed within the Tulsa Community Foundation and donations are tax deductible.
“These are young professionals who love Tulsa, and they want to make it better. They recognize that their peer group has a lot of really great ideas about how to enhance Tulsa, from the perspective of young professionals,” said Heather Duncan, a trustee of the foundation.
The foundation is seeking applicants who have great ideas, but need a little seed money to get them started.
For example, someone might want to put together a festival that showcases artists or an event that creates awareness of homeless youth. Or maybe someone has an idea that would contribute to biking in downtown.
A few years ago, a TYPros member had the idea for Street CReD, an annual event that focuses on community redevelopment by highlighting a part of the city. Volunteers give an area a weekend makeover to visually articulate what Tulsa can become.
“It’s really open ended. We know the good ideas are out there, but we see those good ideas fizzle because sometimes it takes a little chunk of money to get it started,” Duncan said.
Young adults know how to rally their peers really well, but they can’t always personally invest or have the money to get a first-time event going, Duncan added.
People have until June 1 to submit their ideas. Finalists will be notified June 15, and grant winners will be announced in November at the TYPros Boomtown Awards. The annual awards ceremony honors businesses and individuals who exemplify and promote the mission of TYPros and help create a better environment for young professionals in Tulsa.
No project is too small to apply, say supporters. Grant winners who receive up to $5,000 will have six months to fulfill their project or idea while those who receive up to $10,000 will have up to one year.
The foundation has at least $30,000 to give away in grants. TYPros also can connect individuals who have ideas for programs, events or festivals with volunteers.
Applicants have until June 1 to apply for a grant. They can tweet their ideas by submitting text, video or a picture to @TYProsFund. A website with more details will be available starting Wednesday at typrosfoundation.org.