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Tulsa Area United Way Announces $300,000 in Grants for Social Innovation

Matt Trotter

Tulsa Area United Way is giving seven recipients a total of $300,000 in grants for social innovation projects.

United Way’s Sharon Gallagher said Family and Children’s Services is one of the groups that impressed a panel with their idea.

"And they're going to launch a crisis hotline and a response team for foster children who need immediate assistance and intervention," Gallagher said.

Some of the grant money is going to the Resonance Center for Women,"who will teach some of their clients skills to pay the bills while they are employed at the Take 2 Cafe, the new Resonance cafe that is opening downtown very, very soon," Gallagher said.

Tulsa Area United Way is also going to help get a downtown taco-vending bicycle off the ground.

T-Town Tacos is a project thought up by Youth Services Tulsa and the Community Food Bank of Eastern Oklahoma. Tania Pryce with Youth Services says selling breakfast tacos is a creative way to address a real problem.

"There are approximately 1,200 homeless youth in the Tulsa community," Pryce said. "Research shows that homeless youth experience unemployment rates of 66–71 percent, and maintaining employment can be even more challenging."

Youth Services hopes to start with two bicycles outfitted with hot boxes.

Other recipients include a nonprofit developing an app to help low-income people find a job, a teacher designing a program to help classrooms accept refugee children, a deaf woman starting a Toastmasters class for deaf adults and a woman offering a yoga program for kids in juvenile detention. Researchers will study the impact yoga has on participants.

Matt Trotter joined KWGS as a reporter in 2013. Before coming to Public Radio Tulsa, he was the investigative producer at KJRH. His freelance work has appeared in the Los Angeles Times and on MSNBC and CNN.