TULSA, Okla., April 29, 2004 – Tulsa philanthropist Henry Zarrow and Apache Corp. Chairman and educational humanitarian Raymond Plank are offering a $1 million challenge grant to inspire local residents,foundations and businesses to endow a fund for Oklahoma public school teacher sabbaticals in the United States and abroad that would ultimately benefit students in the classroom.
Zarrow and Plank are providing $500,000 each to the Fund for Teachers in the Tulsa area, which will be administered through Tulsa Community Foundation (TCF). Their gifts are intended to generate $2 million in additional contributions from around the Tulsa area. Now in its third year locally, the Fund for Teachers provides grants of up to $5,000 to pre-kindergarten though 12th grade teachers for summer sabbaticals. The Tulsa program is affiliated with other Fund for Teachers efforts that Plank founded around the county to provide teachers career development opportunities of the caliber available in the corporate world.
Apache, a Houston-based energy company and historically a leading oil and gas producer in Oklahoma, is celebrating its 50th anniversary by spearheading a national initiative to raise $50 million for Fund for Teachers endowments across the United States. The company is directly providing $15 million over three years. Plank and Zarrow together are asking the Tulsa community to show their support for teacher development and public education by giving to the local program.
“Mr. Zarrow, Apache and Plank are challenging this community to join together in matching on a two-for-one basis, a $1 million challenge grant to permanently endow Fund for Teachers in the Tulsa area,” said Phil Lakin, executive director of Tulsa Community Foundation. “The initial goal is for an endowment of about $3 million, with funds administered by TCF, which would generate enough cash from investments to fund approximately 40 teacher sabbaticals each year for Tulsa area teachers.”
“For years, Tulsa area teachers have foregone many of the employee benefits and incentives offered in the corporate world,” Lakin said. “By meeting the Zarrow-Plank match, we as a community not only demonstrate how much we support these educators, but also provide them with invaluable career development opportunities that many could not pursue on their own.”
In addition to announcing the challenge grant, Tulsa Community Foundation and the Fund for Teachers will present grants totaling almost $250,000 to 100 teachers at an awards ceremony to be held from 4 p.m. to 5:30 p.m., Thursday, April 29 at the Doubletree Hotel, Warren Place, in the Warren Ballroom. Plank and Apache President/CEO/COO G. Steven Farris, will join Zarrow and Tulsa Community Foundation President Joe Cappy and Executive Director, Phil Lakin, to present the awards.
About Fund for Teachers and Apache Corporation
Fund for Teachers is the brainchild of Plank, who started the organization in 2001 after years of educational philanthropic endeavors in Minnesota and Colorado. The Fund for Teachers is a unique foundation whose mission is to enrich the lives of schoolteachers and students by providing recognition and opportunities for renewal to outstanding teachers. Making a difference one teacher at a time, Fund for Teachers awards grants directly to teachers to support professional development opportunities of their own design. Since 1998, 567 teachers in seven cities-Denver; Houston; New York; Oakland, Calif.; Minneapolis and St. Paul, Minn.; and Tulsa-have received funding, including 267 Fellows during the summer of 2003. FFT Fellows have participated in programs and traveled in 45 countries on six continents. In 2004 Fund for Teachers continues to expand, awarding funds to approximately 375 teachers including, for the first time, educators in Boston, rural Colorado and rural Oklahoma, and to the ational network of Expeditionary Learning Outward Bound schools (reaching teachers in 27 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico).
“Oklahoma has been good to Apache and we have been a leading producer in the state for many years,” Plank said. Apache drilled its first well in 1955 in Cushing, Okla., and opened a field office in Tulsa later that same year. Company production at the time averaged 800 barrels of oil per day. Today, with its Central Region headquarters still a fixture in Tulsa, Apache is the third-largest natural gas producer in the state with average volumes of 150 million cubic feet per day. The company employs 94 people in Tulsa and 85 more throughout the state. Regional capital expenditures in 2004 are estimated at $150 million.
About Tulsa Community Foundation
Tulsa Community Foundation (TCF) is a public charity organized in 1998 by its chairman, George B. Kaiser, and an esteemed group of business and civic leaders. TCF’s mission is to receive, protect and distribute gifts from individuals and organizations for the improvement of the Tulsa and eastern Oklahoma area. Currently, TCF manages over $700 million invested through: 90 Donor Advised Funds, established by individuals, corporations, and private foundations; 155 Charitable Agency Endowment Funds established by and/or for the benefit of specific charitable organizations; and nine Supporting Organizations. Last year, TCF distributed over $13 million to charitable organizations. Individuals, corporations, and nonprofit organizations use the Foundation for a wide variety of reasons. Although their gifts vary in size, the generosity and foresight of TCF donors reflect a passionate commitment to the community and a desire to improve Tulsa’s quality of life for future generations.