Neighborhoods matter.
Research proves it.

Growing Together is known as a community quarterback. That means we guide and support community members, organizations and funders to create vibrant communities for children. To be a successful neighborhood, children must have the right conditions to live, learn and thrive. We work to change the fundamental conditions of a neighborhood to benefit kids, making it a more attractive, mixed income neighborhood for families and businesses.

But we don’t want to reinvent the wheel. Our job is to be the connection between businesses, non-profit organizations and other programs. Together, we can all improve our neighborhoods.

Learn more about the science and research of developing neighborhoods here. 


Creating pathways for children to break the cycle of poverty through education, community vibrancy and the built environment.


Our neighborhoods are vibrant environments for children to live, learn and thrive. Families reside in high-quality, affordable housing. Children attend high-performing neighborhood schools. And, residents are invested in creating a thriving community.


  • The “Growing Together” collaborative was formed and the name created by neighborhood residents
  • Replaced Archer Park playground equipment and renovated pavilion


  • Remodeled Admiral Park: added new playground and converted tennis court to multi-use court and added pavilion


  • Launched partnerships with City Year, Reading Partners, Communities in Schools, CS, TDS
  • First phase of Capital Homes completed (10 homes)
  • West Park, Tulsa’s first mixed-income apartment community, completed 128 units
  • Kendall-Whittier park remodel completed


  • Growing Together became its own, independent entity solely focused on comprehensive neighborhood revitalization


  • Created a longitudinal data system to track student progress both in school and connected to Extended Learning Time activities


  • Recruited focused partnership of Tulsa Habitat for Humanity


  • Assisted obtaining a $7m commitment from Zarrow foundation for affordable housing to expand the capacity of Tulsa Habitat for Humanity


  • Launched Coffee with Parents

Dedicated to fostering
thriving communities.

Kirk Wester


Before becoming an executive director, Kirk Wester studied social work and psychology and became a Clinical Director at Human Skills & Resources. He is a licensed psychotherapist and addictions counselor. During his previous career, Kirk learned to understand the obstacles that individuals face and how to help them navigate toward good health. As Founder of Growing Together, Kirk was ready for the challenge of drawing experiences of living in the Kendall-Whittier neighborhood for several years. He loves that Growing Together is centered around people and is an avenue for a drive to change communities.

Kaitlin Williams Garrett


Kaitlin joined Growing Together after working at Zarrow International School for six years. During her time at Zarrow, she gained prospective to what students, schools and families deserve and what can happen in school and communities when it is a place where children can thrive. Kaitlin’s skills lie in organization, planning, coordination and project management. Now, she uses her skills to help children get access to the educational and life experiences they deserve.

Eva Peña

Business Development & Administration Manager

Eva holds several master’s degrees ranging from energy and fuel engineering to environmental engineering. Originally from Spain, Eva has worked in several countries, including a career as an e-reporter where she had the opportunity to travel and write. She has also helped design toothpaste tubes and has worked as a consultant for Accenture in Madrid. Now Growing Together utilizes her strengths in flexibility, organization and project management skills to help move the needle. This is her first job working in the non-profit sector and loves being an ambassador for the organization.

Franchell Abdalla

Director of Community Development

Franchell comes to Growing Together with over 17 years’ experience in fundraising and development. Through her career in fundraising and development, Franchell has strong skills in driving strategic growth, diversifying funding portfolios, building sustainable partnerships, grant writing and strategic visioning and planning. She is helping Growing Together develop and maintain collaborative relationships with donors and organizations and build an infrastructure that supports the strategic vision of the organization.

Judith Barba

Community Leadership & Mobilization Manager

Judith joins Growing Together with years of experience in diversity and nonprofit work. During her previous career, she had the opportunity to see the diversity this country has and strategically figure out how we can work together to improve the quality of life for each individual. Judith skills are in developing strong teamwork, problem-solving and a variety of communication skills. She lives in the Kendall-Whittier neighborhood and is passionate about improving the lives of those in her community. In her role at Growing Together Judith can use her passions to help those who live in her city and are in need.

Jessica Noonan

Director of Education Partnerships

Before joining the Growing Together team, Jessica was a teacher at Kendall-Whittier Elementary school for eight years. During that time, she was awarded teacher of the year and became a National Board-Certified reading specialist. Since her time at Kendall-Whiter Elementary, Jessica has worked as an instructional coach with Tulsa Public Schools and a graduate research and teaching assistant at Oklahoma State University. With her experience at the school site level, district level, and in higher education, she has an in-depth understanding of how these various systems interact within the local context. With this understanding, Jessica plans to make a difference in the Kendall-Whittier neighborhood by helping to break down barriers between schools and the families they serve.


Bill Fournet


“I started working with Growing Together in 2016 and saw the impact they were making in the Kendall Whittier neighborhood and school. They affect lives everyday and their success in creating diverse, sustainable partnerships towards real outcomes for our community excites me to help serve them in any way!”

Matt Newman


“Throughout my career in both real estate and social services, I have seen the direct positive impact a neighborhood can create for individuals and families. By serving on the board of Growing Together, I can now be part of a concentrated effort and play more of a direct role in the revitalization and sustainability of neighborhoods all across Tulsa.”

Brian Humphrey


“What motivates me to serve on Growing Together’s Board is the opportunity to empower a community to build a better future. Growing Together focuses on removing barriers for individuals and encourages leaders to address social and economic issues by focusing on rebuilding neighborhoods. Participating on this board offers me the ability to help strengthen the future of your city and state.”

Mark Cruz


“I truly want to impact the lives of this community. I want to be a part of helping mold the lives of the next generation. This is the ‘why’ for me.”

Don Millican


“I am drawn to this work because you are putting your faith into action”

Francisco Ibarra


“I arrived to Tulsa 11 years ago with Supermercados Morelos, and since then, I have seen this city grow, as well as its needs. I am always looking for opportunities to collaborate and give back a part of the much we have received. Now the opportunity is given as a member of the GT BOD and my experience can be used to achieve a common target:  to provide a well deserved education for our kids and take care of the families. If we have a good education and a sense of family, we will have a better city.”

Bob Schaefer


“I live and work in Kendall-Whittier and want my neighborhood to be the best. The work of Growing Together will help accomplish that,and my involvement on the board seemed to be a natural extension of those desires.”

Devin Fletcher


“The mission of Growing Together is to create pathways for children to break the cycle of poverty through education, community vibrancy, and the built environment. I am proof that providing access to rigorous, high-quality educational opportunities can shift a child’s pre-determined trajectory and minimize the corrosive effects of systemic poverty on families, communities, and society as a whole. I am committed to leveraging my seat on the board to drive institutional and systemic change to increase equity, access, and opportunity for all. I serve because I understand the power of the opportunity from a deep and personal perspective.”

Josh Miller


“Professionally, my portfolio of work at GKFF is focused on comprehensive neighborhood revitalization, and as a result, helped to found Growing Together and its organizational strategies. Through that work, I have also become a personal believer in the dramatic positive impact a neighborhood can have on a child’s long-term success in life. So, both personally and professionally, I embrace Growing Together’s mission to transform Kendall-Whittier into a vibrant, mixed-income community that could be a model for other neighborhoods in Tulsa.”

Luisa Krug


It is so important to comprehensively address neighborhoods in Tulsa so that we can see the best outcomes for children and families. I’m excited to learn more about Kendall-Whittier and the neighbors so that I can better understand the challenges and opportunities of this neighborhood.” 

Talmadge Powell


James Wagner


“I love neighborhoods. When I first moved back to Tulsa, I noticed there was not a neighborhood association where I lived. I worked with neighbors to start one that still thrives today. I believe that the ideal human experience is achieved when interdependent communities thrive. The City of Tulsa has the potential to achieve great gains by creating and replicating a model of strong neighborhood identity and cohesion. Growing Together represents a comprehensive model of neighborhood organization and leadership.”


Neighboorhood News