ABOUT GROWING TOGETHER

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 fundamentals 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. 

OUR MISSION

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

OUR VISION

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.

2011

  • The “Growing Together” collaborative was formed and the name created by neighborhood residents
  • Replaced Archer Park playground equipment and renovated pavilion
2011

2012

  • Remodeled Admiral Park: added new playground and converted tennis court to multi-use court and added pavilion
2012

2013

  • 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
2013

2014

  • Growing Together became its own, independent entity solely focused on comprehensive neighborhood revitalization
2014

2015

  • Created a longitudinal data system to track student progress both in school and connected to Extended Learning Time activities
2015

2016

  • Recruited focused partnership of Tulsa Habitat for Humanity
2016

2017

  • Assisted obtaining a $7m commitment from Zarrow foundation for affordable housing to expand the capacity of Tulsa Habitat for Humanity
2017

2018

  • Launched Coffee with Parents
2018
LEADERSHIP

Dedicated to fostering
thriving communities.

Kirk Wester

EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR

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

DIRECTOR OF OPERATIONS

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.
BOARD MEMBERS

Bob Schaefer

CHAIR

“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

VICE-CHAIR

“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.”

James Wagner

TREASURER

“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.”

Mark Cruz

SECRETARY

“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.”

Francisco Ibarra

MEMBER

“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.”

Brian Humphrey

MEMBER

“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.”

Don Millican

MEMBER

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

Luisa Krug

MEMBER

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.” 

Josh Miller

MEMBER

“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.”

Bill Fournet

MEMBER

“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

MEMBER

Talmadge Powell

MEMBER

Studies

Neighboorhood News

Blog

5 Questions with Kirk Wester

5 Questions with Kirk Wester By: Rhett Morgan 1. What is the concept behind Growing Together? Neighborhoods deeply matter. Children grow successfully when their neighborhoods

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Blog

Growing pains

Growing Pains: How thoughtful development will build an inclusive community BY MITCH GILLIAM  Last month, I reported on the Davenport Urban Lofts, a high-end condo

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Education

Growing Child Academic Success

Opportunities for post-secondary education, high paying jobs and students coming back to invest in their home neighborhood all stem from child academic success.

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