Tulsa's Young Professionals' Community Partner program begins its sixth year with the donation of 2013 funds and the announcement of 2014's beneficiary.
TYPros' 2013 community partner was the Arts and Humanities Council of Tulsa. The Tulsa Chamber group donated $12,394.86 to the council. Arts and Humanities Council Executive Director Ken Busby said the money will help their youth after-school program give more disadvantaged kids experiences with the arts.
"It's amazing what happens when we do things like that, in terms of the not only skills that they learn, but the fact that they build self-esteem and confidence and awareness," Busby said. "And then they take those skills to really make something great happen in the community."
In five years, the community partner program has given almost $80,000 to local nonprofits. TYPros has raised money for Big Brothers Big Sisters, Junior Achievement of Oklahoma, the Community Food Bank of Eastern Oklahoma and the YWCA.
In 2014, TYPros' partner is the Tulsa Zoo. Chairman Isaac Rocha said supporting the zoo is a good way to get younger people interested in coming to Tulsa.
"From a for-profit standpoint, you could say that the BOK Center is a great attraction tool to bring people outside of just the Tulsa region," Rocha said. "As a nonprofit, the Tulsa Zoo's going to have that same component, that same factor."
The zoo is currently working on making its exhibits more immersive, part of a 20-year master plan developed in 2012. One example is replacing big cat exhibits where distance separates visitors from the animals with exhibits where glass separates them.