Tulsa County CARES funds keep nonprofits open, meet expanded needs

Tulsa County CARES funding for small businesses and nonprofits approached $45 million this week through its RESET (Resources to Empower Small Enterprises for Tomorrow) program.

Since April, more than $30.6 million has helped small businesses and $12.4 million has supported nonprofits. The ongoing program has placed more than $43 million of the total $50 million allocation into small businesses and nonprofits in Tulsa County. Through November, more than 800 businesses, nonprofits and agencies have received relief funding through Tulsa County CARES.

One nonprofit, Iron Gate, is providing food for 80% more people this year than last year.

“Since the pandemic began, we have seen about 2,000 households that we’ve never seen before,” said Carrie Vesely Henderson, Iron Gate executive director. “These are people who have lost their jobs (and) families that have moved in together — all different kinds of situations.”

Iron Gate received $250,000 from Tulsa County CARES, which provided for personal protective equipment, hiring temporary workers and new, safer ways of delivering meals to hungry people.

“The thing that Iron Gate prides itself on is never having to turn anyone away who is hungry,” Vesely Henderson said. “We are very grateful for our CARES Act money because we just couldn’t have done it without it.”

The Museum Broken Arrow faced potential closure after COVID-19 forced the cancellation of two annual fundraisers, said Julie Antoshkiw-Brown, Museum Broken Arrow executive director.

“If we had not received this funding, most likely we would have had to close our doors, she said. “The process of applying for the Tulsa (County) CARES funding was one of the easiest — if not the easiest — funding situation that I’ve ever applied for.”