Coming together to make a difference in our communities — many of us wake up every day asking how to do just that. Yet the term “collective impact,” defined as a commitment by organizations across sectors to tackle complex social issues, is frequently discussed but difficult to recognize in our daily lives. I’m impressed with the way Gilcrease Museum has been leading the charge for collective impact among cultural institutions in our community. Over the last several months, Gilcrease has been hard to ignore as a proactive example of how one organization can serve as a catalyst for collaboration and positive change.
From the diversity of exhibitions and programs being offered, Gilcrease is changing, and Tulsans are taking notice. The community is responding to the museum’s open invitation to learn, engage and share. From highlighting the important contributions immigrants have made and continue to make to American culture in Americans All!, to discussing the role of the LGBTQ community in the American West in the current exhibition Blake Little: Photographs from the Gay Rodeo, the museum is opening the dialogue about current issues, history and the connections between the two, all while asking the community to join in the conversation.
The changes I’ve witnessed are a shift in the museum’s approach to content and emphasize ways to present that are relatable to people from all walks of life. While sometimes subtle, the results are starting to surface. Renewed excitement over one of our city’s most beloved institutions is growing alongside the many energizing developments that are part of Tulsa’s renaissance.
At United Way, we work to advance the common good by focusing on three building blocks of a better quality of life — education, health/safety and financial stability. Relying on collaboration and community partnership is how we do our work. Our very mission is to unite people and resources to improve lives and build a stronger community. Observing the emphasis Gilcrease has recently placed on community, education and examination of complex social issues speaks volumes to what we’re all trying to achieve. Tulsa is a great place to live for many reasons, but one of our most notable assets is our willingness as a city to work together. Gilcrease is leading by example, and my hope is that others will follow suit.
As an advocate for Gilcrease, I’m inspired by the changes I see taking place. Through intentionality, focus and persistence, together we can all make our community a better place.
Alison Anthony, President & CEO
Tulsa Area United Way