I can’t believe I am actually blogging. It feels like riding a bike on two wheels for the first time or getting up for a minute on the wind surfer, which is the best I ever did at that.
It should not be surprising that CAP is the cause for this new development in my life. Getting to know the work of CAP has been a source of awakenings throughout my life– whether it is the importance of early childhood education, the way an organization can transform the lives of thousands of people through the EITC effort, or added insight into how fiscal policy over the last 20 years has chipped away at the American Dream. CAP has always challenged me and brought me to new understandings about the world in which I live. So, bringing this work to the world through the blog is pure genious. Thank you Al Gore!
I work for one of CAP’s many partners in Tulsa and around the country— George Kaiser Family Foundation. We emphasize excellence in early childhood education as the best strategy to break the cycle of poverty. We developed that focus by way of research done by our donor, George Kaiser, and the amazing leadership of Annie Koppel VanHanken, who heads this core work area for GKFF.
But, as I have learned by working at GKFF, it does not matter how much financial capital is at your disposal it is simply impossible to make a difference unless you have partners on the ground who can implement your vision with excellence and integrity. CAP has been that for us–and more– every step of the way.
The proposed work of the Tulsa Initiative is exciting. I plan to follow it closely and learn from its unfolding. I hope that the work we have initiated with the Center for the Developing Child at Harvard University can play an important role in the project. GKFF has developed a project with Dr. Jack Shonkoff, who runs the Harvard Center, to assist GKFF and CAP in the next generation of excellence in early childhood education and in anti-poverty efforts. Jack talks about bridging the gap between what we “know” and what we “do.” For a guy from Harvard, he makes sense. And when he and Steven Dow get together, I always expect lightning to strike given the brilliance and dynamism that both personify.
Jack and his team plan to work closely with CAP and with the newly-created University of Oklahoma School of Community Medicine, which is ably led by Dr. Gerry Clancy. Ideally, these partners— CAP, Harvard, OU (tall cotton indeed)– with our help can make some positive things happen in the lives of thousands of low income Tulsans that otherwise might not occur.
Again, I salute CAP-TC and deeply appreciate the enormously important role it plays in Tulsa and, by its leadership in the field, the country. The Tulsa Initiative promises a new and important chapter in CAP’s journey. And, lastly, thanks for inviting me to blog. I could get into a habit of this.
Ken Levit is Executive Director of the George Kaiser Family Foundation.
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