Oklahoma’s robust nonprofit sector plays a vital role in the social and economic well-being of our great state. They provide services and resources, and contribute to our economic stability. Oklahoma nonprofit organizations are the voice of the people they serve and often have a clear view to the best ways to fulfill important needs. In Oklahoma, those needs are growing and the resources are shrinking. Our regional nonprofits are being asked to do more but with less funding.
It’s important to give back to our people and our communities. I am proud that 100 percent of our business profits are reinvested locally, where they have the most impact on our Cherokee families. That is important year round, but it is especially tangible this time of year, during the holiday season when spending time with family is so important.
Contributions by Cherokee Nation Businesses to our nonprofit community partners totaled more than $16 million over the past five years. Collaborations with more than 300 nonprofit partners throughout northeast Oklahoma like Tulsa Area United Way, Oklahoma Blood Institute, Community Food Bank of Eastern Oklahoma and the Nature Conservancy of Oklahoma ensure Cherokee Nation is able to reach more of its citizens and help change the lives of people living throughout our communities.
Through the Cherokee Nation government, we have given more than $8 million in the past year to public education, first responders and local youth programs, like the Boys and Girls Club. We invest hundreds of thousands of dollars to these charitable causes, including domestic violence shelters, Cherokee community organizations and a wide variety of other grassroots efforts, because they make stronger, healthier communities in rural northeast Oklahoma.
In addition to monetary donations, our employees spend thousands of hours volunteering each year with organizations important to them and their families.
We don’t have to do this, but it is the right thing to do.
Cherokee Nation uses gaming profits to create jobs, provide services and diversify the economy in parts of Oklahoma with few other reliable sources of investment. It is our goal to expand that footprint and continue to be a strong supporter of the Cherokee people, the Cherokee Nation and the state of Oklahoma. We plan to continue strengthening our communities and inspiring hope in people’s lives.
We know working together fortifies our ability to effect such changes. We care about improving communities. We care about being a good partner. We share those values with our nonprofit partners. The common ground is addressing the needs of our children, our families and our elders.
We are blessed at the Cherokee Nation and thankful that we can make positive changes to improve Oklahoma in both large and small ways. Financial giving, volunteerism and even the simple ability to serve can go a long way. These things improve lives and the sense of giving of yourself to the betterment of the larger community is a value that we respect and strive for as Cherokees.
I hope in 2020 we are able to fulfill even more of the needs of our communities. We are proud of what we have accomplished in the first 100 days of this administration. We will continue to focus on the things that make real and lasting impacts in the lives of our Cherokee citizens. From my family and me, as well as Deputy Principal Chief Bryan Warner and his family, we wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.
Chuck Hoskin Jr. is the Principle Chief of the Cherokee Nation.