Our WorkGiving back to this place that did so much for the Warren Family


The William K. Warren Foundation (“Foundation”)

is an entity borne out of “Green Country,” northeast Oklahoma. Much of the wealth that became the corpus of the Foundation came from the land beneath the people who are the greatest beneficiaries of its support. Therefore, giving back to this place that did so much for the Warren Family is an area of focus for the Foundation.

Medical research, health care services, health education, and Catholic initiatives are also largely about “community.” But, this section highlights just a few of the efforts the Foundation supports to help make Tulsa and northeast Oklahoma more livable and competitive for the talented people who will continue to make the area dynamic and vibrant into the future. These efforts are typically in the areas of beautification, economic development, and promotion of healthy lifestyles.

Healthy Lifestyles

In the USA, only 24% of adults met physical activity guidelines in 2018

A study by the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention found that 8.3% of deaths of non-disabled adults ages 25 and older were attributed to physical inactivity. Costs associated with physical inactivity account for more than 11% of total health care expenditures and are estimated at $117 billion annually.* While still ranked 41st in the nation, Oklahoma is one of the states that has been successful in reducing rates of sedentary behavior in the last 10 years (27.2% in 2019; 28.3% in 2013; 31.5% in 2009).**

Cycling is one of Americans’ top five outdoor activities.*** In an effort to empower people to live healthier lifestyles, The William K. Warren Foundation joined with race organizers and other local philanthropies in 2005 to create the Saint Francis Tulsa Tough; a fun, world-class cycling event that attracts riders from all over the world and thousands of spectators each year. In addition, the Foundation has contributed to the launches of two separate bike-sharing programs, Tulsa Townies and Tulsa Bike Share, to reintroduce Oklahomans to the joys and health benefits of cycling.

*American Health Rankings, 2019
**United Health Foundation, 2019
***Outdoor Foundation, 2018

Beautification/Economic Development

Most people are very surprised when they come to the Tulsa area for the first time

“Surprise” is when expectations don’t match up with reality. The expectation is typically that the area will have a flat, treeless topography straight out of a Western movie. The surprise comes when visitors to Tulsa see the reality of a hilly, urban forest. Northeast Oklahoma is where the Western USA meets the Eastern USA; where the arid meets the verdant trees, rivers, lakes, and hills that people are more likely to expect in Nashville, Atlanta, and Charlotte.

Since its founding days, Tulsa has had access to abundant fresh water. This fresh water supply has allowed for the Tulsa metro area to develop into an urban forest. The trees that make up the urban forest not only beautify the area, but they also provide important environmental services to the community. Those services include reduced energy usage, improved air quality, lower greenhouse gas emissions, reduced summertime temperatures, enhanced storm water management, enhanced water quality, improved habitat for many species, and reduced noise.*

In addition to not only adding beauty and environmental services to the community, research has shown that people heal faster and require less pain medication when they have views of trees and other vegetation.**

For these and other reasons, in 2007 the Foundation started the Warren Tree Farm with the planting of approximately 3,000 trees on some of its undeveloped land in southeast Tulsa. The Warren Tree Farm grows thousands of trees to be donated to worthy causes to help celebrate and to continue Tulsa’s legacy as one of America’s top 100 best places to live cities*** and as a part of a larger effort to maintain and enlarge these important community assets that everyone can enjoy. As of 2022, the Foundation has donated over 4,100 trees to the local community.

*U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, 2014
**Science, 1984
***Liveability.com, 2019

The Foundation

also supports other northeast Oklahoma organizations that directly improve wellness and provide care.

There is particular interest in organizations with proven strategies to better prevent, diagnose, and treat mental illness.

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