Tulsa, OK

The Tulsa woman giving away billions

Ash Jurberg

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I write a lot of business and finance stories. Usually focusing on people who have amassed billion-dollar fortunes. But what I try to find is inspiring stories of people who prefer to donate their money rather than buy huge mansions and private jets.

One such person is a Tulsa resident- Lynn Schusterman. Together with her daughter Stacy, she has given away over $2.1 billion.

Let's take a look at her story.

The Tulsa woman giving away billions

Lynn Schusterman was born in Kansas City, Missouri, in 1939 and raised in Oklahoma City. In 1962 she married Charles Schusterman of Tulsa.

Charles founded the Samson Investment Company, which eventually became one of the largest gas exploration and production companies in the United States. Charles was diagnosed with leukemia in 1983 and passed away in 2000, leaving behind a billion-dollar fortune for his wife and children.

Philanthropy

In 1987 the Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Foundation was founded as a way to give back to "their beloved hometown of Tulsa."

One of their biggest investments was establishing a University of Oklahoma campus in Tulsa. Lynn Schusterman said that she wants to support "education, child advocacy, and youth leadership in and around Tulsa, Oklahoma, and providing assistance to non-sectarian charitable organizations dedicated to enhancing the quality of life throughout Oklahoma."

In 2021 the foundation was renamed the Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Philanthropies, and last year it awarded $310 million in grants.

They support local initiatives such as the Tulsa Day Center for the Homeless, Youth Services of Tulsa, and the Community Food Bank of Eastern Oklahoma.

A key area of focus is on initiatives that advance racial, gender, and economic equity. For example, in July last year, Schusterman joined the Equality Can't-Wait Challenge aimed at expanding women’s power and influence in the U.S., contributing $10 million out of the $40 million in grants awarded.

Schusterman has been inducted into the Tulsa Hall of Fame, the Oklahoma Women's Hall of Fame, and the Oklahoma Hall of Fame.

Readers, what do you think of Lynn Schusterman's story? Have you met her or worked for any of the organizations she supports? Are you glad that she is doing so much for Tulsa?

Please leave your comments below.

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