David Finer is the CEO of Fabricut, a Tulsa company distributing decorative home furnishings to the interior design trade. He joined with eight other entrepreneurs to create Tulsa Tomorrow, a relatively new nonprofit trying to draw young professionals to the city through cultural and business opportunities. The group shows off Greater Tulsa’s arts, music, accessibility, lifestyle and low cost of living. We caught up with Finer and got his thoughts on …
… Tulsa Tomorrow’s purpose.
At its inception, a group of us in the Jewish community in Tulsa recognized that our Jewish population was shrinking, just at a time when so many dynamic positive things are happening in our Tulsa community. Our efforts are targeted at showcasing all of the beauty and opportunity in our city, and marketing Tulsa to folks who might consider relocating here. We had such positive comments about our efforts that we have happily expanded beyond the Jewish community.
… a visit from out-of-towners.
In November, 57 young professionals from all backgrounds and faiths visited Tulsa for a weekend. None of them (except two) had ever been here or ever had any intention of visiting. Most were from New York, Los Angeles and San Francisco. Over three days, with an intense schedule, they saw much of Tulsa, spoke to civic leaders about the opportunities and challenges here, had a think-tank workshop with local entrepreneurs, and enjoyed wonderful meals and social time together.
… their responses.
The feedback from the weekend was outstanding. We sent a detailed survey and, other than a few constructive criticisms regarding a few parts of the schedule, we know we hit it out of the park. Everyone was favorably impressed, and Tulsa quickly became part of their respective social media chatter. Two have moved here, another six or eight have come back for second visits, and another 10 are planning to come here to take another look. This all has generated interest from others who have contacted us. There are plans to have other weekends like this in the future.
… highlights of the visitors’ tour.
They spent time on Brookside, in the Arts District and at Philbrook. They went on a real-estate tour and received an informational lecture about the Gathering Place. Mayor G.T. Bynum was kind enough to address them one morning and his staff spoke to some of the challenges and opportunities regarding the diversity of our community. Tulsa Public Schools Superintendent Deborah Gist had a lunch-and-learn with them regarding our public education.
… what’s next.
We house two funds at the Tulsa Community Foundation. The donors are individuals and foundations, and all are excited about the prospects for bringing more people here.