Maryann Donahue from Global Gardens is here today to share how this wonderful organization helps empower children in high-poverty areas of Tulsa.

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Something that’s really important to us as a real estate team is giving back to our community, which is why we like to spotlight our local nonprofits that are doing great things in the Tulsa area. Today, I’m talking to Maryann Donahue from Global Gardens.

Global Gardens was created by a teacher from Tulsa named Heather Oakley [spelling?] in 2007. Heather had a background in urban science education and peace education. She also had a bachelors degree in botany. She combined all of those things to create Global Gardens.

The purpose of Global Gardens is to help fight the cycle of poverty and empower kids from high-poverty communities to be agents of change in their own lives and in their communities.

When Heather came back to Tulsa in 2007, she started the first program at Eugene Field. She offered during and after-school programs. At that time, there was an empty lot next to Eugene Field that was bare, empty, and forgotten. She and that first group of students turned it into a beautiful, bountiful garden, and that’s what Global Gardens has done ever since.

Since then, Global Gardens has added three more sites in addition to Eugene Field, including the one Maryann and I are filming from today. This field services Union Middle School and Union High School. There are two other elementary schools in the program as well: Rosa Parks Elementary and McAuliffe Elementary in East Tulsa.


“We serve over 1,800 kids every week in this program,” says Maryann. “We’re helping about 2,500 people a year.”

Global Gardens uses gardening as a vehicle for empowerment. They also use gardening to teach science and how to be peaceful. “In the during-school program, they have a class garden. They get to decide what to plant, and they have a harvest party at the end of the year,” says Maryann. “They do all of that together. It’s very intentional.”

These programs teach science that addresses state science standards while also teaching teamwork. The students don’t have many opportunities outside of Global Gardens to do hands-on, real-world things and have to do them as a team.

We really believe that Global Gardens is doing a great thing. How can you help? Go to to make an online donation. All of their funding is raised from community donations; they don’t have state contracts or charge fees.

Maryann says that Global Gardens hopes to add a fifth site at Jackson Elementary School in North Tulsa by 2019. This has been in the works for a while, so please consider helping them reach their goal.

I would like to thank Maryann for taking the time to talk to me today. You can learn more details about Global Gardens at

If you have any real estate questions or know another local nonprofit you think we should spotlight, give me a call or send me an email. I would be happy to help you!