Kendall Whittier Incorporated is a home-grown organization incorporating self-sufficiency
for our neighbors through food security, nutritional health, and well-being.


In the 1960’s the Kendall Whittier area — its people, homes, businesses, schools and infrastructure, was aging. Coupled with this natural process was the effect of the construction of I-44 (Crosstown Expressway) and of the decision of the Tulsa Area Planning Commission to rezone the southern part of the area between Lewis Avenue and Delaware Avenue from single-family to multi-family use. Interstate I-44 divided the area into two distinct communities, displaced many people and adversely affected businesses. The intention of the rezoning was to counter the aging process by replacing deteriorating homes with new, small apartment buildings. In actuality it had the opposite result. Low standard, cheaply constructed apartments on fifty foot lots soon deteriorated and attracted occupants vulnerable to drug use and crime.


In 1968, as a response to the deterioration of the neighborhood, several neighborhood churches responded by establishing a shared outreach ministry. Determined to address the growing needs of the residents in the neighborhoods, each church housed a social services program to assist neighbors in need. This collaborative effort was eventually incorporated as Kendall Whittier Ministry.


Early programs of the churches were:

Tutoring in Kendall Elementary School, Cleveland Middle School and Whittier Elementary
School which was coordinated by United Campus Ministry; Summer Youth Programs coordinated by College Hill Church and Emergency Aid administered by Second Presbyterian Church on behalf of all the churches. Trans Co-op made transportation by volunteers available to Crosstown Senior Center, congregate meals, doctor’s offices, banks, etc. Kendall Whittier residents who had no transportation were eligible.


One of the most successful projects has been the year-round Youth Mentoring Program which began in October of 2003 and was headquartered at St. Francis Xavier. There were collaborative resources for healthy snacks, education and behavioral assessments and consultations, enrichment activities and referrals. The Ministry hired a certified educator as the director along with assistants, gathered supplies, set up accounting and reporting procedures, determined schedules, behavioral policies, etc. Approximately 150 Kendall-Whittier Elementary students were initially enrolled. The average attendance was 30 a day and there was a waiting list.


The program moved to College Hill Presbyterian Church and, in 2011 to Kendall-Whittier Elementary with the University of Tulsa assuming leadership through its True Blue Neighbors office. KWI continues to partner with True Blue Neighbors Youth Mentoring Program, offering assistance with its enrichment programs including providing an outdoor learning space in our GROW Teaching Garden and through other activities.


In an effort to broaden its funding opportunities during the Great Recession, the organization officially became Kendall Whittier Incorporated (KWI). As a 501(c)(3) KWI is primarily supported by foundation grants, component donations, fundraising events and individual giving. As of 2012 KWI’s primary focus is on addressing food security issues within the neighborhood through its Emergency Food Pantry and Community Gardens Programs. In 2013 KWI launched a Hispanic Expansion Project to increase our outreach efforts to the Spanish-speaking residents of the neighborhood. That program has more than doubled the number of clients were serve in the Hispanic community and continues to grow each month.


Today, Kendall Whittier, Inc. is staffed with five part-time employees led by a Board of Directors dedicated to fulfilling the mission of being a truly home-grown organization incorporating self-sufficiency for our neighbors through food security, nutritional health, and well-being.