TULSA, Okla. – A New York nonprofit, Business for Good Foundation, donated a total of $1 million to the three remaining survivors of the Tulsa Race Massacre.
Viola Fletcher, 108, Lessie Benningfield Randle, 107, and Hughes Van Ellis, 101, have seen a lot in their lives. A first, however, is the million dollar check presented to them by the Business for Good Foundation on Wednesday afternoon at the Greenwood Cultural Center.
“We’re trying to extend their lifespan and make them comfortable at their age,” said Ike Howard.
Ike Howard is the grandson of Viola Fletcher. He says the money will help him in many ways, as it takes care of both the centurions’ wants and needs.
“They want to go see things,” Howard said.
“They want to go to historically black colleges. They want to go to different events and do things. The mind is still fresh, but the body needs a little adjustment.
It was a packed house at the Greenwood Cultural Center on Wednesday as family, friends and community members witnessed the donation first hand. Business for Good Foundation founders Ed and Lisa Mitzen say giving to survivors was important to them.
“They were clearly wronged,” Ed Mitzen said.
“I don’t think there’s any argument about it and the fact that it was 101 years ago shouldn’t negate the fact that they were wronged.”
Mitzen says he just wanted to brighten their day and let them know that people care and that their struggle matters.
“I felt a little frustrated that it was so difficult for these people to try to get what they were entitled to,” Ed Mitzen said.
Mitzen says it’s the first donation they’ve made outside of New York. Howard says the money will also be used to help the survivor’s great-grandchildren finish college.
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