Murrow Indian Children’s Home receives contribution from AT&T

Murrow Indian Children’s Home, Muskogee, Okla., has received a $50,000 donation from AT&T to create a program for those who transition from the home to independent living. Founded by an American Baptist, the home has been providing care to Native American children with support from American Baptist Home Mission Societies (ABHMS) and its predecessor organizations for decades.

“The Murrow Indian Children’s Home is for American Indian children who have been deprived of a normal life. Many of them come from abusive situations, and we help provide the safe nurturing environment that they need,” says Betty Martin, the home’s executive director. “We are grateful for AT&T’s support. Thanks to their contribution, we will be able to provide guided support for those who have aged out of our home—helping ease their transition, keeping them in school, and preparing them for college or a career.”

The Inter-Tribal Council of AT&T Employees (ICAE)—an employee resource group that supports Native Americans—has been in relationship with Murrow for approximately 10 years. ICAE had recently asked Randall Stephenson, AT&T’s chief executive officer, to visit the home. Stephenson was impressed with the home’s ministry, and the contribution followed via presentation in a later visit to the home by Steve Hahn, president of AT&T Oklahoma.

“We’ve been able to help increase opportunities for so many, including the children and young adults that live at the Murrow Indian Children’s Home,” says Margo Bernath, ICAE national president. “I’m proud to work for a company that is so committed to supporting its employees and enabling us to give back to the communities where we live and work.”

Michaele Birdsall, ABHMS’ deputy executive director, treasurer and chief financial officer, points to this situation as an effective model for social responsibility.

“This scenario is a reminder that people of faith who work in secular settings have the power to influence corporate behavior in support of social issues,” Birdsall says. “This corporate donation came as a result of a relationship that an employee group—the Inter-Tribal Council of AT&T Employees—developed with Murrow Indian Children’s Home. It is instructive as we think about ABHMS’ ministry of the laity and socially responsible investing.”

The transitional program is intended to build the skills of children aged 3-17 within the home as well as young adults aged 18-21 who have aged out of the home. Upon each child’s entrance to Murrow, a program director will provide testing to establish baseline skill and developmental levels and to develop individual goals and objectives. After goals and objectives are identified, live-in staff will work with the children to help prepare them to transition from living at the home to living independently.

Training will include learning how to rent an apartment, buy a car, open a checking account, manage money, create a budget, seek a job, complete an employment application, prepare for emergency and practice safety. Also offered will be information about how to access tribal and state resources and services.

“Education has been a priority for AT&T for more than a century, and we believe when we invest in education, we are making our communities stronger, safer and more economically viable,” says Hahn. “We are proud to work with the Murrow Indian Children’s Home and to help support the creation of this transition program, which will help keep students on a pathway to success.”