Press Release

Release Date: June 20, 2024
by Chickasaw Nation Media Relations Office

ADA, OKLA. – Chickasaw Nation Governor Bill Anoatubby today unveiled a new fundraising initiative, spearheaded by a diverse committee of stakeholders, aimed at rebuilding businesses and bolstering economic recovery in Sulphur and Marietta, Okla. Both communities within the Chickasaw Nation experienced significant damage from recent severe weather.

Governor Anoatubby appointed Chickasaw Nation Secretary of State Bill Lance and lifelong Murray County resident, to chair the Business Rebuild and Recovery Campaign. Led by a committee of residents, public officials, and business leaders, the campaign is a testament to the collective commitment of these communities to rebuild better and stronger.

"As a life-long resident of the Sulphur area, Bill brings a unique blend of business, government, community service and philanthropy experience to this critical role. He is well positioned to understand the local business community's needs and leverage his experience in bringing together various public and private funding mechanisms necessary to rebuild these business communities successfully," Governor Anoatubby said. “Additionally, we are pleased that numerous dedicated state and local leaders are supporting this campaign.”

"Governor Anoatubby and state civic leaders will work with various government agencies to address the needs of Chickasaw citizens and other affected residents. We will focus on raising funds to support the local business communities' enormous rebuilding and recovery efforts. The restoration is essential for providing vital goods and services and generating tax revenues that fund crucial public services," Secretary Lance added.

The Chickasaw Nation has made a substantial financial contribution toward the $6 million fundraising goal.

"More than 50 local businesses in these communities suffered either total or significant losses," Governor Anoatubby said. "This fund will help ensure they have an opportunity to rebuild in a manner that allows them to reopen as soon as possible while preserving the historic character of the communities." 

The project will include securing the services of an architecture firm to provide consulting services and design recommendations that will help preserve the look and feel residents and visitors experienced in the historic downtown area of Sulphur.

The architecture firm will consult and coordinate with architects and property owners on each project to help ensure fa├žade design elements are consistent and appropriate to preserve the historic nature of the Sulphur downtown area.

"Our goal is to provide financial and technical architectural and construction support to those on the ground engaged in the day-to-day demanding work of rebuilding these business communities, based on a shared vision to honor the past while building a brighter future," Secretary Lance said. "Our process will be collaborative and inclusive to ensure all stakeholders have a voice in the outcome."

In Marietta, the focus is on restoring vital goods and services damaged or destroyed by the tornado that swept through the west side of town. Secretary Lance highlighted that under the leadership of Governor Anoatubby, Chickasaw Nation officials have been working with community stakeholders in Marietta to set up temporary emergency health facilities and restore local food supply chains to meet the most immediate needs. He stressed the importance of our efforts in targeting the unique needs of each community in our fundraising endeavors.

The Business Rebuild and Recovery Campaign will establish a grant program overseen by the Chickasaw Foundation, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization with a long-standing commitment to disaster relief, emergency services, scholarships and other charitable endeavors. The Foundation will cover all administrative costs associated with the fund to help ensure that 100 percent of donated funds are applied directly to grants. The grants will primarily fund the architectural design and construction of the facades portion of each awarded project in the downtown area of Sulphur, with any remaining funds allocated to cover additional construction costs.

"Together, we will forge a path toward resilience, restoration and a brighter future for Sulphur, Marietta, and the entire Chickasaw Nation," Governor Anoatubby said.

The Chickasaw Foundation will establish a simple and secure application process with robust controls to responsibly, appropriately and effectively deploy funds to qualifying applicants affected by the recent disasters. The Committee will release more information on program eligibility and the application process shortly. To learn how you can contribute or for more information, contact the Chickasaw Foundation at (580) 421-9030 or by email at ChickasawFoundation@Chickasaw.net.