VIAN, Okla. — Cherokee Nation recently provided $250,000 to the Vian Community Foundation in Sequoyah County to help the organization install electricity, an HVAC system and plumbing to the community building.
Cherokee Nation Principal Chief Chuck Hoskin Jr., Deputy Chief Bryan Warner, Secretary of State Tina Glory Jordan, Community & Cultural Outreach Director Kevin Stretch and Tribal Councilor E.O. Smith met with Vian community leaders to present the check. The contribution is a portion of the $30 million Housing, Jobs and Sustainable Communities Act announced by Chief Hoskin and Deputy Chief Warner and passed by the Council of the Cherokee Nation in 2019.
“The Housing, Jobs and Sustainable Communities Act of 2019 continues to make a huge impact on Cherokee communities. Cherokee organizations like the Vian Community Foundation do amazing work all year addressing the needs of their community, but they need our support to continue their critical work,” Chief Hoskin said. “That’s why Deputy Chief Warner and I created this Act – to invest in our community buildings and make them functional as well as cost efficient. It’s an investment that will pay off in many ways not just in today, but in the longer term as well.”
The Housing, Jobs and Sustainable Communities Act set aside $30 million to help Cherokee citizens with housing repairs and to upgrade Cherokee community buildings with connectivity and sustainability projects such as solar power, HVAC systems and Wi-Fi connectivity.
“When we invest in our Cherokee community organizations, they take that investment and build even stronger communities,” said Deputy Chief Warner. “Whether it’s installing rooftop solar panels or adding energy saving systems, projects under the Housing, Jobs and Sustainable Communities Act will not only help organizations reduce overhead costs but will have a lasting impact on thousands of Cherokees who will see improved service from their community organizations.”
Funding for the project is distributed through the tribe’s Community & Cultural Outreach sustainability grant.
“We have been working on this building for years now, and we have been trying to figure out how we were going to finish it. Thankfully the Cherokee Nation stepped in and wanted to see it finished as much as we do,” Vian Community Foundation CEO Suzanne Sullivan said. “This funding will help us take a major step in the right direction to being able to complete the building, so we are just beyond grateful to have this support and partnership with the Cherokee Nation.”
Once complete, Sullivan said the community building will be a multipurpose facility for the community to use for athletic events, entertainment, community and family dinners, as well as a place to host Cherokee art and cooking classes.
Last year, the foundation transferred ownership of the building to the Cherokee Nation.
“This is something the community has wanted for years,” Councilor Smith said. “This organization has been working so hard to complete this building, and now with the help of Cherokee Nation we can finally see the light at the end of tunnel. We have some great plans for it, but the main thing is we are going to get something in it for the community.”