Tulsa’s Skyline Ridge Neighborhood Builds New ‘Front Porch’ with Help of H&R Block Make Every Block Better Community Grant

August 17, 2022 : H&R Block

For the third consecutive year, H&R Block and Nextdoor are partnering to Make Every Block Better in communities across the United States. The partnership brings to life community-nominated projects that improve the spaces and places where neighbors connect.

Carol Ainsworth, project nominator, smiling at the camera and wearing a green t-shirt
Carol Ainsworth – Project Nominator

“A thriving community is a group of neighbors that are able to work together and that have a place to gather,” shared Carol Ainsworth. This Skyline Ridge resident nurtured an idea for just such a place to replace an unwelcoming empty lot – a space that friend and neighborhood board member Fannie Moore had been trying to figure out how to transform for more than two years.

Carol and Fannie saw potential in the small grassy field near their neighborhood’s entrance to bring people together. They envisioned turning the lot into a central hub of activity and connection for Skyline Ridge. Carol imagined a new “front porch” to bridge generational divides with “activities for students and for elderly people.”

“We’re going to have our neighborhood association meetings here, a garden, and a small library,” Carol explained, “I want to honor the neighbors who have died living and loving this community…we plan to have a memorial for them added to the garden.” But the ambition had one major roadblock: funding. After some investigation, Carol learned about a community improvement program and collaboration between H&R Block and Nextdoor.

Hope Garden volunteer stains a wood fence

The Make Every Block Better initiative invites community changemakers to submit local projects for grant funding and volunteer support. Carol eagerly submitted her plan to connect neighbors and uplift the Skyline Ridge community. After a vigorous review process, Carol was notified that her idea was one of just 11 projects across the country selected for inclusion in the 2022 cohort.

The funds empowered the project to hire a professional to pour cement for seating, purchase a picnic table, benches, bike racks, paint and fencing, and source fruit trees, flowers, soil, and mulch. In addition to financial support, Skyline Ridge residents and H&R Block volunteers came together to execute the project. They worked side by side to stain the fence, create a chalkboard drawing area for young artists, and beautify the space with trees, flowers, and fresh mulch.

Two volunteers plant flowers in a metal raised garden bed

On Saturday, June 11, 2022, a passionate group of volunteers gathered to put the project into motion, despite the scorching Tulsa summer heat. Carol watched as her neighborhood’s shared dream became a reality: The Skyline Ridge Hope Garden. Carol reflected on what the H&R Block and Nextdoor grant helped make possible, “The Hope Garden is building the sense of community and the ‘front porch’ of the neighborhood we wanted.”

Looking over the transformed space, Priscilla Brown, neighborhood association President, said “I never would have thought the neighborhood would take such a small parcel of land and try to make it worthwhile. I am impressed, I really am.” The H&R Block team is excited to watch the Hope Garden and the residents of Skyline Ridge grow together. Carol concluded, “This has been a rewarding experience – we have big plans for our neighborhood ‘front porch.’”

Hope Garden volunteers and residents gather for a group picture

The green H&R Block square with dark grey "H&R Block" text to the right

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