Nearly 1,000 people already want to take billionaire George Kaiser up on the offer to pay them $10,000 to spend a year in Tulsa, his charitable foundation said Wednesday, just a day after announcing the innovative recruiting effort.
Inquiries have come from all across the country and even from overseas, with the George Kaiser Family Foundation describing the response as “phenomenal.”
Only 20 to 25 people will receive the funding from GKFF, with the first batch coming early next year and others following over the course of several months, officials said. No local jobs are included in the deal, so participants need to already have jobs that will let them work remotely from Tulsa.
The money won’t come all at once, either. Participants will receive $2,500 for relocation expenses, followed by $500 monthly stipends and an additional $1,500 at the end of 12 months.
They’ll also have the option of living in new furnished apartments in the Tulsa Arts District with discounted rent and free utilities for the first three months.
On the downside, it will all count as taxable income. But the point is to convince people to give Tulsa a try, said Aaron Bolzle, program manager for Tulsa Remote.
“Success for us,” Bolzle said, “would be seeing the majority of participants become so entrenched in the community that they feel compelled to stay in Tulsa after the year is over.”
With so many applications already received at tulsaremote.com and more being filed almost constantly Wednesday, Bolzle and his team can afford to be selective in choosing the recipients. There’s no set schedule for choosing them, he said.
“We’re looking for people who will be excited to be part of the momentum that’s already here in Tulsa,” Bolzle said, “and who want to help the city keep building on that momentum. Because we think a lot of good things are happening in Tulsa.”
One of the 100 richest people in the United States, Kaiser gained a fortune from the oil and banking industries and has donated billions of dollars to charitable causes, mainly through his family foundation in Tulsa.