Want to be involved in VNN’s FATE series?

The best change comes from within.

Overcoming adverse experiences. Helping others do the same.

It is clear that Oklahomans are living with “above average” trauma. The state leads the nation in both incarceration and inequity. Margaret Black, VP of Clinical Services for Domestic Violence Intervention Services (DVIS) in Tulsa, says domestic violence is the highest rate it has been in 20 years. Tulsa specifically is home to some of our nation’s most heinous crimes: The Tulsa Race Massacre and those of the Allotment Era.

In 2022, Verified News Network (VNN) spent three months conducting research and talking with Oklahomans about poverty, domestic violence, and drug addiction.

Following the response and results of our inaugural learning series, FATE returned in Spring 2023 with a new theme: Trauma Informed Business Development.

FATE 2023

The 2023 FATE Trauma Informed Business Development Learning Series invited local community members and experts to engage in conversation about the hardships of balancing trauma with entrepreneurship, as well as possible solutions. The goal was self-care in action.

READ THE FULL STORY: FATE is success- and women want more

Special thanks to our community partners!

VNN spent three months surveying people nationwide about their trauma experiences, the hardships of balancing trauma with entrepreneurship, and what they view as possible solutions.

VNN also worked with local collaborators to produce reports on the effects of trauma on the brain and other trauma-related topics as part of this learning series.

Thank you to VNN Expert Alexie Foster for contributing these stories, and to Builders and Backers for funding them as part of VNN’s Idea Accelerator experiments.

VNN partnered with WREP to develop the “Trauma Informed Business Development Toolkit”


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Community Resources


  • Just The Beginning, Inc. HERE


  • Oklahoma Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services Treatment List HERE
  • Creek Health Behavioral Health and Substance Abuse Services (Muscogee Creek Citizens) HERE
  • CHESS Connections App (To help support individuals in recovery from substance use disorder and their loved ones) HERE


  • Domestic Violence Intervention Services HERE
  • Housing Assistance through Oklahoma Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services HERE
  • Social Services through Deep Fork Community Action HERE


  • Employment Services through Oklahoma Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services HERE



  • Free Skill Development through the Small Business Administration Learning Center HERE
  • BetaBlox in-person and digital offerings HERE


  • SCORE Free Business Mentoring and Education HERE
  • Build In Tulsa HERE
  • Hispanic Small Business Owners Association Entrepreneurship Academy HERE
  • ACT House Accelerator for Black and Latino led startups (6 months) HERE
  • Business Skill Development through the Tulsa Economic Development Corp. Small Business University (4-6 weeks) HERE
  • TEDC re(Build) Developers Academy for aspiring BIPOC developers (3 weeks) HERE
  • MORTAR Tulsa for Commercial/Retail business owners (15 weeks) HERE
  • Kitchen 66/Cocina 66 for food entrepreneurs HERE
  • 36 Degrees North coworking space and education HERE 
  • The Forge for high-growth start-ups HERE
  • Nest Collective for creative businesses HERE (9 weeks)


  • Green Country Technology Center Business and Entrepreneurial Services HERE
  • Mvskoke Fund Small Business and Entrepreneur Services (Citizens of federally recognized tribes only) HERE

FATE 2022

VNN held two in-person events exploring the path from adversity to entrepreneurship, the community benefits of taking that path, and the barriers that stand in the way. One was held in the Tulsa, Oklahoma, on June 18, 2022. The other was held in Okmulgee, Oklahoma, on July 16, 2022. Tulsa is Oklahoma’s second largest city. Okmulgee is considered a rural area.

During both events we heard from community members, as well as recovering addicts turned entrepreneurs. Topics included stigmas surrounding drug addiction, myths about entrepreneurship, and job creation for justice-involved men and women.


Tulsa FATE event highlights strengths and weaknesses of Oklahoma's entrepreneurship ecosystem


Okmulgee FATE event finds rural class systems stifling community, entrepreneurship growth

Learning from FATE is published as part of VNN’s “Community Voices” news series.

VNN partnered with Big If True to provide contextual reporting necessary to understand the roots of adversity within Oklahoma and American Indian reservations. 

Improved access to mental health care in Oklahoma could help reduce female incarceration

Castro-Huerta ruling continues a legacy of broken promises to Native American communities

How funding mental health services could reduce incarceration in Oklahoma

Rhonda Bear talks entrepreneurship and living with addiction

“There were so many times when there was 78 cents in the bank. There was no money. That was my profit for the month. 78 cents. And it was so hard. Oh, my goodness. Probably one of the hardest things I’ve ever done is to start it and keep it going. And not let fear take me down.”

2022 Survey Results

Thank you to our 2022 collaborators