Community Grants

Areas of Interest | Application Process | Recent Grants

The Carolyn Watson Rural Oklahoma Community Foundation was established in 1995 to improve the quality of life in designated rural communities in southern Oklahoma. A grant program was adopted by the Trustees to support programs and projects in designated communities that will improve the quality of life and provide opportunities for citizens to improve themselves and their communities.

Grants of will be awarded to qualified nonprofit organizations or entities of state and local government for appropriate projects that have the following characteristics:

  • Service provided in communities with a population of less than 6,000 (as of the 2010 U.S. Census) within one of the following counties: Adair, Atoka, Bryan, Caddo, Cherokee, Choctaw, Coal, Greer, Harmon, Haskell, Jackson, Johnston, Kiowa, Latimer, Le Flore, McCurtain, Pushmataha, Sequoyah, Tillman or Washita.
  • Please note that organizations located outside of the counties identified above will be considered for funding as long as services are provided within the eligible communities and/or counties.
  • The project should be new or a significant expansion of a current effort which will provide positive additional impact to the community in one of three areas of interest:  1) Arts/Culture/History, 2) Health or 3) Libraries/Literacy.
  • The project should benefit a broad range of individuals in the community and not be limited to a small group.
  • The project should have matching support from other resources in the community.
  • Grants of up to $10,000 will be considered to qualified nonprofit organizations or entities of state and local government for projects serving one of the identified eligible communities and/or counties.
  • Grants of up to $15,000 will be considered to qualified nonprofit organizations or entities of state and local government for projects serving multiple eligible communities and/or counties.

Areas of Interest
Below are examples of eligible projects in each of the three areas of interest:

  1. Arts/Culture/History
    • Programming that fosters interaction among community members, arts organizations and artists; or that activates existing cultural and community assets.
    • Public art that improves public spaces and enhances the community.
    • Artist residencies that provide artists with the opportunity to bring their creative skillsets to rural communities.
    • Festivals and performances that enhance the culture of a community.
    • Projects designed to enhance and preserve a community’s culture and heritage through public exhibitions, educational programming and historic preservation planning.
  2. Health
    • Programs designed to increase access to basic and preventive health care including mental health and dental services in rural communities.
    • Health promotion projects that positively influence healthy behavior and empower rural citizens to improve and better manage their health.
    • Preventive health education programs and screenings.
    • Wellness activities that promote the integration of healthy lifestyle choices, physical activity and good nutrition into daily routines of individuals living in rural areas.
  3. Libraries/Literacy
    • Activities that seek to strengthen the role of rural libraries as a community resource and public knowledge center.
    • Programming designed to improve access to libraries and other literacy services for rural citizens including underserved populations such as citizens with disabilities and non-English speaking learners.
    • Projects designed to improve literacy skills including basic reading, writing, math, GED preparation, health and workplace literacy.
    • Programs that promote early literacy and reading activities to families, parents and child care providers.

Lower priority will be given to requests for purchase of equipment unless it is related to a broader program that meets the grant criteria.

Application Process: Interested individuals should identify an appropriate nonprofit organization or local government agency to sponsor the project. The nonprofit organization should be an Internal Revenue Code section 501(c)(3) public charity with a board of directors and appropriate administrative functions. The activities funded by the grant should take place in the community and benefit citizens in the community.

The project should meet the guidelines and should fall into at least one of the three areas of interest described above. Proposals should include goals, specific activities, expected outcomes and a program budget including income and expenses. The board of directors of the sponsoring organization should approve the project.

To apply, please send an email to for access to the online application. Complete the online application form including all attachments. The deadline for applications is March 1, 2017. Faxed or mailed applications are not accepted.

Letters of support are not needed and contacts outside the grant process are not encouraged.

The Oklahoma City Community Foundation administers this grant program for the Trustees of the Carolyn Watson Rural Oklahoma Community Foundation. Please contact Erika Warren at 405/606-2920 or if you have any questions or need any additional information.

Recent Grants

In 2016, the trustees of the Carolyn Watson Rural Oklahoma Community Foundation awarded $105,700 in grants to 13 organizations for projects in rural Oklahoma communities.

25th Judicial Drug Court
$6,000 to support educational rehabilitative services and drug testing through the drug court program in Atoka and Coal counties.

Atoka County Library
$8,800 to develop an Early Literacy and Adult Literacy Outreach Program in Atoka County.

Cherokee Heritage Center
$8,500 for cultural outreach programming including Cherokee storytelling, hands-on art activities and other history and cultural lessons in Cherokee, Adair, Sequoyah, Haskell,
Le Flore and Latimer counties.

Children’s Hospital Foundation
$10,000 to expand the Early Access Autism Program providing autism awareness training and resources in McCurtain, Pushmataha and Choctaw counties.

Coal County Health Department
$3,000 to provide free dental care to residents of Coal County through visits of the Oklahoma Dental Foundation’s Mobile Dental Unit.

Eastern Oklahoma Donated Dental Services
$10,000 to provide free restorative dental services to low-income individuals, elderly and individuals with disabilities in Adair, Atoka, Coal, Choctaw, McCurtain, McIntosh, Muskogee, Okfuskee, Pittsburg and Pushmataha counties.

Great Plains Literacy Council
$10,000 to expand the Adult Literacy Program through free literacy and English tutoring and resources to adult learners and families in Harmon County.

HeartLine, Inc.
$2,500 to expand HeartLine’s HELP suicide prevention program to schools in Caddo County.

INTEGRIS Foundation
$10,000 for a telemedicine unit at Elkview General Hospital in Hobart (Kiowa County).

The Oklahoma Caring Foundation
$10,000 to provide free preventive dental care including fluoride varnish and oral health education to children through the mobile Caring Van in Caddo, Greer, Harmon, Jackson, Kiowa and Tillman counties.

Oklahoma Project Woman
$10,000 to provide free breast health care services to patients in Adair, Atoka, Bryan, Caddo, Cherokee, Choctaw, Coal, Greer, Haskell, Johnston, Latimer, LeFlore McCurtain, Pushmataha, Sequoyah and Tillman counties.

Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma
$10,000 to establish a new school-based food pantry for both secondary and adult students at Western Technology Career Center located in Burns Flat (Washita County).

Southeastern Oklahoma Family Services
$6,900 for mental health first aid training in Coal County.