The Great Idea Challenge

Skyline illustration

Great Ideas for a Greater Community

What do rivers, NBA teams, bike trails and sidewalks, food banks, art museums, and booming downtown districts have in common? Together, they’ve helped push forward Oklahoma City’s unwavering rise to “it” city status. But each of these things – and hundreds more – exist today because years ago, there was a stirring of the relentless passion of a visionary. Someone whose imagination wouldn’t be confined to the expected; whose aspirations refused to settle for more of the same.

This is a call to the visionaries. The ones who see what can be and dare to imagine what doesn’t yet seem possible. The Great Idea Challenge is a celebration of the Oklahoma City Community Foundation’s 50th anniversary and the momentum caused by one of those visionaries – our founder, John E. Kirkpatrick – who had the courage to believe in Oklahoma City.

In 1969, John E. Kirkpatrick introduced a great idea to our community. At age 61, well into his career in the oil and gas industry, Mr. Kirkpatrick embarked on a journey to create a foundation for the community that would inspire others to give to charity. At the time, few of his colleagues had heard of a community foundation and even fewer understood it. But Mr. Kirkpatrick’s vision and commitment to his great idea persevered, and the Oklahoma City Community Foundation grew to be an enduring resource, connecting many generous donors with hard-working charitable organizations to create a greater community.

The Great Idea Challenge is designed to inspire and bring forward innovative ideas for projects, programs and activities that will impact our community throughout the next 50 years. The Oklahoma City Community Foundation will award grants of $150,000-$200,000 to support Great Ideas for a Greater Community: projects and programs that will connect resources, plant seeds, leverage assets or launch ventures that are new to Oklahoma City and central Oklahoma.

Find complete details on how to apply below:

Grant Application Guidelines and Information

► We are seeking projects with the following characteristics:


  • Innovative, bold ideas that provide meaningful impact and enhance the community.
  • Projects must be new to Oklahoma City and central Oklahoma.
  • Collaboration among organizations with different capacities
  • Applicant must demonstrate capacity to execute program. The Oklahoma City Community Foundation will not manage the project.
  • Projects that impact a significant population, include a wide-range of citizens and are not limited by organizational restrictions.
  • Programs should involve diverse groups in the community, be open and not restricted by residency or membership.
  • Funded projects may take place over one-two years and implementation should begin in 2019.
  • Opportunity for sustainability or continuation after the grant funds are expended.
  • Support from others: in-kind, organizational or financial.
  • Grants will not be awarded for capital campaigns or fundraising events.
  • Ideas submitted to the Oklahoma City Community Foundation’s Great Idea Challenge may be posted online or in another public platform for the general public to view.
► Who is eligible to apply?


  • 501(c)(3) nonprofit organizations serving central Oklahoma.
  • Nonexempt organizations with ideas for projects that qualify for the use of charitable dollars. For example, community groups, schools, local government agencies or state or city connected agencies may apply as long as the funding request is for programs for the public, located in central Oklahoma.
  • Individuals partnering with qualified organizations.
► Online Application Process
May 1, 2018 Deadline to request an invitation to submit letter of inquiry.
June 8, 2018 Letters of Inquiry due by 5 p.m.

Step 1: Request an invitation to submit letter of inquiry by May 1, 2018.
Email with the following information: 1) brief description of your project, 2) list of partner organizations and 3) target population.

Step 2: Complete the online Letter of Inquiry by June 8, 2018.
After completing step 1, you will receive a link and access code to complete the online letter of inquiry. The online form will ask for a project outline, capacity of the partner organizations, details about the target population and project budget.

July 9, 2018 Application Open
Sept. 21, 2018 Grant Applications due by 5 p.m.

Step 3: Invited applicants must complete full grant application by Sept. 21, 2018. The most promising applicants and viable projects will be invited to submit a full grant application online.

January 2019 Announcement of Grantees

Successful grantees will be notified by January 2019 and project implementation should begin in 2019.

► Questions & Clarifications
Please submit any questions or a need for clarification on any aspect of the application requirements to Replies will be provided in a timely manner during the workweek (not including any holidays). Questions will not be answered after the deadline.