Kirschner Trusts

People who have benefitted from the Kirschner Trusts

A Family Legacy

Phil and Roberta Kirschner were generous philanthropists in the Muskogee area throughout their lives. They were particularly interested in supporting young people with disabilities, Muskogee nonprofits, and Jewish causes.

When Phil passed in 1985, five trusts were established to continue the Kirschners’ charitable work. Their daughter, Miriam Freedman, administered the trusts after the loss of Roberta in 1985. She transferred the Kirschner Trusts to the Oklahoma City Community Foundation in 2013. These trusts continue to award grants to organizations important to the family.

Application Process

Important Dates

  • Grant Application Opens: Tuesday, September 5, 2023
  • Letter of Intent (LOI) Deadline: 5 p.m. on Friday, October 20, 2023
  • Grant Application Deadline: 5 p.m. on Friday, October 27, 2023
  • Decision Notification Timeline: Early to mid-December 2023

Guidelines and Info

More information, including the grant guidelines, will be made available closer to the grant opening date.

Funding Categories

Jewish Education, Culture & Heritage

Funding Goal: To support Jewish organizations that provide the following:

  1. Educational programming specifically targeted to children and young adults (ages 0 – 24) of Jewish heritage
  2. Promote and/or preserve Jewish religion and cultural heritage
  3. provide essential social services to Jewish community members.

Educational & Vocational Opportunities for Children & Young Adults with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (I/DD)

Funding Goal: To support organizations that provide children and young adults with I/DD (ages 0 – 24) educational and vocational opportunities that contribute to long-term independence and self-sustainability.

Eastern Oklahoma Nonprofits

Funding Goal: To support organizations that are actively addressing social, economic, and educational needs within their communities. Strong preference will be given to Muskogee-area organizations.


    • 501(c)(3) nonprofit organizations that serve and are located in the state of Oklahoma.
    • Nonexempt organizations that qualify for the use of charitable dollars such as schools, local government agencies, or state/city-connected agencies may apply as long as the funding request is for public programs that take place in Oklahoma.
    • Grants will not be made to individuals or private foundations.

    Funding Limitations

    Funding for the following items is generally not supported:

    • Fundraising events/activities
    • Capital campaigns
    • Vehicle purchases
    • Retroactive projects


    If my organization received a Kirschner Trusts grant last year, am I eligible to apply again this year?

    Yes, you may apply if the following conditions have been met:

    • The funds from your previous grant have been fully expended
    • All follow-up evaluation reports have been submitted
    When will I be notified of a funding decision?

    All applicants will be notified of a decision following the annual Kirschner Trusts Trustee meeting that takes place in early December 2023.

    What is the timeline to implement my project/expend the awarded grant funds?

    You may start your activities shortly after you receive notification of your award being notified of your award (expected in early to mid-December 2023). If you would like to align your timeline with our funding cycle (outlined below), you will have approximately 11 months to finalize your project activities, utilize the awarded funds, and submit your final evaluation report. Please note that aligning your activities with our funding cycle is optional, but you will not be eligible for another grant until the conditions mentioned above are met.

    Kirschner Trusts 2023-24 Grant Cycle:

    • Early September 2023 – late October 2023: Application submissions
    • November 2023: Internal application review process (all current grantees who intend to reapply for funding must submit final evaluations to be eligible for renewed funding)
    • Early to mid-December 2023: Trustee meeting and grant award notifications
    • Mid-December 2023 – mid-November 2024: Project implementation
    Can I request funding for the same program or project that I previously received a grant for?
    Yes. Ongoing projects and programs are eligible for renewed funding.

    Recent Grants

    Eastern Oklahoma Nonprofits

    Compassion Outreach Center – $15,000 – To support free medical services for uninsured individuals through their Compassion Clinic.

    Eastern Oklahoma Library System, Muskogee Public Library – $4,000 – To provide lower-income families with books to build home libraries and encourage healthy habits in kids.

    Education Foundation of Muskogee – $1,000 – To support classroom teachers and their innovative curriculum projects that spark their students’ enthusiasm for learning.

    Home of Hope – $25,000 – To support a training model for high school students with intellectual disabilities to prepare them for competitive employment post-high school.

    Junior Achievement of Oklahoma – $10,000 – To support hands-on, project-based lessons for K-8th grade students that combine classroom learning with real-world experiences.

    Kelly B. Todd Cerebral Palsy & Neuro-Muscular Foundation – $25,000 – To support Neuro-Muscular Electrical Stimulation-related costs as part of their speech-language therapy for children with dysphagia.

    Muskogee Community Food Pantry – $15,000 – To provide emergency food packages to ensure people have a comprehensive supply of healthy food, pet food and essential items.

    Muskogee Community Band Association – $10,000 – To maintain instruments and support musical education for financially disadvantaged students.

    Muskogee County Child Advocacy Center – $20,000 – To support forensic interviewing and emergency support for youth as well as repair and refurbish a client resource room.

    Muskogee County EMS/COACHES TEAM – $2,000 – To provide vital child passenger safety services and fund a peer support program for medics.

    Muskogee Little Theater – $4,575 – To rent professional puppets for their production of “Little Shop of Horrors.”

    Muskogee Arts and Science Center – $3,000 – To purchase supplies for school field trips and Saturday activities.

    Neighbors Building Neighborhoods of Muskogee – $20,000 – To support the Dream Team’s after-school and summer learning programs that address the challenges of generational poverty and social isolation.

    Northeastern State University Foundation – $10,000 – To support the E. Phil Kirschner Memorial Scholarship at Northeaster State University.

    Oklahoma Foundation for the Education of Blind Children and Youth – $6,000 – To support scholarships for visually impaired students and grants for teachers of blind or visually impaired students.

    Town of Tullahassee – $20,000 – To help revitalize and enhance the town’s appeal to visitors through heritage markers and Civic Center improvements.

    Volunteers of America of Oklahoma – $5,000 – To engage Americans aged 55 and older in volunteer service in Cherokee, Muskogee, McIntosh and Sequoyah counties.

    Women In Safe Home – $10,000 – To provide refuge and supportive services to individuals affected by domestic violence, sexual assault and stalking, enabling them to leave abusive environments securely.

    Zoe Institute – $15,000 – To help launch the Work Ready Oklahoma Program in Cherokee County, which will help foster self-sufficiency among vulnerable Oklahomans.

    Educational & Vocational Opportunities for Children and Young Adults with Disabilities

    A New Leaf – $20,000 – To support Transition Academy, a two-year residential program for young adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities, focusing on equipping them for independent living and employment.

    NewView Oklahoma – $20,000 – To support a 90-day initiative providing low-vision and blind individuals with training to enhance their school attendance, career skills, workforce entry and overall livelihood.

    Not Your Average Joe – $25,000 – To help launch a new Not Your Average Joe location in Choctaw, support mentors and trainers and enhance training for neurodiverse and neurotypical staff.

    Oklahoma State University Foundation – $35,000 – To support new faculty and a scholarship for Opportunity Orange Scholars, an on-campus certificate program for students with intellectual disabilities.

    Paths to Independence – $25,000 – To support a new Cooking for Independence program that will include culinary arts classes and food handler permit preparation for individuals with autism spectrum disorders.

    Pathways Adult Learning Center – $20,000 – To support their Life Skills Cooking class and develop a curriculum that integrates academic subjects with life skills and experiential learning.

    South Central Industries – $20,000 – To help expand training and employment opportunities for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities with the opening of HaPEEPy’s Ice Cream Parlor in downtown Shawnee.

    Spiro Public School District – $15,000 – To support a practical living space equipped with kitchen and laundry appliances to teach students independent living skills.

    The Academy of Classical Christian Studies – $20,000 – To support the expansion of their Applied Behavior Analysis Therapy program for students aged 6-14, diagnosed with conditions such as Autism Spectrum Disorder and Down syndrome.

    The Arc of Oklahoma – $10,000 – To train volunteers as lay advocates, aiding K-12 students with disabilities in Tulsa Public Schools.

    The Little Light House – $15,000 – To support the year-round preschool program that helps students learn vital skills like walking, talking, eating, playing and living independently.

    University of Oklahoma Foundation with OU’s Sooner Works – $35,000 – To support their four-year program for students with intellectual or developmental disabilities seeking a college experience.

    University of Oklahoma Foundation with OU’s SPARK360° Program – $35,000 – To enhance the Spark360 program to better serve neurodiverse students, extend services and increase program visibility.


    Jewish Education, Culture & Heritage

    Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion – $3,600 – To support scholarships for rabbinical students.

    Institute of Southern Jewish Life – $10,000 – To preserve and enrich the history and ongoing experience of Southern Jewish life by ensuring access to meaningful Jewish experiences for all.

    JBI International – $6,000 – To provide free audio, large print and braille materials to individuals who cannot read standard print.

    Jewish Children’s Regional Service – $60,000 – To support college scholarships, grants for Jewish summer camps, special needs assistance and other vital outreach programs pivotal in building one’s Jewish identity.

    Memphis Jewish Home & Rehab – $10,000 – To support their Restorative Nursing/Care Gym with Certified Nursing Assistants who assist residents with exercise and physical therapies.

    Stillwater Museum Association – $7,799 – To create a new exhibit exploring the history of Jewish residents, including notable figures and businesses like Jake Katz and Katz’s Store.

    Tulsa Jewish Community Council Jewish Federation of Tulsa – $20,000 – To help preserve and promote Jewish Culture and history at the Sherwin Miller Museum of Jewish Art.

    How Can We Help You?

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    Leslie Woodward

    Community Programs Manager

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    Keaton Van Sickle

    Programs Associate