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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.

Next grant deadline: Jan. 31, 2019

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 2016 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: To apply, please email Kelley Barnes to discuss eligibility of your project and to request access to the online application. Complete the online application form including uploading all attachments by 5 p.m., Jan. 31, 2019. Faxed or mailed applications are not accepted.

Recent Grants

In 2018, the trustees of the Carolyn Watson Rural Oklahoma Community Foundation awarded $124,900 in grants to 12 organizations for projects in rural Oklahoma communities.

Boys & Girls Club of Durant - $15,000 for the “Power Hour” after-school program providing homework assistance and tutoring through individual and small-group sessions.

Carnegie Public Library - $6,200 for new computers to assist library patrons with employment search, bill payments and online classes, increasing access to technology for citizens in Caddo County and the surrounding area.

Cartwright Memorial Library - $4,000 to update library resources including new books and shelving to improve library services for individuals in Pushmataha County.

Oklahoma Hall of Fame - $6,000 to expand the “Stories Across Our State” program that explores the children's book "Dust Storm" through reading and craft activities to additional rural public libraries in Atoka, Choctaw, Coal, Harmon, Haskell, Johnston, Latimer and Le Flore counties.

Southern Oklahoma Library System - $3,700 to bring literacy programming including book clubs and story times to libraries, Headstart facilities, schools and day care centers in Atoka and Johnston counties.

INTEGRIS Foundation - $10,000 to support the Hinton Men’s Health Initiative providing free, preventive health education programs including nutrition education, physical activity and health screenings through the INTEGRIS Family Medicine Clinic in Hinton, Oklahoma.

Mercy Health Foundation of Oklahoma - $10,000 to expand the Mercy Rural Safewatch program providing telemedicine specialty services to rural patients in Johnston County.

Oklahoma Dental Foundation - $15,000 to provide free dental care services, treatment and education through the MobileSmiles van to rural Oklahomans in need in Bryan, Coal, Haskell, Jackson, Latimer, Pushmataha, Sequoyah and Washita counties.

Stigler Health & Wellness Center, Inc. - $15,000 to provide free oral health services to uninsured patients in Haskell, Latimer, Le Flore and Sequoyah counties.

Cimarron Circuit Opera Company - $15,000 to bring a professional, age-appropriate opera production focusing on themes of friendship, bullying and self-esteem to rural schools in Cherokee, Le Flore and Sequoyah counties.

Lyric Theatre of Oklahoma - $10,000 to bring the Musical Interactive program, a professional musical production that entertains and educates students about historical events, to rural Oklahoma counties.

Oklahoma Children's Theatre - $15,000 to bring the theatrical production “Pecos Bill and the Ghost Stampede” to rural communities in Adair, Bryan, Cherokee, Choctaw, Coal, Haskell, Johnston, Latimer, Le Flore, McCurtain, Pushmataha and Sequoyah counties.