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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. 15, 2018

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: 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 e.warren@occf.org for access to the online application. Complete the online application form including all attachments. The deadline for applications is Jan. 15, 2018. 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 e.warren@occf.org if you have any questions or need any additional information.

Recent Grants

In 2017, the trustees of the Carolyn Watson Rural Oklahoma Community Foundation awarded $168,140 in grants to 16 organizations for projects in rural Oklahoma communities.

25th Judicial Drug Court
$6,140 to support drug testing through the purchase of drug-testing supplies that will encourage a drug-free life and accountability among participants in Coal County.

Cartwright Memorial Library
$3,000 to improve the technology center through the purchase of five new desktop computers, one copier/printer/scanner, print cartridges and computer software, increasing access to technology for those in Pushmataha County.

deadCenter Film
$10,000 to increase education on the art of film through seminars, interactive classes and activities encouraging collaboration, creativity and speaking for students in rural Oklahoma.

Great Plains Literacy Council
$15,000 to support a literacy program and increase understanding of the English language for adult learners in Jackson and Harmon counties.

Hobart Public Library
$1,500 to provide easier access to reading materials through an e-book program that allows electronic books, audiobooks and magazines to be accessed online by patrons in Kiowa County.

Mercy Health Foundation
$10,000 to provide electronic ER consultation, specialty consultations and remote in-patient coverage through the purchase of a telemedicine unit that will reduce wait times, urgent-care visits, health care costs, hospitalizations, home visits and the length of hospital stays and increase access to medical specialists and quality health outcomes for patients in Johnston County.

New View Oklahoma
$10,000 to support three low-vision clinics that will evaluate and assess vision, basic abilities, physical mobility and stability of patients in Jackson, Kiowa, Harmon, Tillman and Greer counties.

Oklahoma Hall of Fame
$7,500 to bring the Stories Across our State program to libraries in Greer, Kiowa, Tillman and Caddo counties. The program encourages learning using children’s books and a supportive craft activity for young readers.

Oklahoma Museums Association
$15,000 to provide an online educational cohort to support and provide learning opportunities for musems in rural Oklahoma.

Oklahoma Children’s Theatre
$15,000 to bring the musical production of Aladdin to schools in rural Oklahoma.

Oklahoma Dental Foundation
$15,000 to provide free dental care services including exams, cleanings, fillings, caps, root canals and extractions through a mobile dental van to rural Oklahomans in need.

Oklahoma Project Woman
$15,000 to provide free breast health care services to patients in rural Oklahoma.

Oklahoma Shakespeare in the Park
$15,000 to bring an abridged version of Shakespeare play to schools in Washita, Caddo and Kiowa counties.

Oklahoma State University Foundation
$10,000 to support an assessment of Hugo Medical Clinic that will increase efficiency, strengthen financial viability and enhance the experience for patients in Choctaw County.

Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma
$10,000 to increase sustainability and develop an implementation guide for the food pantry at the Western Technology Center in Washita County.

Southeastern Public Library System of Oklahoma – Coal County Public Library
$10,000 to enrich music and arts technology by providing educational programming in graphic design software, 3D printing, music production/recording and basic music classes for residents in Coal County.