The Carolyn Watson Rural Oklahoma Community Foundation was established in 1995 to improve the quality of life in designated rural Oklahoma communities. A grant program was adopted by the Trustees to support programs and projects in designated communities to provide opportunities for citizens to improve themselves and their communities.
Next grant deadline: January 2020
Grants 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, Cherokee, Choctaw, Coal, Haskell, Johnston, Latimer, McCurtain, McIntosh, Okfuskee and Pushmataha.
- 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 that will positively impact the community in the areas of arts, culture, history, libraries and 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.
- 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.
- 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.
In 2019, the trustees of the Carolyn Watson Rural Oklahoma Community Foundation awarded $96,000 in grants to nine organizations for projects in rural Oklahoma.
Cartwright Memorial Library - $1,000 for a summer reading program serving Latimer and Pushmataha counties.
Great Plains Literacy Council - $10,000 to expand its literacy outreach project from Jackson County to Harmon County to provide comprehensive literacy services and tutoring to English Language Learners and residents.
Hobart Public Library - $3,000 to provide access to the Overdrive digital e-book program and services to library patrons in Hobart and Kiowa counties.
Opportunities Industrialization Center of OK County - $15,000 to expand its online Diploma Prep 24/7 and GED courses for residents in Caddo, Kiowa and Washita counties.
Southeastern Public Library System of Oklahoma - $12,000 to update library resources, services and summer programs for patrons in Coal County.
Epilepsy Foundation of Oklahoma - $10,000 to provide CDC-certified seizure first aid and safety training to 150 people in Jackson Country, including school personnel and police officers.
Oklahoma Dental Foundation - $15,000 for the Healthy Smiles dental care program serving Atoka, Bryan, Caddo, Choctaw, Coal, Harmon, Haskell, Jackson, Johnston, Latimer, Pushmataha, Tillman and Washita counties.
Oklahoma Children's Theatre - $15,000 to bring the "Page to Stage" theatrical education program and productions of "Sleeping Beauty" to various rural Oklahoma schools.
Oklahoma Shakespeare in the Park - $15,000 to bring the theatrical program "Short Shakespeare Tour to Rural Schools" to rural communities in Atoka, Bryan, Caddo, Cherokee, Haskell, Jackson, Kiowa, McCurtain and Washita counties.