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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 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: Tuesday, Feb. 1, 2022 5pm
Deadline to request access to the application: Friday, Jan. 28, 2022 5pm
Carolyn Watson Community Grants Information meeting: Dec. 1 (zoom)

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.

Areas of Interest
Below are examples of eligible projects in each of the areas of interest:


  • 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.

Application Process: To receive access to the grant application, please email your organization name, address, brief project description and target population to info@ruraloklahoma.org.

Recent Grants

In 2021, the trustees of the Carolyn Watson Rural Oklahoma Community Foundation awarded $42,500 in grants to four organizations for projects in rural Oklahoma.

Hobart Public Library - $3,000 to add the Overdrive e-book service, allowing library goers free access to digital content.

Choctaw County Ambulance Authority - $15,000 to support Project Legacy, an initiative providing emergency medical services and CPR training in Choctaw, Pushmataha and McCurtain counties.

Checotah Public Schools - $9,500 to support Creative Expressions Throughout Small Town Checotah, a placemaking project where students and community stakeholders collaborate to paint murals at several sites.

Science Museum Oklahoma - $15,000 to support STEM experiences at the Checotah and Westville public libraries, providing engaging and hands-on science programming as well as professional development, turnkey activities and more.