Community Grants

The Carolyn Watson Rural Oklahoma Community Foundation was established in 1995 to improve the quality of life in rural Oklahoma. A grant program was adopted by the Foundation’s Trustees to support projects and programs that provide opportunities for citizens to improve their communities in the areas of 1) Arts/Culture/History, 2) Libraries/Literacy, 3) Health & Safety and 4) Economic Development.

Grant Information Meeting (Zoom): Tuesday, January 10, 2023, 3:00 pm
(Register Here)
Grant application opens: Monday, December 19, 2022
Deadline to request application access:Friday, February 10, 2023, 5:00 pm
Grant application deadline:Friday, February 17, 2023, 5:00 pm

Areas of Interest

We seek to support projects and programs in the following focus areas:

  1. Arts/Culture/History
  2. Libraries/Literacy
  3. Health and Safety
  4. Economic Development

Preference will be given to projects/programs that:

  • Feature community partnerships, collaboration and buy-in
  • Encourage community participation and engagement
  • Benefit a broad range of individuals in the community

Examples of the types of projects/programs we seek to support are provided under each focus area below.

1. Arts/Culture/History

  • Projects that enhance or preserve a community’s culture, history and heritage. Examples include public exhibitions, educational programming and historic preservation planning.
  • Public art projects that enhance public spaces for community use and interaction.
  • Educational programming that increases public access to arts/culture/history.

2. Libraries/Literacy

  • Projects that seek to strengthen the role of rural libraries as a community resource and public knowledge center.
  • Programming designed to increase public access to libraries and other literary services for citizens. This can include increasing access for specific target groups such as citizens with disabilities or ESL students.
  • Projects designed to improve literacy skills including basic reading, writing, math, GED preparation, and workplace literacy.
  • Programs that promote early literacy and reading activities to families, parents and childcare providers.

3. Health & Safety

  • Programs that provide direct services to underserved and/or uninsured citizens in their local communities. Preference will be given to programs delivering services that are not covered by general health insurance, Medicare, or Medicaid.
  • Programs that improve the safety and security of community members.

4. Economic Development

  • Projects that contribute to a community’s economic growth and stability.
  • Projects that provide access to resources that can stimulate employment opportunities.

Grant Range

Up to $40,000

Geographic Focus

Charitable organizations and state or local government entities delivering programs/projects in communities with populations under 6,000 in the rural Oklahoma counties of ADAIR, ATOKA, Bryan, CADDo, Cherokee, Choctaw, Coal, Haskell, Johnston, kiowa, Latimer, McCurtain, McIntosh, Okfuskee and Pushmataha.


  • 501(c)(3) nonprofit organizations that serve the eligible Oklahoma counties listed above.
  • 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 eligible Oklahoma counties.
  • Grants will not be made to individuals or private foundations.

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.