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.

Dates for the 2023 Grant Cycle will be announced soon!

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/or artists; or that activates existing cultural and/or historical community assets.
  • Public art and creative projects that allow for community member participation.
  • Artist residencies that provide educational programming to community citizens for the benefit of the broader community.
  • Festivals, events and performances that generate community participation.
  • 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.

Health & Safety

  • Programs designed to increase direct community access to basic and preventive health care, including mental health and dental services.
  • Projects that promote healthy behaviors and empower citizens to improve and better manage their health.
  • Preventive health education programs and screenings.

* Please note that requests for equipment and construction will be given lower priority unless integral to the project’s success.


Grants will be awarded to qualified nonprofit organizations or entities of state and local government for appropriate programs and projects that meet the following criteria:

  • Service is provided in communities with a population of less than 6,000 (as of the 2016 U.S. Census) within one of the following counties: AdairAtokaBryanCherokeeChoctawCoalHaskell, JohnstonLatimerMcCurtainMcIntoshOkfuskee and/or Pushmataha. (Note: Organizations located outside the designated counties will be considered for funding if services occur in one or more of these counties or communities within them.)
  • The project should be new or an expansion of a current effort that will positively impact the community in the areas of 1) Arts/Culture/History2) Libraries/Literacy or 3) Health & Safety.
  • The project should directly and/or indirectly benefit a broad range of individuals in the community.
  • The project should have matching support from other resources in the community.
  • Qualified nonprofit organizations or entities of state and local government implementing projects that serve one eligible community and/or county will be considered for grants of up to $10,000.
  • Qualified nonprofit organizations or entities of state and local government implementing projects that serve multiple eligible communities and/or counties will be considered for grants of up to $15,000.

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.