Healthy in Oklahoma: How One Community Funder is Making It Happen

Building a healthier Oklahoma has been a top priority for the Oklahoma City Community Foundation for over a year now, and it seems to be where the bulk of grants are going these days. The foundation recently announced 12 new grants to nonprofits in central Oklahoma and the largest grants were made as part of OCCF’s Wellness Initiative.

Related: Oklahoma City Community Foundation: Oklahoma Grants

Here’s what local nonprofits need to know about this local health initiative and how you can get in on the next grant cycle.

It’s All about the Kids

You know that saying about how hard it is to teach an old dog new tricks? Well, that’s the approach that OCCF is taking to fitness and obesity in central Oklahoma. Two of the largest wellness grants in the most recent grant cycle were made to child-focused programs teaching kids early about the benefits of nutrition and exercise.

OCCF awarded Rainbow Fleet Inc. $30,000 for resource materials and training for child care givers to implement a fitness program and the OK 5210 program in local child care facilities. The foundation also awarded $47,359 to the OU Health Sciences Center for a collaboration with the YMCA of Greater Oklahoma City to intervene in families with obese kids between six and 12 years old.

Support for Vulnerable Populations

However, not all of OCCF’s wellness funding is going to the under-12 demographic these days. The foundation awarded $34,125 to the Oklahoma Foundation for the Disabled to improve the health of developmentally disabled adults who are enrolled in day programs. And the Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma got $50,000 to provide better access to healthy food options and nutrition education for low-income residents.

It's up to self-sufficient adults in Oklahoma to figure out healthy lifestyle choices for themselves; however, kids and vulnerable populations are getting a steady boost of assistance. The ultimate goal is to get all Oklahomans to eat five or more fruits and vegetables, have two hours or less of recreational screen time, one hour of physical activity, and zero ounces of sugary drinks each day.

Other Child-Focused Funding

Local kids are a big concern for OCCF, so the foundation has another funding category to support the overall experience of being a kid in central Oklahoma. Here’s a snapshot of where else OCCF’s child-focused funding has been going lately.

  • $10,000 to the Oklahoma City Ballet for K-12 programs
  • $15,000 to the Oklahoma Children’s Theater
  • $10,000 to the Oklahoma City Museum of Art for a healing arts outreach program for kids
  • $30,000 to the Hearts for Hearing Foundation for summer camp
  • $30,000 to the Boy Scouts of America to expand local programs
  • $10,000 to Positive Tomorrows to tutor homeless children
  • $9,000 to Good Shepherd Catholic School at Mercy for programming for five-to-nine-year olds with autism

Application Process

OCCF uses an online application process, and nonprofits are encouraged to request an invitation to apply for a grant. Your first step is to email your organization’s information, a brief description of your project, and the target population to Sally Ray at s.ray@occf.org.

However, you would have had to get your email sent to Ms. Ray by April 10 to be considered for the upcoming October 15 deadline. But there’s always next grant cycle, right? Check the foundation’s Wellness Initiative page frequently for important future dates.

Just keep in mind that the funder prioritizes programs that engage people who are currently physically inactive and programs that develop new partnerships and collaborations among neighborhood groups, civic organizations, nonprofit agencies, corporate entities and other groups to bring the community together.