Where have Kaiser’s Millions Been Going in Tulsa This Season?

Billionaire George Kaiser has always made the Tulsa community a priority with his foundation’s grantmaking. Historically, the George Kaiser Family Foundation has been a major proponent of early childhood education and urban parks. So how did local nonprofits fare in the funder’s most recent grant cycle?

Kaiser just committed $6.8 million to Tulsa-area nonprofits, which will be split among 66 groups. But this time, human services organizations came out on top. Here’s how the grants broke down this round:

  • $4.2 million to human services
  • $1.2 million to community health
  • $1.4 million to education programs

This latest round of grantmaking focused on the kinds of basic needs that often arise around the holiday season. Demand for human services needs has been up in Tulsa lately, with poverty rates still a serious issue. Typically, children in Tulsa are a big target of these funds, especially the birth-to-five demographic. So in that way, GKFF funding remains consistent and focused.

“The organizations funded in this process provide critical services to tens of thousands of children and families in Tulsa who are in need of the basics in life such as food, health care, shelter and education,” said Ken Levit, executive director of the George Kaiser Family Foundation. “We are pleased to support these organizations and are grateful for their tireless leadership in service to our community.”

Four nonprofits received grants of at least $250,000: Youth Services of Tulsa, Family & Children’s Services, the Community Council of Greater Tulsa, and Domestic Violence Intervention Services. However, the bulk of the grants were less than $150,000.

Kaiser’s main human services funding program is called “Social Services Safety Net.” Potential applicants are contacted directly by GKFF to apply for an end-of-year grant as part of the annual social services process. The funder looks for organizations that address needs of people living in poverty with direct service offerings and programs for underserved populations. Although the Tulsa area is the primary geographic focus area, GKFF also considers requests from elsewhere in Oklahoma and occasionally on a national scale to replicate its successful local efforts.

You can keep up with what the foundation staff and board are interested in by following the funder on Twitter and Facebook. General questions can be emailed to the staff at inquiries@gkff.org.