George Kaiser Family Foundation: Oklahoma Grants

OVERVIEW: This funder supports a range of Tulsa and Oklahoma-focused causes in the areas of education, female incarceration, community health, civic enhancement, Tulsa beautification, and social services. Unsolicited proposals are not accepted.

FUNDING AREAS: Education, female incarceration, community health, civic enhancement, Tulsa beautification, social services safety net.

IP TAKE: Closely tied to issues in Tulsa, it’s not too hard to catch this funder’s attention if you’re local. The big opportunities are in early childhood education and local neighborhood projects.

PROFILE: Based in Tulsa, Oklahoma, the George Kaiser Family Foundation is a supporting organization of the Tulsa Community Foundation, which George Kaiser and a group of other local philanthropists founded in 1998. Kaiser’s family foundation is the community foundation’s largest donor and has helped it to become one of the largest community foundations in the country.

George Kaiser made his fortune through the Kaiser-Francis Oil Company and BOK Financial Corporation and has signed the Giving Pledge. He has been a long-time supporter of early childhood education, but much of his personal and foundation giving has centered on the Tulsa community and throughout Oklahoma. Kaiser’s local support has regularly extended to schools, arts organizations, community services, the Jewish community, and causes for children.

There are three main giving areas at GKFF: early learning, community health, and social services safety net. The early learning program is about expanding the availability of high-quality early childhood education for low-income kids in Tulsa County. Education funding also extends to K-12 schools. The community health program addresses physician shortages, health disparities and life expectancy throughout Oklahoma. Social services safety net is a broad program that sees grant distributions each year to health, education and human services organizations that serve people living in poverty in Tulsa.

In addition to these funding areas, GKFF also supports programs that break the cycle of intergenerational female incarceration and reduce the rate of incarceration in the state. According to the foundation, “Oklahoma incarcerates more women per capita than any other state in the nation – 136 per 100,000 – and during any given year, is double the U.S. average. The majority of these women are imprisoned for nonviolent or drug-related offenses.” Other funding efforts are directed to civil enhancement, neighborhood revitalization, Tulsa arts programs, and local beautification projects.

Unfortunately for grantseekers, GKFF does not accept unsolicited grant request, and potential applicants are contacted directly by the foundation to apply for an end-of-year grant.

General questions can be directed to the staff at 918-392-16112 or by email at inquiries@gkff.org. The staff is led by Executive Director Kenneth J. Levit and grant operations are managed by five senior program officers and four program officers.

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