OVERVIEW: The Oklahoma City Community Foundation manages over 1,600 donor funds and focuses much of its attention on parks and public spaces in central Oklahoma, as well as getting its people in the greater Oklahoma City area physical active and eating healthy.
FUNDING AREAS: Parks, public spaces, health, wellness, rural areas, people with developmental disabilities
IP TAKE: Nonprofit leaders in central Oklahoma should learn about each of OCCF’s grant funds because they each have different guidelines and deadlines.
PROFILE: Established in 1969, the Oklahoma City Community Foundation (OCCF) works with donors to create charitable funds that benefit central Oklahoma. Motivated by the passage of the National Tax Reform Act of 1969, oil businessman and philanthropist John E. Kirkpatrick and eight other community leaders founded the Oklahoma City Community Foundation. OCCF aims to “serve the charitable purposes of its donors and the charitable needs of the Oklahoma City area through the development and administration of endowment and other charitable funds with the goal of preserving capital and enhancing value.” Grantmaking areas of interest include parks, public spaces, health, wellness, rural areas, and people with developmental disabilities.
OCCF started working with the Oklahoma City Planning Department on a plan for the Oklahoma City parks system in 2012, and community parks continue to be a big part of the foundation’s giving strategy. The Parks & Public Space Initiative supports the development of existing parks and ways to make them more useful for health, recreation, and wellness activities. Launched in 2014, OCCF’s Wellness Initiative promotes physical activity, good nutrition, and healthy lifestyles in a general sense. Both children and adults are the focus of this grantmaking program. Like the parks initiative, OCCF’s accepts unsolicited wellness grant inquires as well. This initiative focuses on daily numbers to live by: (1) five or more fruits and vegetables, (2) two hours or fewer of screen time, (3) one hour of physical activity, and (4) zero sugar-sweetened beverages. In addition to these two top priorities, OCCF contributes to wellness in Oklahoma through the Margaret Annis Boys Trust, where funds go toward beautification projects in parks, schools, libraries and neighborhoods. The five Kirschner Trusts support charitable projects exclusively in the Muskogee, Oklahoma area. OCCF also manages the Donna Nigh Foundation funds, which was originally established as a private foundation to benefit developmentally disabled individuals.
Grants for both parks and wellness are up to $50,000. The foundation lists past grantees on its initiative pages to provide information about which organizations receives grant funds. Central Oklahoma and Oklahoma City are the geographic focuses of this funder. The foundation often gives to programs that get inactive groups of people moving, that make new connections with neighborhood groups, and that feature intergenerational or mentorship programs.
The Parks Initiative is open to unsolicited grant inquiries from nonprofits that provide direct services and have a governing board based in Oklahoma County. Neighborhood and community groups and churches connected to parks and public spaces and local government agencies or state and city-connected agencies may also apply for these grants. The foundation also accepts unsolicited grant inquiries for its wellness initiative. Direct general questions to the foundation staff at 405-235-5603 or via online contact form.
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