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Community Grants

Areas of Interest | Application Process | Recent Grants

The Carolyn Watson Rural Oklahoma Community Foundation was established in 1995 to improve the quality of life in designated rural Oklahoma communities. A grant program was adopted by the Trustees to support programs and projects in designated communities to provide opportunities for citizens to improve themselves and their communities.

Next grant deadline: January 29, 2021 at 5 p.m.
Deadline to request access: January 22, 2021 at 5 p.m.

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

  • Service provided in communities with a population of less than 6,000 (as of the 2016 U.S. Census) within one of the following counties: Adair, Atoka, Bryan, Cherokee, Choctaw, Coal, Haskell, Johnston, Latimer, McCurtain, McIntosh, Okfuskee and Pushmataha.
  • Please note that organizations located outside of the counties identified above will be considered for funding as long as services are provided within the eligible communities and/or counties.
  • The project should be new or a significant expansion of a current effort that will positively impact the community in the areas of arts, culture, history, libraries and literacy.
  • The project should benefit a broad range of individuals in the community and not be limited to a small group.
  • The project should have matching support from other resources in the community.
  • Grants of up to $10,000 will be considered to qualified nonprofit organizations or entities of state and local government for projects serving one of the identified eligible communities and/or counties.
  • Grants of up to $15,000 will be considered to qualified nonprofit organizations or entities of state and local government for projects serving multiple eligible communities and/or counties.

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 artists; or that activates existing cultural and community assets.
  • Public art that improves public spaces and enhances the community.
  • Artist residencies that provide artists with the opportunity to bring their creative skillsets to rural communities.
  • Festivals and performances that enhance the culture of a community.
  • 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.

Lower priority will be given to requests for purchase of equipment unless it is related to a broader program that meets the grant criteria.

Application Process: To receive access to the grant application, please email your organization name, address, brief project description and target population to info@ruraloklahoma.org.

Recent Grants

In 2020, the trustees of the Carolyn Watson Rural Oklahoma Community Foundation awarded $46,862 in grants to five organizations for projects in rural Oklahoma.

Vision Eufaula - $10,000 to fund a three-dimensional art mural in downtown Eufaula depicting the rich heritage and culture of the Muscogee Creek Nation, adding educational opportunities and encouraging an interest in the arts for youth and adults.

Town of Clearview - $10,000 to fund a public art mural depicting the untold history of Clearview, one of 13 historic all-black towns in Oklahoma, enhancing, preserving and engaging the community in the town’s culture and heritage.

Stringtown Historical Foundation - $3,862 to display eight historical markers throughout the town, educating residents and visitors on the cultural history of Stringtown.

Southern Oklahoma Library System - $8,000 to update existing literacy programs as well as add digital resources and summer programming, keeping vulnerable students engaged and educated outside of normal school hours.

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.