Oklahoma City Community Foundation Awards Nearly $90,000 to Improve Community Wellness

Teacher and student exercisingThe Oklahoma City Community Foundation’s Wellness Initiative recently awarded $89,700 to seven local charitable organizations that support community wellness in central Oklahoma.

Through the Wellness Initiative, the Oklahoma City Community Foundation works with charitable organizations to develop innovative community-based programs that motivate people to adopt a healthy lifestyle and make healthy choices simple, accessible and easy.

“Over the past decade, our community has banded together to address the chronic obesity that plagues our city and create a culture of health in central Oklahoma,” Oklahoma City Community Foundation President Nancy B. Anthony said. “Wellness is an ongoing effort of prevention rather than reaction, and many vulnerable populations do not have the same access to the education and programs that lay the groundwork for prevention.”

In June, the Oklahoma City-County Health Department released the 2017 Wellness Score revealing that the city’s focus on wellness is gaining ground, particularly in a decline of chronic diseases; unfortunately, these improvements are not true with all populations. The study showed poor and vulnerable populations in particular continue to need the greatest improvement.

“Serving adults with disabilities and additional needs, we see this population often is overlooked or avoided due to the perception that their needs will take too much money or too many adaptations, but this is simply not the case,” Among Friends Activity Center executive director Christina Chicoraske said. “Our health and wellness program provides nutrition and exercise classes in a supportive environment and has proven to help members become more active and confident in themselves and their wellness choices.”

The Oklahoma City Community Foundation awarded the following grants:

  • Among Friends of Norman – $11,200 to fund daily health and wellness classes for adults with disabilities and additional needs.
  • Healthy Schools Oklahoma – $20,000 to expand their early childhood SPARK program that provides sports, play and active recreation to pre-kindergarten students in 20 Oklahoma City metro-area elementary schools.
  • Infant Crisis Services – $12,500 for the Nutrition Education for Healthy Beginnings, Healthy Lifetimes – a monthly nutrition class for low-income parents and their children.
  • Metro Technology Centers – $10,000 to provide free MetroFit youth fitness and nutrition classes at Metro Tech Northeast Campus.
  • Metropolitan Better Living Center – $10,000 for health and wellness classes for seniors and caregivers in the northeast quadrant of Oklahoma City.
  • Opportunities Industrialization Center (OIC) of Oklahoma County – $14,000 for the Heads Over Meals Project, a health and wellness class for low-literacy adult learners and those who work with them.
  • ReMerge of Oklahoma County – $12,000 for biometric screening to supplement the ongoing health and wellness program tailored for high-risk women participating in the ReMerge diversion program.

Oklahoma City Community Foundation Trustees launched the Wellness Initiative in 2014 to create a culture of health in central Oklahoma. The Wellness Initiative has awarded nearly $720,000 for projects to improve physical activity, good nutrition and healthy lifestyle choices among central Oklahoma residents.