Oklahoma City Residents, Pets to Benefit from $1 million Great Idea Challenge

Children playing with dogs
Pet owners living in underserved areas of Oklahoma City will benefit from assistance through a new program funded by the Oklahoma City Community Foundation’s Great Idea Challenge.

Oklahoma City residents can expect to see a number of new programs this year, designed to improve their way of life thanks to a $1 million investment from the Oklahoma City Community Foundation. Six nonprofit organizations will launch initiatives beginning in 2019 in areas ranging from the arts, small business and community health to animal welfare and employment for the homeless through funding from the Community Foundation’s Great Idea Challenge.

“The winning proposals will benefit a broad array of stakeholder groups with diverse services designed to enhance quality of life for central Oklahoma residents,” said Community Foundation Chairman Steve Agee. “We are very excited about the ideas selected for funding and the collaborative momentum generated by The Great Idea Challenge. These projects will further strengthen and enhance our community throughout the next 50 years.”

In celebration of its 50th anniversary, the Oklahoma City Community Foundation invited nonprofits, community organizations and even individuals and businesses collaborating with nonprofits to submit ideas that were new to Oklahoma City and would positively impact the community into the future. After reviewing nearly 100 ideas submitted through The Great Idea Challenge, the Community Foundation selected six transformative projects to fund with $1 million, plus awarded an additional $20,000 each to three runner-up projects.

“The Great Idea Challenge grant from the Oklahoma City Community Foundation will provide the funding needed to bring the national ‘Pets for Life’ community outreach program to the most vulnerable neighborhoods of Oklahoma City,” said Kim Schlittler, executive director of Best Friends of Pets, an Oklahoma City-based nonprofit working to reduce pet overpopulation.

“The ‘Pets for Life’ program is already producing positive results in many cities across the nation, providing resources for pet owners to help keep pets in their homes and out of animal shelters,” Schlittler said.

Other projects coming to Oklahoma City through funding from the Oklahoma City Community Foundation’s Great Idea Challenge include:

  • Great Art for a Great City – Allied Arts will build a digital platform showcasing nonprofit arts events through an online cultural calendar and hub for discounted tickets and programming, providing greater opportunities for everyone to experience the arts in central Oklahoma.
  • Pets for Life: Serving People and Pets – Best Friends of Pets will bring the ‘Pets for Life’ national community outreach model to Oklahoma City, connecting pet owners in underserved communities with free or low-cost veterinary care and pet wellness resources.
  • OKC HUB (Helping Urban Business) Thrive – Greater OKC Hispanic Chamber of Commerce will establish a business development, training and support program for women entrepreneurs from underrepresented groups, including Hispanics and other minorities.
  • Employment and Training Alliance of Central Oklahoma – Goodwill Industries of Central Oklahoma will create an alliance of central Oklahoma employment organizations, training providers and other partner agencies to provide seamless access and wrap-around services to help jobseekers navigate the available services to secure sustainable employment.
  • Curbside Chronicle Center for Social Enterprise – Homeless Alliance will launch a network of supportive employment enterprises, including a new flower shop and an incubation space for pilot employment and training models to create jobs for individuals who face significant barriers to employment such as homelessness.
  • INTEGRIS Mobile Wellness Clinic – INTEGRIS Foundation will establish a comprehensive mobile wellness clinic that will provide medical, prevention and educational services for Oklahoma County’s underserved communities with limited access to healthcare.

Learn more about the winning projects.