Rural Schools in 20 Oklahoma Counties Eligible for Classroom Enhancement Grants

Teachers at public schools in 20 rural Oklahoma counties are invited to apply for Classroom Enhancement Grants of up to $5,000 from the Carolyn Watson Rural Oklahoma Community Foundation.

The grant application is available for pre-K through 12th-grade classrooms and school libraries to support projects focusing on the arts and humanities, science or literacy. The deadline to request access to the application is Friday, Sept. 10. The actual applications are due by 5 p.m. Monday, Sept. 13.

Longtime Coalgate resident Carolyn Watson established the Rural Oklahoma Community Foundation as a permanent endowment fund at the Oklahoma City Community Foundation in 2010 to help improve the quality of life for rural Oklahoma residents. Soon after, the Classroom Enhancement Grants program was added to enhance rural Oklahoma classrooms and curriculums. Eligible public schools must be located within one of 20 designated counties and be classified as rural by the National Center for Education Statistics.

“Many of Oklahoma’s high school students come from rural communities and they are a vital part of Oklahoma’s future,” said Nancy Anthony, president of the Oklahoma City Community Foundation. “Thanks to Carolyn Watson’s knowledge of rural communities and where needs and opportunities existed, we are able to provide educational opportunities which can expand their horizons.”

To find out if your school district is eligible to apply for Classroom Enhancement Grants through the Carolyn Watson Rural Oklahoma Community Foundation and view grant guidelines, visit

Community Foundation Funds Music Education for Underserved Children

The Oklahoma City Foundation is awarding $244,000 in grants to support local nonprofit programs that create opportunities for underserved youth in our community. Among the grants is a $5,000 award to Canterbury Voices for a no-cost after-school music education outreach program for elementary students who live in the Capitol Hill residential area of south Oklahoma City.

“Recognizing that many Oklahoma City schools lack music programs, especially through the pandemic, this extracurricular program allows children a safe environment where they can learn music theory and techniques as well as important life skills,” said Pam Mowry, executive director of Canterbury Voices. “Studies show that students who participate in music education improve in other academic areas. With our model, Canterbury hopes to serve students who otherwise would not have the means to enroll in a tuition-based program.”

Known for their symphonic choral collaborations with premier performing arts organizations in Oklahoma City, Canterbury Voices expanded their youth program, Canterbury Youth Voices, in late 2020 to focus on minority outreach. Canterbury’s outreach site, Community Hope Center, and the program enrollment is maintained by the Boys & Girls Clubs of Oklahoma County, allowing Canterbury Voices to focus on music instruction.

The grants were provided through the Opportunities for Children iFund program, which since 2011, has focused its funding on opportunities for youth that otherwise would not be available.

“For the past decade, the Community Foundation’s iFund program has been an easy and effective way for our donors to support the needs of our community,” Oklahoma City Community Foundation President Nancy B. Anthony said. “We take great pride in the partnerships that we have formed over the years and are excited to support new and growing programs that are making a difference for our community.”

Opportunities for Children iFund grants were awarded to 14 central Oklahoma nonprofits that build school readiness, provide character development, support youth living in foster care and provide exposure to the arts.

The following organizations received an Opportunities for Children iFund grant in 2021:

  • Arts Council Oklahoma City: $10,000 for educational arts experiences supporting the cognitive, social and creative development of children attending the Boys and Girls Club.
  • Canterbury Youth Voices: $5,000 to support an after-school music education outreach program for elementary students in south Oklahoma City.
  • Citizens Caring for Children: $20,000 to provide foster children with basic necessities through the Citizens Caring for Children Resource Center.
  • City Care, Inc.: $30,000 to help teacher liaisons create individualized learning plans for Whiz Kids mentors and their mentees.
  • Girl Scouts Western Oklahoma: $25,000 to revitalize and expand troops in Oklahoma City Public Schools middle schools.
  • Last Frontier Council: $20,000 to expand their scouting outreach program in underserved metro-area elementary schools and neighborhoods.
  • Oklahoma Children’s Hospital: $15,000 to provide art, STEM and innovation experiences for children undergoing dialysis.
  • Oklahoma Children’s Theatre: $12,000 to implement an early literacy program for preschool students through stories and dramatic play.
  • Oklahoma City Ballet: $15,000 to support the BalletReach program bringing dance education to students with limited opportunities.
  • Oklahoma City Police Athletic League: $40,000 to support an athletics-based youth mentorship program for underserved, inner-city students.
  • Parent Promise: $10,000 to purchase books, developmental activity materials and educational toys for preschool-age children.
  • Riversport Foundation: $20,000 to provide low or no-cost outdoor recreational activities to underrepresented children in the Oklahoma City metro area.
  • Special Care, Inc.: $12,000 to provide the school with musical instruments and performance equipment for preschool-age children with and without disabilities.
  • Thick Descriptions: $10,000 to support a summer enrichment program focusing on science, technology, engineering, anthropology and math.