United Way of Central Oklahoma Announces Fourth Year of WayFinder Innovation Grant Opportunity

United Way of Central Oklahoma invites local 501(c)(3) nonprofits to submit new and innovative approaches to address health and human service needs in central Oklahoma to the fourth annual WayFinder Innovation Grant opportunity. Successful grant recipients could receive up to $250,000 in one-time funding.

The proposed programs must be new and not yet exist in Oklahoma. Finalists will be invited to pitch their ideas in a ‘Shark Tank’ approach to a panel of community leaders. The panel will select the nonprofit(s) with the most promising and viable ideas to receive one-time funding from United Way of Central Oklahoma. To date, $650,000 has been awarded to 10 WayFinder programs.

2021 WayFinder Panel
WayFinder finalists are selected to present their ideas to a panel of esteemed community leaders.

“Innovation is at the heart of United Way’s mission, and we are constantly looking for new and inventive ways to support the needs of our community,” said United Way of Central Oklahoma President & CEO, Debby Hampton. “The 10 groundbreaking WayFinder programs that have launched since 2019 are already impacting hundreds of Oklahomans, and we are proud to continue providing an opportunity for local nonprofits to present the next round of life-changing ideas.”

The WayFinder Innovation Grant application process will begin on Thursday, July 14, with an informational meeting from 3-4 p.m. at the United Way of Central Oklahoma office (1444 NW 28th Street, Oklahoma City). Interested nonprofits should RSVP by emailing wayfinder@unitedwayokc.org by Tuesday, July 12.

In 2021, three nonprofits were awarded $240,294 to launch their new programs.

  • Goodwill Industries of Central Oklahoma’s Virtual Reality Forklift Operations Training is a technology-focused approach to job training that prepares clients for a high-demand field through virtual reality software design that teaches skills needed to operate forklifts. This non-traditional training format teaches technical, digital and soft skills to participants with different learning needs.
  • NewView Oklahoma’s Mobile Low Vision Clinic helps remove barriers to eye care by offering free exams to a variety of underserved populations and communities in central Oklahoma.
  • Youth & Family Services’ Intergenerational Living at Intrada creates structured, intentional opportunities for low-income seniors, other vulnerable adults and independent living program youth to connect and bond through shared activities at an affordable housing complex in El Reno.

For more information on the WayFinder Innovation Grant, including award criteria, please visit www.unitedwayokc.org/wayfindergrant or email wayfinder@unitedwayokc.org.