United Way of Central Oklahoma Awards over $235,000 in WayFinder Innovation Grants
OKLAHOMA CITY – United Way of Central Oklahoma continues to support creative solutions to health and human services challenges by awarding $237,276.00 through its fifth annual WayFinder Innovation Grant program. The 2023 recipients are Calm Waters, NewView, Thick Descriptions and Healthy Minds Policy Initiative.
The winners were announced at United Way’s Campaign Kickoff Reception at the Oklahoma City Golf and Country Club earlier this month, and confirmed at the UWCO Board of Directors meeting on September 29, 2023.
“United Way is grateful for another year of progressive projects and new approaches to meet significant needs in our community,” said Debby Hampton, United Way of Central Oklahoma president and CEO. “The Wayfinder program continues to get better and better every year!”
Launched in 2019, United Way’s WayFinder Innovation Grant program encourages local nonprofits to develop new and innovative approaches to health and human services issues in central Oklahoma. Finalists were invited to pitch their ideas in a ‘Shark Tank’ approach to a panel of community leaders in August, who selected four projects for funding in 2023.
The Healthy Minds Initiative will receive $113,850.00 as startup funding for a multi-year initiative to strategically align Oklahoma City’s resources, services and funding with the growing mental health needs of its residents. The program will build a comprehensive, population-level strategy for tackling the city’s systemic behavioral health challenges.
Calm Waters will be given $40,000.00 to create a grief support group and education program for medical students and residents at the University Of Oklahoma College Of Medicine. This Program will consist of two branches: grief-sensitivity education and training for medical students, and grief support groups for medical residents.
NewView will receive $69,926.00 to develop a one-of-a-kind NewView Print House that will allow NewView Oklahoma to create tactile coloring books for all ages, educational materials, children’s books and other print materials designed specifically for Oklahoma’s low-vision and blind population.
Thick Descriptions, a science empowerment and cultural intelligence agency, will receive $13,500.00 to fund a special program called “Check Out a Human” to be used as a part of the steAm Learning Journey. This program will offer a camp to tweens and teens teaching them how to become preservers of Oklahoma history.
With the inclusion of this year’s grant recipients, United Way of Central Oklahoma has committed $1,119,270.00 to 17 different programs as part of the Wayfinder initiative. Previous recipients include Pivot, Inc., The Oklahoma City for Community and Justice Youth Leadership Forum for Community Transformation, Calm Waters, Goodwill Industries, NewView Oklahoma, youth & Family Services, Mental Health Association of Oklahoma, Urban League of Greater Oklahoma City, City Care, The Homeless Alliance, ReMerge, and YWCA of Greater Oklahoma City.
To learn more about United Way’s impact in central Oklahoma, visit www.unitedwayokc.org.