Kaiser Family Foundation announces more than $7.2 Million in Grants to Benefit Tulsa-area Nonprofit

Jan 8, 2013

Ken Levitt speaking on the TU campus
Credit KWGS News File Photo

George Kaiser Family Foundation today announced it will provide $7.2 million in grants to more than 100 Tulsa-area social service agencies, with 12 of the grants including matching challenges.

More than $4.3 million will support human service organizations, and approximately $1.4 million will support community health initiatives. In September 2012, nearly $1.5 million was granted to early childhood and education organizations.

“Organizations in Tulsa are working hard to help meet the needs of many Tulsans who struggle to obtain basic needs and other critical services,” said Ken Levit, executive director of GKFF. “The foundation is pleased to present these Social Services Safety Net 2012 year-end grants to assist organizations as they serve more individuals and families throughout our community.” 

Agencies receiving funding include Family & Children’s Services, Community Service Council of Greater Tulsa, Inc., Tulsa Community College Foundation, KIPP Tulsa, Community Food Bank of Eastern Oklahoma, Domestic Violence Intervention Services, Inc., Helping Women Recover, Mental Health Association in Tulsa and Metropolitan Tulsa Urban League.

GKFF worked with community partners and foundation colleagues across Tulsa over a period of several months to identify the most pressing social service needs in the region and to select agencies that are effectively positioned to deploy these funds for maximum impact.

The results of that review include grants to the following organizations and many others like them:

Family & Children’s Services (F&CS), a community mental health center in Tulsa, will receive a $518,600 grant. A portion of these funds will support a partnership with Morton Comprehensive Health Services (MCHS), to provide comprehensive health care services to uninsured patients with serious mental illness (SMI). This funding will achieve better health outcomes for SMI consumers, whose life expectancy is 25 years less than the general population, in large part due to unmanaged health conditions and lack of access to primary care.

“According to the Oklahoma Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services, mental disorders are the third leading cause of chronic disease, behind pulmonary conditions and hypertension, and are more prevalent than heart disease, diabetes, cancer and stroke,” said John M. Silva, CEO of MCHS. “MCHS, through this partnership with F&CS, can provide the primary health services so often ignored or unavailable to this population, especially for those who do not have access to health insurance.”

“The collaboration with GKFF and MCHS enables us to expand services for the SMI population,” said Gail Lapidus, CEO of F&CS. “We are looking forward to the opportunity to help our consumers improve their physical health and live longer.”

Morton, a federally qualified health center, will receive an additional $117,000 grant in support of treatment, primary care and prevention services for clients.

A grant of $275,000 will go to The Mental Health Association in Tulsa to continue working with young people who struggle with mental health related issues, including depression, substance abuse, bullying and various forms of self-destructive behavior and suicide.

“This recent gift from the foundation allows us to continue serving people living on our streets and in our shelters who are suffering with mental illness and substance abuse, providing them with affordable housing and employment opportunities as they work to reclaim their lives and dignity,” said Michael Brose, executive director for the Mental Health Association in Tulsa.

A $165,000 grant to The Parent Child Center of Tulsa will benefit their SafeCare® program to help parents dealing with family trauma, violence and other life challenges to participate in a home visiting program to develop effective parenting skills and learn how to keep their child and the home environment safe and healthy.

“GKFF has made a tremendous difference in increasing safe and nurturing homes for hundreds of infants and young children who are most vulnerable to the risk for abuse and neglect,” said Desiree Doherty, executive director at The Parent Child Center of Tulsa. “Without this grant, the program would not exist.”

Camp Fire USA Green Country Council offers inclusive youth development programs to 2,500 Tulsa-area boys and girls ages 3 to 18, and their families. They will receive a grant of $155,000 to enable the organization to provide weekly camp fire experiences to 25 Tulsa-area and Union schools that enable the boys and girls to play together, work together and appreciate their similarities and differences in a constructive and positive manner.

“The after-school camps allow for enrichment many children don’t otherwise have the opportunity to participate in,” said Bobbie Henderson, executive director of Camp Fire USA Green Country Council. “We provide field trips, some with a science, technology, engineering and mathematics emphasis, and outdoor experiences where kids learn about nature. Most important, these camps provide an opportunity to children from low-income households to get involved in scouting, allowing boys and girls to find their spark, find their voice and find out who they are.”

Youth Services of Tulsa will receive a $150,000 grant from GKFF in support of its Transitional Living Program. Youth Services of Tulsa is the largest youth services program in Oklahoma and provides innovative services to young people in need of emergency shelter, transitional housing, counseling and other prevention services. 

“We are delighted to receive this grant from GKFF that will specifically benefit our transitional living program,” said James Walker, executive director for Youth Services of Tulsa. “We work with young people who are homeless and living in impossible situations with their housing needs. The funds will help us continue to innovate and create a program that’s received national recognition.”

Legal Aid Services of Oklahoma, Inc. (LASO) will receive an $84,880 grant to provide a full-time seasoned attorney to work exclusively on location with Women in Recovery program candidates and supervise TU College of Law school interns. Both the LASO attorney and the TU law school interns will provide the essential legal advocacy to maximize the attainment of successful outcomes for the Women in Recovery candidates.

“We are very excited to be a partner with the TU College of Law to impact the Women in Recovery program,” said Michael Figgins, executive director of Legal Aid Services of Oklahoma, Inc. “Like most poor persons, legal obstacles in the form of civil laws and regulations often prevent a person from improving their lives. Without legal representation, these legal barriers to success are insurmountable.”