Ch 9 - October 5, 2023 7:03 am


United Way of Central Oklahoma has awarded over $235,000 to organizations across the state to support solutions to health and human services challenges.

United Way donated a total of $237,276.00 through its fifth annual WayFinder Innovation Grant program to the four recipients: Calm Waters, NewView, Thick Descriptions and Healthy Minds Policy Initiative.

The winners were announced at United Way’s Campaign Kickoff Reception in October.

“United Way is grateful for another year of progressive projects and new approaches to meet significant needs in our community,” United Way of Central Oklahoma president and CEO Debby Hampton said. “The WayFinder program continues to get better and better every year.”

According to United Way, the WayFinder Innovation Grant program encourages local nonprofits to develop new and innovative approaches to health and human services issues.

Finalists for the grants were invited to pitch their ideas in a ‘Shark Tank’ style-approach to a panel of community leaders in August, who selected four projects for funding in 2023.

What will the winners do?

The Healthy Minds Initiative will receive $113,850 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. United Way said the program will build a comprehensive, population-level strategy for tackling Oklahoma City’s systemic behavioral health challenges.

Calm Waters was awarded $40,000 to create a grief support group and education program for medical students and residents at the University of Oklahoma College Of Medicine.

Calm Waters’ 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. to develop a print house to create tactile books and print materials designed for Oklahoma’s low-vision and blind population.

Finally, Thick Descriptions, a science empowerment and cultural intelligence agency, was awarded $13,500 to fund a program known as “Check Out a Human,” which will offer a camp to children teaching them how to become preservers of Oklahoma history.

In total, United Way said it has awarded $1,119,270.00 to 17 different programs as part of the WayFinder initiative.


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