2020 Finalists

El Sistema Oklahoma

“Getting Tuned Up for the Future”


El Sistema Oklahoma transforms students’ lives through music with instrument lessons, ensembles, theory, and composition. Our free, after-school program with Oklahoma City Public School students requires no musical experience or audition to join – and all 230 students are given an instrument.

Through additional experiences such as tutoring, community engagement and student leadership, our children report less anxiety, heightened confidence and more life opportunities.
Our request is three-fold. To continue empowering students, we need to equip students with high quality, updated composition software and an additional teacher position in our composition lab where thoughts and feelings translate into music. Not only do students showcase their talents in public performances but also premiere compositions at OCU and the OKC Philharmonic. We want to keep up with industry standards and students’ imaginations. Imagine a song composed just for IMPACT using these supports!

Our lone 15-passenger van cannot meet the demand of student’s schedules. We are requesting a second 15-passenger van to assist with an array of transportation issues.

Currently, our four graduating seniors ALL have college plans, with one first-generation college-bound senior awarded the Clara Luper Scholarship from OCU. Our upcoming 14 seniors – many of whom have never had a family member attend college – is uncovering a need for an additional part-time coordinator of support to ensure all students and families have access to and understand resources including OKCPS school choice, Oklahoma’s Promise, college plans, applications, and aide.

An IMPACT award would be a vital resource to help guarantee we continue tuning up students for their futures!

(During the pandemic, it has remained our goal to support students and fill homes with hope! While traditional programming has ended, our staff are regularly contacting students, supplying food to our neediest families, and ensuring students have program materials and activities/lessons through our private Facebook group.)

For more information visit our website at elsistemaok.org.

Good Shepherd Clinic

“CEREC Dental Crown Grinding/Milling Machine”


Good Shepherd Clinic provides free primary medical, dental, vision, and prescription medications for our low-income and uninsured community. Our goal is to provide better healthcare for a better life. We do not receive any insurance, state, or federal funding, fully relying on donations to provide life-saving healthcare to working people experiencing poverty.

Annually, we serve 2,300 patients with 8,000+ visits. Our staff and 550+ volunteers provide healthcare and lifestyle improvement programs, while doubling as a hands-on learning environment for students from partner universities.

We’re in the midst of one of the most profound crises of our lifetimes. We are remaining on the front lines to keep our neighbors stay healthy by providing urgent dental care, filling record numbers of prescription medications, telehealth and begun working with the Health Department to be a COVID-19 test site for the uninsured.

A synergistic relationship exists between mouth health and overall wellness. Gum disease is strongly linked to many illnesses. A crown repairs a damaged tooth, returns it to its natural shape, provides strength, and restores function and bite. We aren’t currently able to provide crowns and our hard-working patients cannot afford to pay over $1000 elsewhere and take off work for multiple appointments for a crown. So, they don’t fix the tooth, which leads to serious mouth problems.

This grant will purchase a crown-making machine to create a custom crown in ONE visit, for only $35! Also, saving us thousands of dollars for lab fees each year including digital impressions. It will touch the lives of over 300 patients annually. Even more will benefit as volunteer dentists/students flock to Good Shepherd to use this technology.

Saving the tooth restores the patient’s mouth health, improving nutrition, overall health, self-esteem, as well as impacting them for a lifetime in work, activities, socialization, and SMILES!

For more information visit our website at goodshepherdokc.org.

St. Luke’s United Methodist Church

“Meals on Wheels of Oklahoma City-Elder Eats”


The devastation of COVID-19 has brought senior needs to the forefront. As the virus escalates, seniors are shut-in, taking away their ability to interact and even make routine grocery store trips. Individuals are encouraged to avoid seeing physicians for routine care. Without access to socialization, preventative care and nutrition, seniors are at a greater risk for premature illness and death. The question becomes: How would you want your mom, dad or grandparents treated?

The demand for senior services is far outpacing our response. The Oklahoma Center for Nonprofits reports 263 member organizations are devoted to children and youth while only 22 focus on seniors.

Meals on Wheels Oklahoma City is eager to begin the pilot program, ElderEats to bring comfort to seniors and families through an in-person wellness visit five days per week, up to 21 weekly nutritious meals, and ongoing communication with family members. ElderEats won’t be a transaction, it will be a vehicle for love and hope.

This fee-based service will provide seniors with resources and a desire to pay for enhanced services, the opportunity to do so. Subscription fees from ElderEats will help sustain Meals on Wheels which provides a free weekday lunch for homebound seniors.

A $100,000 grant will purchase one Impact Oklahoma logoed multi-temperature delivery vehicle to serve both Meals on Wheels and ElderEats; this vehicle will function as a meal pick-up point for volunteer drivers throughout Oklahoma County. Funding will also allow us to build a comprehensive e-commerce site for easy ordering and a community engagement campaign to begin healthcare collaborations.

At the conclusion of the grant, we anticipate earned revenue from this program will allow Meals on Wheels to feed at least 1,000 free meals weekly to 200 homebound seniors who would otherwise go hungry.

For more information visit our website at endinghungerokc.org/eldereats.

Oklahoma City Community College Foundation

“Mentorship Program”


DeAndre was sleeping in a dumpster. Rosaria is a single mother caring for her mom and raising her son. Jordan is a former drug dealer. These are stories of many Oklahoma City Community College’s first generation students.

Students Connecting with Mentors for Success (SCMS) is a life-changing mentorship program that pairs struggling students with mentors. African American males had a high dropout rate and low GPA. After joining SCMS, their GPA went from 2.04 to 3.35! And 93% of SCMS students who graduated in May 2019 transferred to a four-year college!

This program now includes African American females, Hispanic and Native American students. With this grant, we can expand capacity to all first generation students, adding 200 students in two years, many of whom never dreamed a college degree was possible; and recruit their mentors.

Your grant will provide scholarships, speakers, meals with mentors, field trips to colleges, and visits to businesses. Computers will allow mentors and students to connect weekly to discuss class, grades, family, struggles and life. Students can complete homework assignments, and apply for scholarships, financial aid and college admission.

Since COVID-19 closed campus, the importance of having computer access becomes exponentially important for students to connect to mentors, professors and virtual classmates. Scholarships are critical as struggling students experience crippling financial hardship. This program will serve as a stabilizing force, a safe haven when life is uncertain, unstable and unpredictable.

This mentorship program will impact the lives of every first generation student as they graduate, advance their education, get jobs, become taxpayers, have families and invest in our community – and most importantly, they have a mentor who can help them along the way.

“Without this program, I don’t know where I would be – not in college, probably on the street. SCMS has saved my life.”

For more information visit our website at occc.edu/scms.

Camp Fire Heart of Oklahoma

“Camp DaKaNi Pond Renovation”


According to Oklahoma’s Teacher of the Year selection committee, neither salary nor funding was the biggest challenge facing teachers. It’s “their students’ adverse childhood experiences.” Oklahoma ranks highest nationally in adverse childhood experiences, resulting in poor student achievement, discipline issues, and lower graduation rates.

Youth are lonelier and more anxious than ever before. Suicide rates are soaring. Kids are hungry for real, authentic connections. One of our program directors relates her personal story of connection. Nicole and her sister grew up with gang violence. Nicole found Camp Fire. Her sister did not. Their life paths look very different. Nicole credits her success and resiliency to Camp Fire.

Nature is a powerful antidote to the anxiety created by the constant slog of technology. Our pond, central to the camp experience, is in disrepair. Fishing teaches youth patience and environmental stewardship. To ensure our pond is safe and maintained, it must be drained and the eroded islands removed, dug deeper and wider to improve the fish habitat, and relined with Bentonite to stop leaking and reduce erosion. A covered fishing dock, boathouse and launch would enhance program quality and safety.

Since 1929, Camp Fire has helped 5,000 children thrive every year through outdoor camps, field trips, after-school programs, and service-learning and teen clubs. We collaborate with many local nonprofits, including Positive Tomorrows, ReMerge, and Oklahoma Fosters.

A grant would not only improve our campers’ experiences, it would allow more funds diverted toward scholarships for under-served kids who need outdoor experiences the most.

For more information visit our website at campdakani.org.