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Community Action Project receives $22 million grant from George Kaiser Family Foundation to support State Pilot Program, Grant will support early childhood education programs and classes

George Kaiser Family Foundation executive director Ken Levit, Superintendent of Public Instruction Janet Barresi, parent John KayKay and his son of the same name, Tulsa Public Schools Superintendent Keith Ballard and Karen Kiely, Community Action Project chief operating officer. Photo Provided.

Special to the City Sentinel

Early childhood education programs in Oklahoma received a major boost in funding today thanks to a $22 million grant to Community Action Project (CAP) from George Kaiser Family Foundation (GKFF).

CAP’s vision is to break the cycle of intergenerational poverty by improving the prospects of long-term economic success for very young, low-income children, their families, and the communities in which they live. CAP serves more than 2,000 of Tulsa’s low-income children in 13 early childhood centers across the county.

State Superintendent of Public Instruction Janet Barresi was on-hand for the grant announcement at CAP’s Early Childhood Education Center at McClure in the Tulsa Public School district. She helped a student complete a mural of handprints representing the 68 additional students who the center will be able to serve as a result of the grant.

“Voluntary early childhood education programs can be an important part of efforts to help children develop the skills they need to become successful students,” said Barresi. “CAP is a provider of the kinds of high-quality early childhood education programs that Oklahoma is known for. I am proud to be here today to recognize the hard work that made this day possible.”

The grant will support a match for the overall State Pilot Program which CAP operates on behalf of the State Department of Education. In addition to the 1,692 children CAP serves through the program, the State Pilot Tulsa partners serve 631 children and statewide partners serve 285 children, for a total of 2,608 children.

Through the State Pilot Program, CAP and its partners provide a high-quality program which includes year-round programming and bachelor-degreed teachers who utilize evidence-based curriculum to ensure school readiness. Additionally, CAP provides wrap-around services for children and their families, including health and nutrition services, disabilities support and parenting skills training.

The grant also supports operational costs for four newly added classrooms at McClure Early Childhood Education Center, which serves 68 more children and will support six additional classrooms that will open next month at Disney Early Childhood Education Center and serve 102 new students. CAP will reach an additional 160 children at Union Public Schools’ Rosa Parks Early Childhood Education Center over the next few years.

“We are honored to receive this generous grant from George Kaiser Family Foundation, which will support the growth of our early childhood education programs,” said Steven Dow, executive director of CAP. “These funds will allow us to greatly increase the number of families and children served by our programs in the Tulsa community.”

GKFF has been a strong supporter of CAP’s early education initiatives, having contributed more than $92 million to the organization since 2004. The mission of CAP is consistent with the foundation’s goal of breaking the cycle of intergenerational poverty in Oklahoma.

“We know that the earliest years of a child’s life are critical to their future success. Investing in the first five years of a child’s life is the best investment we can make as a society,” said Ken Levit, executive director of George Kaiser Family Foundation. “We applaud CAP, an organization which delivers an extraordinarily high quality of service to our community’s most vulnerable young children and their parents.”

About George Kaiser Family Foundation

George Kaiser Family Foundation (GKFF) is a charitable organization dedicated to breaking the cycle of poverty through investments in early childhood education, community health, social services and civic enhancement. Based in Tulsa, Okla., GKFF works primarily on initiatives developed in collaboration with Tulsa-based direct service organizations. For more information about George Kaiser Family Foundation, visit

About Community Action Project

Community Action Project (CAP) of Tulsa County is the largest anti-poverty nonprofit in Oklahoma and a nationally recognized provider of research-based, high quality early childhood programs for low-income children from birth through age five. CAP combines early childhood education of the highest caliber with innovative family financial and health services and targeted community improvement efforts, with a strategic vision to break the cycle of intergenerational poverty by improving the prospects of long-term economic success for very young, low-income children, their families, and the communities in which they live. More information is available at

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