Arnall Family Foundation announces $1 million Transportation Innovation Grant
Foundation seeks to improve transportation for families with children in foster care
OKLAHOMA CITY – The Arnall Family Foundation (AFF), Oklahoma City Mayor David Holt and Millie Carpenter, the interim director of child welfare for the Oklahoma Department of Human Services on Aug. 9, announced a $1 million Innovation Grant focused on improving transportation for families in Oklahoma County who have children in the foster care system. According to the United Way of Central Oklahoma’s Social Service Needs Assessment, limitations regarding transportation is one of the three primary challenges faced by agencies serving vulnerable populations.
The AFF Transportation Innovation Grant offers up to $1 million total that may be spent over four years to the organization that demonstrates the most innovative pilot program for improving transportation challenges faced by parents in Oklahoma County who have had their children removed and are working toward reunification.
“We are thrilled the Arnall Family Foundation has taken on this issue because reliable transportation is a significant barrier for our families,” said Ed Lake, director of the Oklahoma Department of Human Services. “There are a number of expectations required of parents in order to reunify with their children. If they cannot get to services, court hearings or visitation with their children, it significantly reduces their chances of reunification which is the goal whenever safe.”
Eligible organizations must have an operating budget of at least $750,000, be current with all federal and state financial filings or reports and be willing and able to provide audited financial statements. An evaluation committee made up of AFF staff as well as independent nonprofit, child welfare and transportation experts will evaluate the responses and a winner will be announced in March 2019.
“A lack of reliable transportation in Oklahoma County continues to be a challenge and has devastating effects on our children and families,” said Sue Ann Arnall, founder and president of the AFF. “We are looking for creative, sustainable solutions that will have a direct impact on the target audience and eventually be replicated to serve other vulnerable populations.”
“The safety of our children is paramount, but at the same time, we believe there is a world where that safety can be maintained and families can be reunified,” said Mayor Holt. “That belief is the foundation of the system our society has created to resolve these issues. That system has some gaps, however. For example, our society has decided that sometimes the safety of the child requires that parents take some proactive steps. But even when parents are willing to do so, they often face transportation barriers. The Arnall Family Foundation wants to remove those barriers and I commend them for that. But if these challenges were easy to solve, we would have solved them already. The Foundation is willing to provide the capital to address this challenge, but we need innovative thinking as well, and that is what we are inviting and encouraging today.”
Organizations interested in applying may visit www.arnallfamilyfoundation.org/tig.