Speaker Steele honored as five Shawneee non-profits presented Kaiser grants
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Published: 16-Oct-2012

The George Kaiser Family Foundation honored Oklahoma House Speaker Kris Steele and presented five community grants to nonprofits in Shawnee totaling $40,000 during an awards luncheon at Oklahoma Baptist University. Grants were awarded to Gateway to Prevention and Recovery, Project Safe, Youth and Family Resource Center, Inc., Shawnee Boys and Girls Club and Shawnee YMCA.

“We feel all of these organizations deserve to be recognized because ultimately they strive to better the community of Shawnee,” said Ken Levit, executive director of the foundation. “We are proud to present these grants to further each of the organizations’ causes and appreciate the recommendations from Speaker Kris Steele.

“Speaker Steele’s commitment to addressing issues that impact Oklahoma’s most vulnerable families and children is to be commended. His dedication to improving Oklahoma’s criminal justice system and his service to our state is unwavering.” 
Community leaders and several legislators attended the celebration to honor Steele, including state Reps. Ann Coody, Danny Morgan, Jason Nelson, Pat Ownbey and Harold Wright. 

“I am so honored to be recognized by great community leaders like the George Kaiser Family Foundation and my colleagues at the House,” Steele said. “I am thankful for what we have been able to accomplish thus far, and although my time as a state legislator will soon end, I hope we can continue our work together to improve Oklahoma communities and achieve a better future for our state.”

Gateway to Prevention and Recovery was awarded $10,000. The organization provides non-residential, outpatient behavioral health services for clients in need of substance abuse treatment. Gateway also has a large prevention and education program including a youth coalition that provides student community work opportunitiues and to conduct a supervised annual summer school program for about 70 kids.

Project Safe received $10,000 to support services for victims of domestic violence, sexual assault and stalking, and other emergency programs.

Youth and Family Resource Center, Inc. received a $10,000 grant. The organizations emergency youth shelter and outreach services include two school-based counselors, an “at-risk” program, supervised visitation for noncustodial parents (shelter kids and other), home studies for private adoption and a local CASA program on site. Shawnee Boys and Girls Club received $5,000 for recreational and academic support for 50-65 kids at summer and afterschool programs. The club serves ten area schools.

Shawnee YMCA was awarded a $5,000 grant to support health, wellness and recreational programs. The organization provides afterschool and summer programming for disadvantaged children. Shawnee YMCA also manages the Shawnee public pool and community center, which is predominantly used by children and families downtown. 

The George Kaiser Family Foundation 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 www.gkff.org

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