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TSET Awards $2.8 Million for Health-Promoting Projects in Oklahoma

Friday, May 06, 2022

For Immediate Release

For more information contact:
Thomas Larson
(405) 642-6860

New grants will target active living, nutrition, policy and built environment

OKLAHOMA CITY (May 5, 2022) – At their quarterly board meeting Thursday, the Tobacco Settlement Endowment Trust (TSET) Board of Directors approved $2.8 million in funding for projects that promote physical activity and healthier lifestyles, strengthen health polices and improve infrastructure.

“TSET is interested in new partnerships that support improved health across Oklahoma, and this funding opportunity sought innovative proposals from local stakeholders,” said Michelle Stephens, TSET Board of Directors chair. “These grants enable us to support projects that are core to TSET’s mission – from enhancing public spaces and infrastructure that encourage active living to innovative approaches that utilize technology to help curb obesity.”

The awards fall under a two-part funding opportunity, Innovations in Active Living and Healthy Eating Grants and Policy and Built Environment Grants, that support immediate, impactful programs to improve the health of Oklahomans. Specifically, the two-year grant opportunity looked for large-scale initiatives that would promote widespread change and help reduce risk factors for preventable death and disease in Oklahoma.

Under the Innovations in Active Living and Healthy Eating funding opportunity, Healthy Schools Oklahoma, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization led by Bethany Children’s Health Center, will receive $500,000 to help elementary schools in areas with higher-than-average obesity rates to develop a plan of action to address physical activity and nutrition.

Under the same category, the board also awarded up to $500,000 to Oklahoma State University-Oklahoma City to renovate the campus’ deteriorating asphalt walking track, install fitness equipment and launch Cowboy Fit, a series of wellness education events open to the public.

As part of the Policy and Built Environment category, the Botanic Garden at Oklahoma State University- Stillwater, will receive $700,000 over two years to build a Horticulture Education Center that will be used for workshops, camps, school field trips and other community programs promoting healthy lifestyles.

Horticulture can inspire healthy living by connecting people to the source of their food and increasing access to fresh fruits and vegetables. Gardening is also an excellent way to stay active. Programs will be developed for local audiences and then replicated across the state through the OSU Cooperative Extension Service, Train-the-Trainer workshops and the school’s PBS television show, Oklahoma Gardening.

The remaining $1.1 million in funding will go towards repairing and enhancing public infrastructure to create enticing, safe spaces for active living. Applicants in this category had to demonstrate that 1:1 matching dollars had been secured. These grants include:





Town of Westville



Expand park amenities and enhance downtown streetscape and walkability

City of McAlester



Build 1.25 miles of ADA accessible sidewalks to connect neighborhoods to city attractions

City of Pryor Creek



Improve safety and walkability of downtown with wayfinding signage, better drainage, improved ADA accessibility and safer crossing areas

City of Pauls Valley



Develop a master park plan to encourage active living with better access to safe outdoor areas

Northwestern Oklahoma State University



Improve exercise facilities, including repair tennis and basketball courts and install a pickleball court

Town of Locust Grove



Add playground equipment, a dog park, disc golf course and historical monument walk at the town park

“The projects and improvements being proposed are exciting, innovative and bring together local partners to tackle the complex issue of improving health behaviors in communities across the state,” said Julie Bisbee, TSET executive director. “These projects demonstrate thoughtful, long-term visions about how to equip communities with resources to help all Oklahomans make healthy choices.”

While this funding opportunity is closed, TSET recently announced a new, rolling grant program, TSET Discovery Grants, to continue building partnerships and momentum throughout Oklahoma. For more information, visit


The Oklahoma Tobacco Settlement Endowment Trust (TSET) serves as a partner and bridge builder for organizations working toward shaping a healthier future for all Oklahomans. TSET provides leadership at the intersections of health by working across the state, by cultivating innovative and life-changing research, and by working across public and private sectors to develop, support, implement and evaluate creative strategies to take advantage of emerging opportunities to improve the public's health. To learn more, visit TSET.OK.GOV.

Last Modified on May 06, 2022
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