Who We Are
Stillwater CARES is a nonprofit community benefit organization that is dedicated to helping people who help people.
Stillwater CARES exists to assist other organizations to collectively address the prevention and alleviation of poverty in relational and responsible ways. We specialize in coordinating strategic community alliances and synchronizing best practices so that the maximum number of people can be served with the available community resources.
Why Caring Matters
Stillwater is the home of Red Dirt Music, the Stillwater Pioneers and the Oklahoma State Cowboys. Nearly everyone who lives here bleeds blue or orange and loves the community's quality of life.
Take a stroll through Downtown Stillwater and you’ll find everything from shopping, to fine dining, live music and a variety of museums. In addition to being recognized by Forbes Magazine as one of the fastest growing cities in America and selected by CNN Money as one of the Top 100 Best Places to Live, Movoto Real Estate ranked Stillwater as one of the 10 Happiest Small Towns in America.
While all of this is true, it’s not the full story of Stillwater. You wouldn’t know it, but Stillwater also has a well-kept secret.
2014 Government statics indicate that 30.1% of Stillwater residents live below the national poverty level. This rate is nearly double the state’s average of 14.7%. This disparity is what spawned the development of Stillwater CARES.
The history of Stillwater CARES is deeply rooted in caring. In 2008, a group of local pastors and other social service directors came together to address the continued growth of the under-resourced population in the Stillwater community. Knowing that it was essential to address this problem, and that resources were limited, this group believed that there had to be a more efficient way to meet and manage the ongoing issue of poverty.
Led by passion and perseverance, in 2010 an ad hoc committee conducted a feasibility study to assess the needs of social service providers within Stillwater. This study reflected unanimous support in the establishment of an organization that would assist in the coordination of best practices among social service providers and others in order to make the most of available resources. It was here that Stillwater CARES got its start. The organization quickly obtained IRS Tax Exempt status and began changing the way that caring was conducted in Stillwater.
Oklahoma is the first state to establish a statewide initiative to address the prevention and alleviation of poverty. Using Bridges Out of Poverty constructs, “Bridge the Gap” communities are springing up across Oklahoma.
Stillwater CARES, as the local hub for Bridges out of Poverty, facilitates the local Bridge the Gap - Stillwater initiative by overseeing three specific areas:
Bridges Out of Poverty: Getting Ahead | CharityTracker Assistance Network | Community Benefit Programs