The Rhode Island Foundation honored three nonprofit organizations with its annual Best Practice Awards. The work that is being honored includes an initiative to support Latino-owned small businesses and a community gardening program that grew one ton of fresh produce for a local food pantry.
Sponsored by Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Rhode Island, the award program recognizes outstanding practices by Rhode Island nonprofit organizations in the area of collaboration, with an emphasis on diversity, equity and inclusion.
The three recipients will each receive $5,000 grants in recognition of their achievements.
The Norman Bird Sanctuary in Middletown was honored for its “Good Gardens Program,” which focuses on growing produce for the food pantry at Newport’s Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Community Center. In 2021, over a ton of fresh fruit and vegetables was donated. The initiative is a collaboration with the MLK Center and the URI Master Gardeners. It includes a summer program that introduces kids to gardening.
The Woonsocket Afterschool Coalition was honored for doubling the number of school children receiving services. The Riverzedge Arts Project is one of six nonprofit organizations that comprise the coalition.
The Coalition aims to increase the number of students receiving services by an additional 4,000 in the next three years. The other partners are the Boys and Girls Clubs of Northern R.I., the Community Care Alliance, Connecting for Children and Families, NeighborWorks Blackstone River Valley and the Woonsocket YMCA.
The Rhode Island Israel Collaborative in Providence was honored for its R.I. Latino Biz Web Design Project, which matched skilled local students with Latino-owned businesses in Rhode Island to create websites in order to keep up with the move to e-commerce during COVID-19.
In partnership with the R.I. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, 31 Latino-owned businesses were paired with students from Providence College and other local colleges to create websites using Israeli WIX, a cloud-based, web development platform located in Israel. The Israel General Consulate to the New England and other donors helped fund the project.