Tufts Health Plan Supports Organizations Responding to Inequities

Tufts Health Plan Foundation announced $170,000 in grants to 10 nonprofit organizations, part of the $1 million it committed to support community efforts addressing coronavirus in Massachusetts, Rhode Island, New Hampshire and Connecticut. In total, 49 organizations on the front lines of the pandemic have received funding.

“The resilience of our communities is inspiring,” said Tom Croswell, Tufts Health Plan president and CEO. “Nonprofits are grappling with a shifting landscape and uncertain timelines, yet they continue to respond to community needs and deliver vital services. We are proud to support such dedicated organizations.”

This funding goes to organizations working to improve access to food and respond to inequities in housing and services. It bolsters collaborative regional responses, particularly in communities reporting the highest rates of COVID-19 infection.  In Rhode Island, Federal Hill House and Progreso Latino received funding.

Bank Newport Responds to COVID-19 with Donations and Volunteerism

Earlier this year, before the onset of COVID-19, 35 employee volunteers from BankNewport and its sister agency, OceanPoint Insurance, participated in a meal-packaging project with the United Way of Rhode Island. In just two hours, the team packaged 12,000 meals for local food pantries, including FabNewport, the MLK Community Center, East Bay Community Action Program, and We Share Hope, a contribution that unknowingly would fill an immediate need.

As the pandemic grew, the Bank’s Community Fund Committee redirected its grant funds to extend immediate financial support with grants totaling $250,000 to the Rhode Island Foundation and United Way of Rhode Island COVID-19 Response Fund, and most recently a $100,000 grant to the Rhode Island Community Food Bank. In addition, more than $78,000 in sponsorship funds earmarked for nonprofit fundraising events were released to help meet their immediate needs. OceanPoint Insurance also contributed $2,500 to the COVID-19 Response Fund at the United Way during 401 Gives Day.

In addition to its ongoing community support, BankNewport has been working around the clock to fulfill loan requests for small businesses through the Paycheck Protection Program, as well as an emergency micro loan program in partnership with Rhode Island Commerce, the Rhode Island Hospitality Association, and the Local Initiatives Support Corporation.  Through these programs to date, BankNewport has awarded a total of $101.5 million in loans to approximately 1,200 small businesses in Rhode Island, including restaurants, retailers, and sole proprietors.  The Bank has also waived fees as part of its customer assistance program.

Tufts Health Plan Employee Groups Provide Grants for COVID-19 Response

Five New England community organizations received $10,000 grants to help address the COVID-19 pandemic from Tufts Health Plan Foundation through a program engaging Tufts Health Plan employees in grantmaking.

These grants were made through a program involving Tufts Health Plan’s five business resource groups (BRGs). Each BRG recommended an organization aligned with its affinity to receive a grant from the Foundation. The Foundation doubled the funding available for this year’s grants, recognizing community organizations need additional resources as they find new ways to deliver services and supports while addressing an increase in demand during the coronavirus pandemic. Prism, the LGBTQ and allies BRG selected Crossroads Rhode Island for a grant for their programming to secure stable homes for people who are experiencing homelessness or at-risk, including youth who identify as LGBTQ+.   More information

Blue Cross Makes $500,000 Investment in Housing

COVID-19 has highlighted the need for safe and affordable homes, as Rhode Islanders stay at home to slow the spread of the virus.  But for many residents, this basic need is out of reach or increasingly unstable, a finding reinforced by last year’s launch of the RI Life Index, a data source that focuses on the life factors that influence health and well-being.

In response, Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Rhode Island (BCBSRI) redirected the focus of its 2020 BlueAngel Community Health Grant program (BACHG) and awarded $500,000 to nine local organizations committed to improving access to affordable housing. This is in addition to $200,000 BCBSRI awarded to five housing-related agencies at the end of 2019.

The organizations receiving funding in 2020 are each finding creative ways to make healthy and affordable housing a reality for those most in need, as well as helping them to become self-sufficient, whether through building vocational skills, learning how to negotiate with a landlord and understand tenant rights, or, in the case of formerly incarcerated individuals, receiving case management assistance and reentry support.

“Based on the results of the RI Life Index, we were determined to take action on affordable and safe housing, one of the best-researched social determinants of health. We know that selective housing interventions can improve health outcomes and quality of life, which is our ultimate goal for Rhode Islanders,” said Kim Keck, BCBSRI president and CEO. “Lack of access to affordable and safe housing has been exacerbated by COVID-19, and we are grateful to the organizations who continue to work tirelessly to combat this issue. We look forward to collaborating with them in the days, weeks and months ahead.”

Grantees include Amos House, Child & Family, Foster Forward, Lucy’s Hearth, OpenDoors,  Providence Housing Authority, Rhode Island Legal Services, Sojourner House, Rhode Island Center for Justice.

More information

Latest Round of Funding from RI COVID-19 Response Fund Brings Total Grantmaking to $7.2 million

The Rhode Island COVID-19 Response Fund has now allocated a total of $7.2 million to 180 organizations, to provide emergency support for food, rent, utilities and medical expenses.

The sixth round of grants also provided protective gear for health care workers caring for patients at nearly a dozen nursing homes and medical facilities across the state.  The fund includes over $1 million in funding from GCRI member organizations, and is spearheaded by the Rhode Island Foundation and United Way of Rhode Island.

Full list of grantees

CVS Health Provides $1 Million to Support Mental Health for Frontline Workers

CVS Health announced its commitment to flattening the “second curve,” the less visible but escalating mental health crisis resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic. To help address America’s expanding mental and emotional wellbeing needs, the company is enhancing its nationwide mental health programming effort with new charitable investments focused on health care workers, essential workers and seniors.

Since March 1, CVS Health has seen a 200 percent increase in virtual mental health visits as compared to the same period last year, as well as substantial increases in calls for help with psychological distress including anxiety, grief and loss, and trauma. Health care workers are under extreme stress and anxiety fighting to save lives, while in many cases, isolating themselves after shifts to keep their own family safe. Self-isolation also affects older adults whose only social contacts are outside of their homes.

CVS Health will increase access to the following resources through targeted financial support:

  • Supporting Americares COVID-19 Mental Health and Psychosocial Support (MHPSS) Project with a $500,000 contribution from the Aetna Foundation to help frontline health care workers, particularly those who serve low-income populations, improve their mental health awareness, knowledge and resiliency, and understand the mental health concerns impacting their patients.
  • Expert crisis support for frontline health care and essential workers through Crisis Text Line via a $300,000 grant from the Aetna Foundation. For the Frontlines is a dedicated effort to provide 24/7 confidential direct mental health support for those on the frontlines, including health care workers dealing with the stress, anxiety, fear, depression and/or isolation associated with COVID-19. Health care and essential workers can text FRONTLINE to 741741 from anywhere in the U.S. to communicate with a trained volunteer crisis counselor at no cost.

CVS Health is also making Aetna’s Resources for Living (RFL) program available to everyone, which includes phone support, assistance for employers, support for basic needs, as well as educational resources.

Finally, CVS Health is offering increased support for its own employees through various resources that help build mental health resilience, cope with uncertainty, reduce stress and stay connected. These services will be delivered with 7 Cups, an online platform that connects people to a caring, emotionally supportive volunteer listener to prevent depression and anxiety.

More Information

RI COVID-19 Fund Awards $2.4 Million to Nonprofits Providing Services and Basic Needs

Dozens of nonprofits on the frontlines of responding to the COVID-19 crisis are getting $2.4 million in grants from a special fund created by the Rhode Island Foundation and United Way of Rhode Island, which has now awarded $3.6 million in grants, including the first round of grants made March 27.

Among the organizations receiving funding from the COVID-19 Response Fund are the Blackstone Valley Emergency Food Center, Clinica Esperanza, the Domestic Violence Resource Center of South County, the East Bay Community Action Program, Newport Mental Health and the Northern RI Food Pantry.

“As our state prepares for a coming surge in this crisis, these grants have the potential to save lives,” said United Way of Rhode Island President and CEO Cortney Nicolato. “I am grateful for every donor for their support, and equally thankful for the resilient nonprofit employees who step up every single day to take care of our families and neighbors.”

The grants ranged from $10,000 to $75,000. Many will help local nonprofits provide food, housing and health care to Rhode Islanders affected by the crisis. Additionally, funding was awarded for medical supplies as care providers face unprecedented challenges to maintain operations and deliver services to those most in need.

“There isn’t anyone in our community who hasn’t been touched by this crisis, and nonprofits are the boots on the ground for all of us. Seeing donors and service providers rise to this unprecedented and growing challenge is inspiring,” said Neil D. Steinberg, president and CEO of the Foundation.

Full list of grantees

Application Information

The Foundation and United Way established the COVID-19 Response Fund on March 17 and have combined to raise $5.8 million in contributions.

CharterCARE Foundation COVID-19 Fund Supports Local Nonprofits

The Chartercare Foundation’s COVID19 Response Fund has acted quickly to address needs of nonprofits in RI. To date, the Foundation has awarded nearly $100,000 to the following agencies:

· Meals on Wheels to address increasing food insecurities among elderly and shut-ins;

· Thundermist Health for a call center and outdoor triage unit serving 52,000 patients in 3 locations;

· Meeting Street School for stabilization for vulnerable families in the early intervention program through tele-health initiatives;

· RI Free Clinic for triage response for uninsured adults thru teleservice infrastructure;

· Comprehensive Community Action for a telehealth initiative at 4 sites

· Women’s Resource Center of Newport for remote clinical mental health support for victims of domestic violence.

In addition, the Foundation has partnered with Family Service of RI in broadening the scope of distribution of Be Safe Kits to disadvantaged families throughout Rhode Island.

The Foundation will continue to monitor community needs and may open a second round of funding. For details on this and other grant opportunities, please visit www.chartercarefoundation.org.

Champlin Foundation Gift Enables Rhode Island Nonprofit Hospitals to Increase COVID-19 Tests

The Champlin Foundation announced today a $1.6+ million, four-pronged philanthropic approach to support Rhode Island’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The commitment includes $600,000 that will allow four non-profit hospitals to acquire testing and diagnostic machines to dramatically increase the number of COVID-19 tests that can be taken and completed each day.

“No one has seen anything the likes of this public health crisis and the economic repercussions. While it’s created a good deal of uncertainty, it has also brought the community together even as we keep our social distance. The Champlin Foundation is taking unprecedented steps to support Rhode Island’s public health response and core members of our state’s nonprofit community,” said Champlin Foundation Executive Director Nina Stack. “The Foundation is making a $1.6 million commitment of new money and offering flexibility to ease restrictions on certain existing grants. Our grants are helping the state’s nonprofit hospital systems acquire the necessary testing equipment to increase COVID testing capacity as well as providing front-line and earned revenue-based nonprofits with capital liquidity during trying and uncertain economic times. Widespread events like this require a full community response and we’re proud to stand up with Rhode Islanders in every part of the state to do all we can to assist in this health and economic crisis.”

With Champlin’s support, Lifespan, Care New England and South County Health will be able to substantially increase the number of COVID-19 tests conducted each day, with the deployment of five new testing machines.  The support also allows Landmark Health in Woonsocket and Westerly Hospital to expand their laboratory equipment to more effectively determine non COVID-19 respiratory illnesses.  With faster testing and results it allows more efficient use of available resources.

“These are unpredictable times for everyone and especially for those on the frontline preparing for the inevitable surge of infected patients,” said Timothy J. Babineau, MD, President and CEO of Lifespan. “We’re all in this together, and the incredible generosity of The Champlin Foundation to equip Rhode Island Hospital with COVID-19 testing machines underscores their long history of support of our state’s vital health care system. Because of the foundation, we will soon have the ability to test three times as many patients in a single day. This gift will literally save lives in the days and weeks to come.”

“These machines are of vital importance in our fight against the COVID-19 pandemic. Thanks to the grant that The Champlin Foundation has stepped up to provide, Care New England will soon be able to more quickly turn around in-house testing, and for more patients right when it’s needed,” said James Fanale, MD, President and CEO of Care New England.

 The $600,000 gift to the state’s nonprofit hospitals is one part of a four-pronged, $1.6 million response that Champlin’s Distribution Committee approved this week. The other components include:

  • $1M Emergency Capital Liquidity Fund: Working with its longtime grantees, Champlin will conduct an RFP process to award grants to eligible agencies or organizations. Priority will be given to organizations that are directly responding to the COVID-19 crisis and those organizations that have experienced a substantial loss of earned revenue (i.e. childcare tuition, program fees, ticket sales, etc.). The RFP details are currently being drafted and will be distributed to eligible grantees in the coming weeks.
  • Easing of Restrictions on Open Grants: The fastest and simplest way Champlin can help existing grantees who have had to ramp up in service delivery or have been cut off from earned revenue is to release restrictions on their existing open grants. On a case-by-case basis, organizations will be considered for flexibility to repurpose capital funds awarded through Champlin’s past grant allocations. This flexibility could potentially free up millions of dollars of revenue for nonprofits and agencies across the state.
  • Extended Deadline for 2020 Capital Grant Applications: Earlier this year, The Champlin Foundation introduced an easy-to-use online grant application portal. The Foundation began accepting applications on March 1, 2020. Due to the COVID-19 crisis, the Foundation has decided to extend the application deadline from April 30, 2020 to May 31, 2020. This extended deadline will allow agencies and organizations to better assess their needs and priorities that may have been impacted by COVID-19.

The Foundation’s first ever grant was $50 to Rhode Island Hospital in 1933 to purchase eyeglasses for Rhode Islanders in need. Since then, The Champlin Foundation has awarded nearly $600 million to fund capital projects for Rhode Island non-profit organizations. These investments have fostered better medical care, improved education, expanded access to social services, conservation of open spaces, preservation of historic buildings, enrichment of the arts, advancement of animal welfare and more. Over the years, the Foundation has proactively responded to catastrophic events and crisis situations, including Rhode Island’s credit union collapse, the Station Nightclub Fire, and the fallout from the Great Recession.

RI COVID-19 Response Fund Awards $1.2 Million to Local Nonprofits

United Way of Rhode Island and the Rhode Island Foundation have announced the first round of funding for local nonprofit agencies at the forefront of COVID-19 response.

$1.2 million in grants will be distributed to 27 local agencies in the coming days.

Grantees will use the funding to provide direct service to Rhode Islanders impacted by COVID-19. Funds will go toward food, personal care products, and assistance with household expenses. Additionally, funding was awarded to health centers, community centers, and shelters as they face unprecedented challenges to maintaining operations and delivering services to those most in need.

Read the full list of grantees.

A joint grants review committee — composed of team members from United Way and the Foundation — are working together to review applications and make funding decisions in real-time.

“We are hearing from the nonprofit community every day about the disruption to services caused by this pandemic. Being able to quickly support them, and Rhode Islanders with their most basic needs, has the ability to not only provide comfort but also to save lives,” said United Way of Rhode Island president and CEO Cortney Nicolato.

“As this health crisis will continue for some time, I am grateful for every donor who has stepped up so far, for the donations to come, and to every nonprofit employee who continues to show up, every day, to take care of our families and neighbors.”

Together, United Way of Rhode Island and the Rhode Island Foundation established the COVID-19 Response Fund on March 17 and have raised more than $5.2 million in contributions.

“Throughout the entire state, nonprofit organizations are stepping up to assist neighbors in need during this unprecedented and uncertain time. It’s truly heartening to see the response,” said Neil D. Steinberg, president and CEO of the Foundation.

“We’re committed to getting this funding to where it is needed the most. Thanks to our generous donors, these grants will provide a safety net to support many Rhode Islanders. We also welcome more donations to the fund, so that we are able to continue meeting community need.”

Gifts to the fund can be made in any amount. Donations will be accepted as long as the need continues.