Rhode Island State Council on the Arts (RISCA) Awards Second Round of Grants

Rhode Island schools, organizations, community centers, and artists were awarded $827,782 in the April 2019 round of grants from RISCA. The Arts Council’s board approved the awarding of these grants at its June meeting in Providence. These grants will go to support arts in education, community-based projects by organizations and individual artist fellowships and projects for this fiscal year. Statewide, 146 grants were awarded in response to applications received at RISCA’s April 1 deadline.

Governor Gina Raimondo applauded the recipients of these grants, saying, “I’m thrilled to support these grants awarded by the State Arts Council. The arts are a significant part of our economy—they represent jobs for artists and non-artists alike, and are part of the reason why Rhode Island is a destination for cultural tourism. The State’s investment in the arts contributes to the quality of life we enjoy and the education of all Rhode Islanders. I’m proud to live in a state that values the arts in our everyday lives.”

“We’re particularly pleased with this round of grant awards,” said Randall Rosenbaum, Executive Director of the RISCA. “Programs in arts education and projects that support the work of artists in communities throughout our state contribute to our great quality of life here in Rhode Island.”

RISCA funds are matched by businesses, individuals, and earned income. The Council receives its support through an annual appropriation from the Rhode Island General Assembly and from the National Endowment for the Arts, a federal agency.

Examples of projects supported in the current round of grants include: The PACE Org of RI in Woonsocket received $2,500 to complete a mural project with Riverzedge Arts to be painted on a concrete wall that is visible from the day center windows of PACE’s northern Rhode Island location. This project includes planning sessions where the youth of Riverzedge Arts and the elders at PACE work together to create a design that would later be painted.

School One in Providence received $3,000 to offer an Intergenerational Arts Program. The program brings together high school students and adults aged 65 and over to explore their creativity, learn theater skills, develop their powers of expression, and forge relationships across the generations. Unique to RI, the Intergenerational Arts Program uses theater to foster authentic collaboration and learning.

In partnership with Central Falls School District’s “Expanded Learning Communities,” artist Benjamin Lundberg Torres Sánchez from Providence received $1,880 to offer summer-long Media Literacy & Media Production workshops to high school or middle school aged young people that will resource them with grounding in media analysis & provide practical skill-building in production using readily available tools such as the students’ phones.

Artist Alfonso Acevedo from Central Falls received $2,500 to continue his Millennium Art Factory Central Falls project, working with youth ages 6-20 providing free art workshop for students of all levels of experience to hone their art skills. The work the participants create is then exhibited around Central Falls and Pawtucket in local businesses and government buildings.

Artist Mishki Fern Thompson, Narragansett, from Charlestown will lead 10 free beading workshops around Washington County, RI. These workshops will introduce the public to Native American culture and Native traditions of beading arts, as well as how to create their own pieces of art. Half of the workshops are for youth ages 10-15, and half are for teens and adults ages 16 and up.

Oasis International in Providence received $2,250 in support of their 26th African Summer Bash. The Bash celebrates the cultural richness of African and other diverse ethnic groups in Southwest Providence – including the Cape Verdean community – through music, dance, food, and the arts. The Bash is a free, all-day festival with games and live entertainment for all ages.

The Autism Project in Johnston received $3,000 in support of “In Harmony”, a program in partnership with the Rhode Island Philharmonic Music School that provides music and social skills education to children with an Autism Spectrum Disorder. The program includes a school year of weekly music education for 15-20 youth, ending with a public performance; and summer camp for 115 campers with music activities.

For a complete list of grant recipients go to https://risca.online/grants/grant-recipients-fy20-spring-cycle/

LISC RI Celebrates New Neighborhood Health Station

GCRI member LISC RI celebrated the grand opening and ribbon cutting for the new Neighborhood Health Station in Central Falls with members of the Rhode Island Congressional Delegation, project visionaries and leaders, funders, staff and residents. GCRI members Rhode Island Foundation and The Champlin Foundation were also significant partners in the development of the comprehensive new health facility.

LISC Rhode Island provided an investment of $12.2 million for the $15 million project which included an investment of $4.2 million in New Markets Tax Credits through the New Markets Support Company (NMSC), a Chicago-based, wholly-owned subsidiary of LISC and a syndicator of federal New Markets Tax Credits. These credits were part of an $85 million allocation to LISC from the U.S. Treasury Department that are used for transformational community development projects across the LISC footprint. The tax credit equity was combined with low interest loans from LISC and Morgan Stanley through LISC’s Healthy Futures FQHC Financing Fund II, an innovative loan fund to support Federally Qualified Health Centers that provide services designed to address social determinants of health. LISC also provided a pre-development grant of $50,000. At the end of the NMTC compliance period, the Blackstone Valley Neighborhood Health Station will retain nearly $3 million in equity as a result of LISC’s investment.

“LISC heard of the concept through our work leading the Pawtucket and Central Falls Health Equity Zone,” said Jeanne Cola, Executive Director of LISC Rhode Island. “Dr. Fine and Ray Lavoie wanted to change the way that residents thought about their health, and how they accessed health care. It was a new model and targeted one of Rhode Island’s most underserved communities. That kind of mission-driven project deserved our full support.”

Dr. Michael Fine, a member of the LISC PCF HEZ collaborative and the former director of the state health department, brought a particularly ambitious vision to the table. Together with Ray Lavoie, Executive Director of Blackstone Valley Community Health Care (BVCHC), and other members of its Leadership Team, they proposed creating a centralized facility that could provide residents with everything they might need to get and stay healthy, outside of the traditional healthcare system—and all within walking distance of their homes.

“It’s a new concept. It is Dr. Michael Fine’s vision of a Neighborhood Health Station, where 90 percent of the folks in the community can get 90 percent of their health care needs met. And, that is something new,” said Ray Lavoie, executive director of Blackstone Valley Community Health Care, at the Neighborhood Health Station in Central Falls. “It will also sidestep the current structure, where everyone’s medical records are in different doctor’s offices and it is all silo-ed. This is a big step in the right direction.”

The team envisioned a Health Station that would provide comprehensive care, education and recreational opportunities for residents of Central Falls. The new facility will provide family doctors, pediatricians, emergency medicine specialists, nurses, obstetricians, midwives, social workers, behavioral health, dental, physical and occupational therapists, recovery coaches, health coaches, community health workers, translators, and educational programs. The facility provides a dedicated team for taking care of the residents of Central Falls with the goal of making it the healthiest community in Rhode Island.

The goal demands a new way of thinking about health care. Currently, the community is one of Rhode Island’s most underinvested and a third of the residents live in poverty, 27 percent have no health insurance, and per capita income is just more than $14,000. Latinos in this community face particularly high barriers that directly impact health, including poverty, high unemployment, lack of access to educational opportunities, and linguistic and cultural challenges.

“The health station will be a transformational project for this community,” said Cola. “LISC has invested extensively in affordable housing, workforce development, public safety, and childcare and early learning facilities in the Pawtucket and Central Falls communities. And for the past five years, we’ve also worked to improve the social determinants of health for residents. We’re proud to get behind this initiative in such a comprehensive way.”

The Health Station will be a hub for classes in nutrition, diabetes prevention, and financial literacy, as well as recreational opportunities, in addition to providing access to services. More culturally competent and readily-available doctors, dentists, and behavioral health specialists were seen as a critical component to improving the overall health of community members.

The Health Station goal to enroll 90 percent of residents in programs will empower an entire community to strive for optimal health and wellbeing. The facility will create more than 80 permanent full-time jobs, and change the health of thousands.

Collette Celebrates Founders Day with Volunteerism

GCRI member Collette celebrated its Founders Day with a wide variety of volunteer initiatives across Rhode Island. Over 220 employees spent over 450 hours volunteering in projects such as sorting and packing new shoes for foster children with Gotta Have Sole, making literacy kits with United Way, sorting books at Books Are Wings, and serving dinner at the Pawtucket Soup Kitchen. Employees also participated in a shoreline cleanup with Save the Bay, packed 30,000 meals with the Outreach Project to be distributed to Pawtucket schoolchildren and their families, created superhero boxes with Together We Rise for local foster children, and assembled welcome home kits at Crossroads with donations collected by Collette employees.

For a better sense of all the activities, check out the video!

Blue Cross Makes $10,000 Grant to RI Community Food Bank

Providence Business News — The Rhode Island Community Food Bank received multiple donations from Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Rhode Island as the nonprofit launched its 2019 Summer Food Drive on June 25.

The food bank said it received $10,000 from Blue Cross, which it will use to purchase and distribute food this summer. Additionally, Blue Cross collected more than 6,200 food items – weighing more than 3,600 pounds – during the company’s Summer Snackdown initiative.

Read the full article in Providence Business News

Centreville Bank Awards $180,000 in Grants

GCRI member Centreville Bank Charitable Foundation has awarded $181,900 in grants to eight Rhode Island organizations with missions ranging from social services to education to environmental protection.

Recipients included Child & Family Services in Middletown for the Bridges to Success Independent LIving Program; Friends Way for bereavement support and operational support; Comprehensive Community Action Program in Cranston to replace and enhance digital technology at three youth/skill centers; Sojourner House for rapid rehousing of victims of sexual abuse, assault and trafficking; San Miguel School for scholarships; ONE Neighborhood Builders for homeownership promotion and financial education; and Save the Bay for out of school programming.

Resources for Educational Equity

Thanks to those of you who were able to attend this morning’s session on Education Disparities.  It was a compelling conversation about equity in both education and philanthropy. 

If you would like to listen to the audio of the session, please contact Nancy at Nancy.wolanski@uwri.org. Panelists were Marcela Betancur, Latino Policy Institute; Elizabeth Burke Bryant, RI Kids Count; Karla Vigil, EduLeaders of Color; Nick Donahue, Nellie Mae Education Foundation.

  • If you would like a copy of the Latino Policy Institute report on education disparities, as well as some policies recommended by the Schott Foundation and the National Education Policy Center for ensuring that all children have the opportunity to learn, regardless of their background or which school they attend, or Nellie Mae Education Foundation’s new principles centering their work around racial equity, please contact Nancy at Nancy.wolanski@uwri.org.
  • The Schott Foundation in Boston, which has done a lot of work around racial equity in education, is offering a webinar this Thursday, April 11 at 2:00pm if you’d like to learn more about Culturally Responsive CurriculaLearn more
  • Some of the handouts Nick shared are:

Paid in Full by Dorian O. Burton and Brian C.B. Barnes

The Road to Achieving Equity by Kris Putnam-Walkerly and Elizabeth Russell

Paying Attention to White Culture and Privilege by Gita Gulati-Partee

Where White Privilege Came From by Allan G. Johnson

  • Look for more information soon about our May GCRI session on Collective Impact.  We will be working with the Federal Reserve and Working Cities Challenge on an engaging session about developing deeper partnerships and co-creating with community partners.

Hasbro Employees Support Rhode Island Philharmonic Student Scholarships

The Providence Business News profiled a unique partnership between GCRI member Hasbro employees and music students at the Rhode Island Philharmonic Music School.  Members of Hasbro’s Music Matters Employee Network teamed with the Philharmonic’s students for a benefit concert and raised $2,000 for scholarships for the program.

See full article

 

 

Puerto Ricans a Year After Hurricane Maria

A year after Hurricane Maria struck Puerto Rico, residents of the island are still struggling with the storm’s impact on their housing, finances, and mental and physical health, a survey by the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation and the Washington Post finds. Based on face-to-face interviews, the report, Views and Experiences of Puerto Ricans One Year After Hurricane Maria (37 pages, PDF), found that 83 percent of survey respondents had a home that was destroyed or significantly damaged, lost power for four or more months, had to drink water from a natural source, experienced a job loss, developed a health condition or had an existing one worsen, and/or received mental health services as a result of the storm.

Report

Rhode Island Foundation Awards $280,000 to Improve the Health of Rhode Islanders

Through its RIGHA Foundation Fund, the Rhode Island Foundation recently awarded more than $280,000 in health-related grants to seven local organizations to improve healthcare access and address health issues in the state.

Awardees included Blackstone Valley Community Health Care (BVCHC) to add health coaches to its primary care teams; the City of Central Falls to help develop partnerships between the city’s EMS service and nearby urgent care centers; Clinica Esperanza for chronic disease screening and treatment programs;  the Rhode Island Free Clinic to provide expanded behavioral health services; Rhode Island Hospital to expand its Connect for Health program (community resources to address social determinants of health); and The Providence Center to support counseling programs in seven Providence elementary and middle schools. 

The RIGHA Foundation Fund was created after Harvard Pilgrim Health Care acquired the former Rhode Island Group Health Association. In 2010, Harvard Pilgrim Health Care and the RIGHA Foundation transferred its $1.6 million endowment to the Rhode Island Foundation. Harvard Pilgrim Health Care continues to make annual contributions to the fund, which promotes the development of an effective primary health care system in the state.

Learn More

RI Foundation President and CEO Neil Steinberg’s ProJo op-ed on the importance of the state taking a steady course for both health care and education

Blue Cross Teams Up with Gloria Gemma Foundation to Provide Breast Cancer Education

Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Rhode Island (BCBSRI) is teaming with the Gloria Gemma Breast Cancer Resource Foundation to bring breast health and breast cancer education to schools, businesses, and community centers through the Foundation’s Pink Spirit Program.

BCBSRI awarded Gloria Gemma a $10,000 charitable gift to help fund the Pink Spirit Program, which will enable the Foundation to visit more sites throughout the state.

“Bringing education as important and as focused as what is found in the Pink Spirit Program is essential to raising awareness of the importance of good breast health and early detection of breast cancer. We applaud the work done each and every day by the Gloria Gemma Breast Cancer Resource Foundation and we are honored to provide our support for their vital work,” said Carolyn Belisle, BCBSRI managing director of community relations.

The program is designed to educate students (middle through post-secondary) and employees at local businesses about the risk factors, symptoms, and screening methods for good breast health and early detection of breast cancer.