Centreville Bank Charitable Foundation Awards Jonnycake Center of Peace Dale $150,000

The Centreville Bank Charitable Foundation awarded a $150,000 grant to the Jonnycake Center of Peace Dale, for major renovations of a 120-year-old schoolhouse that was recently purchased to house the Center’s food pantry, social service department, and administrative offices, as well as to provide community space for workshops, special programs, and wellness initiatives.

Executive Director Kate Brewster said,  “The new space will provide our visitors with an enhanced, dignified experience. The ‘Jonnycake Market’ will recreate a true grocery store experience. Social service staff will be co-located with the Market, allowing for regular interactions and timely assistance with visitors, including those with disabilities who currently cannot climb our stairs.”

“Centreville Bank prides itself on supporting the local Rhode Island community by partnering with organizations that help serve our state’s less fortunate,” said Centreville Bank President and CEO Harold Horvat. “We are very happy to be in the financial position to support the Jonnycake Center of Peace Dale as they strive to fight hunger, provide critical social services, and offer those in need improved accessibility, and ultimately, a greater sense of hope.”

 

CVS Health Charity Classic Unveils $1 Million Donation

2019 Charity Classic Support Brings Total Amount Donated to More Than $23 Million

CVS Health President and CEO, Larry Merlo and PGA TOUR Champions and CVS Health Charity Classic Co-hosts Brad Faxon and Billy Andrade announced that the 2019 CVS Health Charity Classic generated $1 million for Southern New England charities. This brings the total amount donated over the last 21 years to more than $23 million.

“Over the past 21 years, the Charity Classic has had the pleasure of connecting with organizations that are making a significant impact in the communities that we live and work in,” said Eileen Howard Boone, Tournament Chairperson of the CVS Health Charity Classic. “We are so honored to celebrate another charitable milestone with CVS Health colleagues, charity partners, Charity Classic sponsors and event volunteers.”

The 2019 CVS Health Charity Classic featured some of the world’s top professional golfers including Brooke Henderson, Colin Montgomerie and Keegan Bradley. The Event Series also attracted sold out crowds to Dunkin’ Donuts Center for Crave RI. The two-day food festival displayed Rhode Island’s diverse culinary scene with more than 250 local restaurants & beverage profiles in downtown Providence.

Looking ahead, CVS Health announced the date for the 2020 CVS Health Charity Classic. The Event Series will take place Thursday, June 18 through Monday, June 22.

The mission of the CVS Health Charity Classic is to give back to the community and provide assistance to charitable organizations that focus on helping the community year-round. Donations provided by the 2019 CVS Health Charity Classic provide vital funding to a range of programs serving children and families. In all, 86 non-profit organizations across Rhode Island and Southern Massachusetts will benefit this year from the CVS Health Charity Classic, including:

• Sojourner House whose mission is to promote healthy relationships by providing culturally sensitive support, advocacy, and education for victims and survivors of domestic and sexual violence; and to effect systems change.
• Tides Family Services that addresses the needs of at-risk children through services such as counseling and educational and court advocacy.
• The Joe Andruzzi Foundation that is committed to providing help, hope, and a reason to smile, for New England cancer patients and their families by contributing financial support when it is needed most.

Nonprofits Awarded Nearly $300,000 to Boost RI’s 2020 Census Count of Underserved Communities

Goal is to protect $3.8 billion a year in federal funding for education, health care, roads, housing that RI receives

The Rhode Island Census 2020 Fund, supported by GCRI members, has awarded nearly $300,000 to local organizations for outreach and education that will encourage participation in the 2020 Census. The goal is to protect the roughly $3.8 billion a year that Rhode Island receives in federal funding for education, health care, housing and more based on Census data.

“These Census outreach grants are an essential tool to build the grassroots effort that will help us achieve our goal of ensuring that every Rhode Islander is counted,” said state Health Director Nicole Alexander-Scott, who co-chairs Rhode Island’s Complete Count Committee. “The work to ensure that every community in every ZIP code in Rhode Island is fairly and accurately represented must be community led.”

Among the 26 organizations that received funding are the Alliance of Rhode Island Southeast Asians for Education (ARISE) in Providence, Progreso Latino in Central Falls and Meals on Wheels in Providence. The focus of the grant program is increasing Census response rates in communities that have been historically undercounted and are vulnerable to an undercount in 2020.

“The primary focus is to reach people who are considered ‘hard to count’ – non-English speakers, persons who are homeless and young adults among others. One of our most important tasks is to support outreach that motivates community members to respond,” said Central Falls Mayor James Diossa, who also serves as co-chair.

Contributors to the Rhode Island Census 2020 Fund include GCRI members Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Rhode Island, the Nellie Mae Foundation, New England, the Rhode Island Foundation,  United Way of Rhode Island, and a local family foundation member. The Rhode Island Foundation administers the initiative working in partnership with the Rhode Island Complete Count Committee, created in late 2018 by executive order of Gov. Gina Raimondo.

ARISE received $10,000 for community canvassing and education, ethnic media outreach, community events, information sessions and training lead organizers and youth leaders.

“We’ve been organizing in the Southeast Asian community around the 2020 Census for the past year. This grant will enhance our work eliminating the barriers to participation for historically disenfranchised communities like ours,” said Chanda Womack, executive director.

Meals on Wheels of Rhode Island received $10,000 to train staff and volunteers, and for education, outreach and promotion of the 2020 Census to people who participate in the Home-Delivered Meal Program and Capital City Café dining sites.

“At Meals on Wheels of RI, seniors are always at the center of our work as we serve a unique population that, because they are homebound, may face barriers to participating in the 2020 Census,” said Meghan Grady, executive director. “This grant will augment our efforts to ensure homebound seniors are fully represented in the count.”

Progreso Latino received $20,000 to support its “Everyone Counts/Todos Contamos” Census Campaign. The campaign is a multi-prong, multi-lingual, social media and grass-roots neighborhood public education effort in collaboration with the organization’s community networks.

“We’ll include a ‘train-the –trainer’ component to ensure that influencers in the community can help spread the word among the hard-to-count segments of the Latino and immigrant community,” said Mario Bueno, executive director.

Amos House, the Center for Southeast Asians, Children’s Friend and Service, the city of Newport, Clinica Esperanza/Hope Clinic, the East Providence Public Library, the Elisha Project, Fuerza Laboral, Generation Citizen, Genesis Center, House of Manna Ministries, the Museum of Work & Culture, NeighborWorks Blackstone River Valley, ONE Neighborhood Builders, Providence Community Opportunity Corp., Ready to Learn Providence, the Refugee Development Center, Rhode Island Professional Latino Association, the R.I. Coalition for the Homeless, The College Crusade of Rhode Island, Thundermist Health Center, Turning Around Ministries and the West Elmwood Housing Development Corp. also received grants.

Sixty organizations submitted proposals totaling nearly $1.2 million in the first round of funding. The applications were reviewed by a committee of community members.

“Grassroots organizations realize how crucial it is to engage their communities on the Census and they went all in on the first round. The volume and quality of the responses made for a very difficult review and selection process,” said Jessica David, executive vice president of strategy and community investments at the Rhode Island Foundation, which administers the program. “We’re grateful to the funding partners who are supporting this effort, and to the many local groups who will do the on-the-ground organizing in order to turn out their communities in 2020.”

Applications for a second round of funding are already being taken. Rhode Island-based nonprofit organizations, municipal governments, public agencies like libraries or schools; houses of worship and community-based groups have until Fri., Jan. 31, 2020, to apply for at least $125,000 in funding.

An information session for organizations interested in applying for the second round of Census 2020 Outreach Grants program is scheduled for Tues., Nov. 14, from 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. at Millrace Kitchen, 40 South Main St., Woonsocket. More information about the workshop and the program is posted at rifoundation.org/censusgrants.

Blue Cross & Blue Shield of RI Awards $200,000 to Support Safe and Affordable Housing

Recognizing the impact that access to safe and affordable housing has on health and well-being, Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Rhode Island (BCBSRI) has awarded a total of $200,000 to five organizations focused on increasing awareness of the need for, and improving access to, affordable housing in Rhode Island.  BCBSRI has expanded the scope of its grantmaking to include funding for housing-related initiatives.

BCBSRI’s decision to expand philanthropic giving to include housing followed the recent release of the RI Life Index, a new data resource focused on life factors, or social determinants of health (SDoH), which influence health and well-being. Specifically, the RI Life Index found availability of, and access to, safe and affordable housing is a significant concern and challenge for many Rhode Islanders.

“I’m excited that as a first step in activating the findings of the RI Life Index we are making investments that address the critical role of safe and affordable housing on the overall health and well-being of Rhode Islanders,” said BCBSRI President & CEO Kim Keck. “Extensive research shows that housing is a crucial factor influencing not only health outcomes, but also, significantly, school performance. Our company is proud to support organizations making a difference for Rhode Island families by addressing this critical need.”

Recipients of BCBSRI’s end-of-year grants include Housing Network of Rhode Island; Crossroads Rhode Island; HousingWorks RI;  The Village Common; and Family Service of Rhode Island.

RI Foundation to Host Stakeholder Session on Public Education

The Rhode Island Foundation is hosting Make It Happen: World-Class Public Education for RI, a one-day event to convene parents, students, educators, administrators, business leaders, and community members to participate in collective brainstorming.

The event will be led and hosted by the Long-Term Education Planning Committee convened by the Foundation in late 2018. Throughout the year this senior-level group – which includes the Commissioner of Education and Chair of the Board of Education, labor leaders, traditional public school and public charter school representatives, business leaders, representatives from local higher education institutions, and nonprofits serving children and families – has been meeting regularly and have agreed to a vision, priorities, and strategies aimed at developing and sustaining a world-class public education system for our state over the next 10 years.

Rhode Island’s Education Commissioner Angélica M. Infante-Green is expected to attend.

RI Afterschool Report Released, Shows Need for Dedicated Funding

The Rhode Island Afterschool Network released “The State of Afterschool Learning Programs in Rhode Island 2019” report, supported by the GCRI members Rhode Island Foundation and United Way of Rhode Island.

The report provides an overview and highlights of the landscape of Out of School Time (OST) programs in Rhode Island, drawn from statewide convenings, stakeholder engagement, existing data and qualitative research.   

Several themes were highlighted in this report, particularly the benefit of engaging our children in structured, high-quality educational activities outside of school hours. Educational and developmental research demonstrates, and parents, teachers, childcare providers agree, to the importance of OST programs for promoting educational success, social and emotional learning, and racial equity for youth.  OST programs also support financial stability by allowing parents to remain productive and at work through the end of the business day. The report emphasizes that there is an opportunity to advance Rhode Island’s educational goals by supporting and investing in OST programs, and elevating and embedding oversight of OST programming within the Rhode Island Department of Education.

Full Report

BCBSRI Launches Rhode Island Life Index

Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Rhode Island (BCBSRI), through a partnership with the Brown University School of Public Health (Brown), unveiled a report summarizing a new data resource – the RI Life Index – based on interviews conducted with more than 2,200 Rhode Islanders about life factors influencing health and well-being in the state.

The survey results, representing Rhode Islanders’ perceptions about their own health and well-being, as well as that of their community, offer a first-of-its-kind, unique window into what state residents believe to be significant challenges as well as community strengths.

The RI Life Index showed strengths in the following areas: availability of safe and reliable transportation; access to affordable, nutritious food; availability and quality of civic, social, and healthcare services for seniors and the ability to age in place; and programs and services available for children. In contrast, respondents had lower perceptions of the availability of quality affordable housing, job opportunities and job training programs.

“At Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Rhode Island, our vision to passionately lead a state of health and well-being across Rhode Island was the impetus for creating this index. As a proud local company celebrating 80 years, we are committed to building a healthier Rhode Island,” said Kim Keck, BCBSRI president and CEO. “The RI Life Index confirms something we’ve seen reported at the national level – when it comes to health outcomes and overall well-being, zip code is more important than genetic code. Where people are born and live in Rhode Island has a profound impact on their lives.”

Keck continued, “Using the RI Life Index data as a foundation, for the first time in our company history we will launch BlueAngel Community Health Grants (BACHG) focused on housing, complementing our existing philanthropic investments.”

BCBSRI unveiled the RI Life Index at an event that included remarks from Keck and Bess Marcus, Ph.D., dean of the Brown School of Public Health. Melissa Clark, Ph.D., professor of health service, policy and practice, and director of the Survey Research Center at the School of Public Health, presented the RI Life Index and talked about the research she and her team conducted.

“The School of Public Health worked to develop and ensure the highest quality data collection for the Life Index survey in order to capture the perceptions of health and well-being from Rhode Islanders,” said Brown professor of health service, policy and practice Melissa Clark. “As many residents of Rhode Island already know, social determinants of health, such as the cost of housing and employment issues, often make it incredibly challenging for many families to experience the highest quality of health and well-being.”

The RI Life Index survey was conducted in April and May 2019 with randomly selected Rhode Island residents from across the state. The survey focused on social determinants of health, as well as topic areas specific to older adults, children, social integration and access to healthcare. The survey also asked about the opioid epidemic, access to mental health and substance use treatment, discrimination in healthcare and emergency room use.

Using the data, percent of the possible (POP) scores were created for various aspects of health and well-being in a community. This allowed for the combination of multiple indicators into a single score, allowing for easier observation of targeted areas for improvement, as well as community strengths. Scores ranging from 0 to 100 show how close the community is to the ideal, with a higher POP score indicating moving toward a healthier community. Scores were also determined factoring in geography, age and income.

“The Rhode Island Life Index is truly a data resource, one that will guide us in how we assist boots-on-the-ground organizations in their essential work to improve the lives of all Rhode Islanders,” said Keck. “This is just the beginning. Armed with our vision and these data, BCBSRI will develop new approaches – and strengthen existing programs – to address health disparities and gaps in health outcomes. And that effort will start by directing our BACHG competitive grant program to support initiatives that result in more Rhode Islanders being able to access safe, healthy and stable housing in 2020.”

Citizens Celebrates Anniversary and Community Engagement

Citizens Bank is celebrating the five-year anniversary of becoming a public company this month by reflecting on the many ways it has been able to help Rhode Island communities reach their potential.

The Bank shared the following ways they have helped their communities grow over the past five years:

  • Employees have volunteered more than half a million hours to community organizations.
  • The Bank has invested roughly $70 million in programs to benefit local neighborhoods.
  • Employees have served annually on more than 700 boards or committees.
  • The Bank has invested over $3 billion in affordable housing and other projects to benefit communities.
  • Employees and partners have reached more than one million people with financial literacy programs.
  • The Bank has provided more than 27 million meals to our hungry neighbors in partnership with local food banks and pantries.

Congratulations to Citizens for this anniversary and their continued community engagement!

RIDOH Announces New Health Equity Zones

The Rhode Island Department of Health (RIDOH) announced that expanded support and funding to three new communities to establish Health Equity Zones. East Providence, Cranston, and Providence’s West End neighborhood were chosen through a competitive process that drew nearly 20 applicants from communities across the State. These new communities will share approximately $1.4 million in funding with seven existing Health Equity Zones receiving support to continue their work in local communities.

RIDOH’s Health Equity Zone initiative is an innovative, place-based approach that brings people together to build healthy, resilient communities across Rhode Island. The initiative is grounded in research that shows up to 80% of health outcomes are determined by factors outside clinical settings, such as access to affordable, healthy foods; high-quality education; employment opportunities; and safe neighborhoods. The model encourages and equips community members and partners to collaborate to address factors like these and create healthy places for people to live, learn, work, and play.

“We are thrilled to expand our Health Equity Zones initiative to additional Rhode Island communities,” said Director of Health Nicole Alexander-Scott, MD, MPH. “With plans for strong mentorship from existing Health Equity Zones, these communities are taking the forces that shape their health and well-being into their own hands. I can’t wait to see what they accomplish over the next few years as we continue to lift up this initiative as a national model of how such an infrastructure led by community members can create the conditions needed for every person to thrive.”

Each successful application was submitted by a municipal or nonprofit, community-based organization that will serve as the “backbone agency” for the local Health Equity Zone. These agencies, which include East Bay Community Action Program, Comprehensive Community Action Plan, and West Elmwood Housing Corporation, will facilitate a community-led process to organize a collaborative of community partners, conduct a needs assessment, and implement a data-driven plan of action to address the obstacles to health and well-being in local neighborhoods. RIDOH will provide seed funding and support to ensure that communities ground their work in public health principles and best practices, so that measurable outcomes are reached and evaluated.

 

 

Rhode Island Foundation Awards $285,000 to Newport County Nonprofits

The Rhode Island Foundation’s Newport County Fund (NCF} offered grants of up $10,000 to 40 organizations in Newport County to develop new programs, to strengthen or expand established programs and for municipal planning or leadership. In making the funding decisions, the Foundation worked with an advisory committee comprised of residents from every community in Newport County. In total, $285,000 in grants were awarded.

“From protecting the environment to underwriting health and job readiness programs, we are fortunate to partner with organizations that are improving lives here in Newport County,” said Neil D. Steinberg, the Foundation’s president and CEO. “We are thankful for the donors who make these partnerships possible.”

Awardees included Child & Family, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Community CenterNewport Mental HealthAquidneck Community TableBaby StepsBooks are Wings, Boys and Girls Clubs of Newport CountyClean Ocean AccessDay One in Middletown, Girl Scouts of Southeastern New EnglandGod’s Community Garden, Island Moving Company, Jamestown Arts Center, Katie Brown Educational Program, Little Compton Community Center, Little Compton Historical SocietyMeals on WheelsMENTOR Rhode IslandNewport Community School, Newport County YMCA, Newport Gulls, the Newport Music Festival, the Newport Partnership for Families, Newport Working CitiesRhode Island Black Storytellers, Salvation ArmySave The Bay, the Seamen’s Church InstituteSpecial Olympics Rhode Island, the Star Kids Scholarship Program, Turning Around MinistriesVisiting Nurse Home & Hospice, and Women’s Resource Center