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.


 

Rhode Island Foundation Supported Over 2,000 Nonprofits with Over $50 Million in Grants in 2019

The Rhode Island Foundation awarded a record $56 million in grants to more than 2,000 nonprofit organizations last year.

“We are grateful for the passionate and committed donors who have worked with us for more than a century to tackle the challenges and issues of the day,” said Neil D. Steinberg, the Foundation’s president and CEO. “Partnering with nonprofit organizations to support their crucial work in the community, engaging generous donors and providing leadership around key issues for our state all played a role in our outstanding growth as we rise to meet the needs of all Rhode Islanders.”

Of the $56 million in grants awarded last year, 72 percent were donor-directed awards and 28 percent were Foundation-directed. Many of the grants aligned with the Foundation’s three strategic priorities: educational success, healthy lives and economic security. Through these, the Foundation invests in organizations and programs that strive for long-term solutions to significant community issues.

“Working with committed nonprofit partners, our support helps to move every Rhode Island student closer to achieving educational success, encourages all Rhode Islanders to lead healthier lives and puts economic security within reach of even more of our state’s residents,” said Steinberg.

The Foundation also made grants to nonprofits doing critical work in a wide variety of sectors, such as arts and culture, basic human needs, the environment and housing.

In addition to grant-making and fundraising, community leadership is central to the Foundation’s work.

In 2019, the Foundation raised a record $620,000 for its Civic Leadership Fund (CLF). The annual fund enables the Foundation to go beyond traditional grant-making to meet emerging opportunities and challenges, and engage Rhode Islanders in civic and civil dialogue.

Last year, the CLF supported Foundation-led initiatives such as the creation of 10-year strategic plans to improve health and public education in Rhode Island.

Rhode Island Foundation to Provide $1 Million to Support Public Education

The Rhode Island Foundation announced that it is committing $1 million – above and beyond the Foundation’s annual grantmaking in education – to support improvements to the state’s pre-K to 12th grade public education system.

The funding announcement comes as the Long Term Education Planning committee, convened in late 2018 and led by the Foundation, releases final recommendations for improvements. The Foundation’s investment of $1 million will align with the recommendations in the report. The report includes input provided by more than 300 parents, students, educators, policymakers and leaders from the nonprofit and for-profit sectors at the Make It Happen: A World Class Public Education for RI brainstorming session at the R.I. Convention Center in December.

The Long Term Education Planning Committee, a 26-member group of educators, policymakers and leaders from the nonprofit and for profit sectors convened at the request of the Foundation, developed the 10-year plan for improving education in Rhode Island. Click on a link below to read the plan, “Chart a Course, Stay the Course: Rhode Island’s Path to a World Class Public Education System.”

“Participants at the Make it Happen event were extremely vocal about the need to amplify the role of student and family voice. These voices are fundamental and critical to making improvements in the system,” said Steinberg, who served on the committee. “We encourage all Rhode Islanders to work together on this effort – be ambitious and bold, display strong support for educators and continue to demand more for all students, in every community.”

In addition to a vision for the future of public education in Rhode Island, the final plan includes a set of four priorities and accompanying strategies, including aligning the state funding formula with both state and local needs and sustaining a rigorous, statewide assessment system.

Full report

Aetna Foundation Grants $500,000 to Boys & Girls Clubs of Providence

As part of its commitment to building healthier communities, the Aetna Foundation today announced it will be donating a total of $500,000 to the Boys & Girls Clubs of Providence over the next five years.

The new funding from the Aetna Foundation, a private foundation affiliated with CVS Health, will help the Boys & Girls Clubs to reach hundreds of additional young people through innovative and effective programming. The grants will support programs that are focused on preventing underage substance misuse, including tobacco and vaping products, while also providing guidance on how to improve the overall health of youth in these communities.

“We know how important it is to teach healthy behaviors from a young age in order to ensure that young people have the tools and refusal skills they need to stay away from harmful habits like smoking,” said Dr. Garth Graham, Vice President, Community Health & Impact, CVS Health and President, Aetna Foundation. “We believe the Boys & Girls Clubs of Providence and Hartford are uniquely equipped to help us evaluate the best approaches to educate young people about the dangers of substance misuse and teach healthy lifestyle choices. From there, we’ll aim to replicate the successful approaches across other relationships and geographies.”

The majority of the funding will help deliver “Positive Action” – a nationally acclaimed prevention program originally developed through partnerships between prevention specialists and Boys & Girls Clubs around the country to more young people in these communities. Participants in the “Positive Action” program are exposed to a variety of activities designed to hone their decision-making and critical thinking skills and help them learn how to avoid and resist alcohol, tobacco, other drugs, and premature sexual activity.

“Positive Action is a comprehensive strategy that helps young people better navigate the challenging path from childhood to adulthood,” said Nicole Dufresne, CEO, Boys & Girls Clubs of Providence. “We are confident that the youth and teens who participate in this program will be armed with the crucial knowledge needed to lead a healthy lifestyle and have a great future. And we truly appreciate the support from both the CVS Health Foundation and Aetna Foundation, who have consistently been great community partners to us over the years.”

These grants are part of CVS Health’s commitment to help deliver the first tobacco-free generation. Through Be The First, the company and its foundations have committed to invest $50 million over five years to help deliver the first tobacco-free generation. These grants support efforts around healthy behavior programming for young people to ensure they have the tools and refusal skills they need to lead the healthiest lifestyle.

 

 

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