HarborOne Announces $75,000 in Grants

HarborOne Foundation recently announced $75,000 in grants to organizations in Rhode Island.

Said James Blake, CEO of HarborOne, “The work of these nonprofit organizations contributes greatly to the vibrancy and health of the local community. Investing in organizations that create educational opportunity, improve access to affordable housing and provide basic needs to our most vulnerable citizens aligns with the bank’s core values of service, community and trust.”

For more information, read interview 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.

Tufts Health Plan Foundation Announces 10 Momentum Grants in RI

Ten Rhode Island organizations each will receive a grant of $10,000 from Tufts Health Plan Foundation’s new Momentum Fund. The fund was established to foster new ideas and support cities and towns in their efforts to make their communities better places to grow up and grow old.

“We developed the Momentum Fund to help smaller communities and organizations that want to do this work,” said Nora Moreno Cargie, president of Tufts Health Plan Foundation and vice president of corporate citizenship at Tufts Health Plan. “They are adopting more inclusive policies, building accessible parks and public spaces, and integrating age-friendly practices.”

In addition to the 10 projects in Rhode Island, the Momentum Fund is supporting 10 projects in Massachusetts and 7 in New Hampshire. Each is community-led, addresses healthy aging and includes older people in the planning and implementation process.

“Many New England communities recognize older people as tremendous assets,” said Phillip González, the Foundation’s senior program officer. “This is an opportunity for us to learn from communities as they innovate and collaborate to address the needs of that community.”

The first Rhode Island recipients of the Momentum Fund grants are Benjamin Church Senior Center, Inc.,  Catholic Social Services of RI, Child and Family Services of Newport County, Cranston Senior Services, Educational Center for Arts and Sciences, PACE Organization of Rhode Island, Progreso Latino, Inc., Roger Williams University, The Providence Village of Rhode Island, and Westbay Community Action Program.

More information

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

Support for Victims of Northern California Wildfires

GCRI’s sister organization, Northern California Grantmakers, shared about two funds that have been established to support the victims of the Carr wildfire in Shasta County, CA.  Currently, the fire is only 20% contained, and 720 homes and 100,000 acres have been burned.

One fund has been established by Shasta Regional Community Foundation and the other by United Way of Northern California.

Neighborworks Blackstone River Valley Hosts Concert in the Park Program

After learning about the Levitt Foundation’s AMP Your City grant program in the GCRI nonprofit newsletter, Neighborworks Blackstone River Valley applied for, and received Levitt funding to offer a summer full of free outdoor concerts.

Said Meghan Rego, Director of Resource Development and Communications at Neighborworks, “Thanks [to GCRI] for including it in the newsletter so that we knew of the opportunity and were able to apply.  Woonsocket is a buzz about [the] music already; this grant has been an incredible community building tool.”

The goal of the concert series is to reinvigorate the scenic and underused River Island Art Park, “drawing neighbors back into the once bustling public square at the heart of the city to enjoy free and accessible art, serving as both a cultural gathering center where community ties are strengthened and an economic catalyst to the surrounding area.”  The programming builds on Creative Placemaking funding that Neighborworks received from LISC RI, a GCRI member.

More information

Congratulations to Neighborworks, and please remember to share your RFP’s with GCRI so we can help get the word out through GCRI CONNECT, our nonprofit newsletter.

GCRI Corporate Members Fidelity, Tufts Health Plan Give Back on Annual Days of Service

Tufts Health Plan Employees Tackle 35 Projects in 4 States

In honor of the Tufts Health Plan (THP) Foundation’s 10th anniversary in 2018, employees of Tufts Health Plan set an ambitious goal of 10,000 volunteer hours for the year.

After a very successful annual service day, THP is more than halfway to its goal.  This year’s record-setting Volunteer Day engaged 773 Tufts Health Plan employees in giving back to communities–in total 2,100 hours through 35 projects in 4 states–all in one day.

Pictured above are employee volunteers cleaning up the playground and outdoor areas at Federal Hill House in Providence; they were getting the grounds ready for summer camp. Other projects included building beds for children; prepping gardens that will supply healthy, local, affordable food; sorting donated food, clothing and toys for families living in poverty; and making paracord survival bracelets for deployed service members.

Fidelity Employees Assist Over 100 Nonprofits on Fidelity Cares Day

1,600 Fidelity employees in New England, joined colleagues around the globe to assist 110 nonprofits for the company’s annual service day.  A total of more than 8,000 employees globally provided services that will benefit over 15,000 students and almost 1,000 teachers.

In Rhode Island, Fidelity worked with United Way of Rhode Island to provide financial success fairs at Connecting for Children and Families and Genesis Center, assistance in building an outdoor classroom with DownCity Design, refurbishing a community center with Partnership for Providence Parks, and meal packaging for Project Outreach.

LISC Rhode Island Grants, Initiatives and People Recognized

LISC Grants, Initiatives and People Recognized 

LISC Rhode Island awarded Amos House $476,000 to implement its Bridges to Career Opportunities (BCO) model, a comprehensive education and support program designed to provide tailored services to move people into employment. The new grant is part of $72 million in funding awarded to 32 organizations through the U.S. Labor Department’s Reentry Project, which is focused on evidence-based opportunities to reduce recidivism.

Read more in  ProJo feature

With this funding, Amos House will be able to expand its job training and education programs and integrate them with the Financial Opportunity Center offerings, a highly successful program developed by LISC that helps participants with job placement, financial coaching, and access to public benefits. Amos House will adapt the BCO model to address the specific needs and services necessary for individuals recently released from prison.

“As a result of this funding, Amos House will provide intensive wraparound supports related to barriers specific to the re-entry population,” said Jeanne Cola, Executive Director of LISC Rhode Island.  “Participants will be able to complete the education and skills training components of the Bridges to Career Opportunities program and transition to employment.”

With a grant from the Social Innovation Fund (SIF), LISC launched its Financial Opportunity Center (FOC) model nationally in 2010 and featured several sites in Rhode Island, including Amos House.  FOCs provide clients with three integrated services: employment coaching, financial education and coaching, and assistance accessing income supports. This bundling of services helps clients make important behavioral changes about money and improve their financial outlook, while preparing them to succeed in the workplace. The model has been successful in helping clients see real improvements in net income, net worth, and credit scores. Additional SIF funding allowed LISC to then introduce the Bridges to Career Opportunities model, which incorporated contextualized educational services along with career training programs and provided opportunities for those FOC clients who needed to build additional foundational skills to successfully complete higher-level skills training and be more competitive in the job market.

“In addition to job training and education, providing services to help participants navigate legal and technical matters related to child support, fines, court, parole/probation, as well as help with transportation, housing barriers, and substance abuse, will translate into meaningful change for this vulnerable population,” said Cola.

Approximately 2.3% of adults in Rhode Island are on probation or parole, which as of 6/30/17 was 23,081 adults in the state, and there were 2,797 individuals released in 2017 [1]. Of this number, about 5% of sentenced releases self-reported that they were homeless or had no permanent address. The Department of Corrections also reports that of the total prison population, 52% of men and 61% of women were unemployed at the time they were incarcerated.  Additionally, of this 2017 population, 35% of incarcerated men and 25% of incarcerated women had less than a high school education, and 51% of men and 38% of women were re-sentenced within 36 months of release [2].

“We are very grateful to LISC,” said Eileen Hayes, President and CEO of Amos House. “This was a very competitive process and the funding will allow us to focus much more intensively on people entering our training programs and accessing FOC services within 6 months of being released from incarceration.”

Nationwide, there are more than 2.3 million people in prisons, jails and other detention facilities, with 650,000 released each year from prisons alone. Studies on recidivism done by the National Institute of Justice based in Washington D.C. indicate that nearly 77 percent are arrested again within five years.

The award is part of a larger grant from the U.S. Department of Labor which awarded $4.5 million in new funding for LISC Financial Opportunity Centers (FOCs) nationwide. The grant will extend the reach of LISC FOCs in Chicago, Detroit, Indianapolis, Minneapolis and Providence that operate in communities with high rates of poverty, crime and reentry. Amos House is one of only seven organizations across the LISC footprint to receive these funds.

The FOCs are part of a broader LISC effort to expand economic opportunity for low income people. It dovetails with LISC’s community safety work that builds police community partnerships, supports data-driven strategies to take on crime hotspots, and integrates safety into broader programs on economic development, housing and jobs.

People in the News

LISC Rhode Island’s Executive Director Jeanne Cola, who was recently profiled in the Providence Business News, published a ProJo op-ed on the value of supporting childcare as a taxpayer investment.

Deputy Director Cindy Larson received the 2017 Sue Connor Special Friend of Rhode Island’s Children Award from the Rhode Island Association for the Education of Young Children (RIAEYC) during the organization’s 51st opening banquet of their Annual Rhode Island Early Childhood Conference. Larson received the award for her lifetime of work as an early childhood advocate.

In presenting the award, Lisa Hildebrand, Executive Director of the RIAEYC, acknowledged Larson’s advocacy and leadership in early learning and child care in Rhode Island, her role as the founding director of LISC’s Rhode Island Child Care & Early Learning Facilities Fund (RICCELFF), and her long history of work in education.

“We are presenting this award in recognition of her leadership, commitment, and truly tireless efforts working on behalf of the early child care and education community, as well as the children and families of Rhode Island,” said Hildebrand.

“Cindy led the team that conducted a comprehensive study of child care and early learning facility infrastructure in Rhode Island. She was instrumental in receiving special permission to use Race to The Top dollars toward facility improvement and making funding available to help address critical health and safety issues across Rhode Island’s early childhood centers,” said Hildebrand.

In accepting the award, Larson noted that there is still work to be done despite broad acceptance on the critical importance of the issues around early childhood.

“Thank you all so much, this honor means a great deal to me,” said Larson. “It should be really easy to be an early childhood advocate – all the research suggests that the early years of life are the most critical; we have widespread agreement with the importance of early education; we know that quality child care is essential to building a workforce and having a strong economy.

“Everybody agrees on all these things, and yet every single day we have programs that are struggling just to make ends meet.  So the money is not connecting to what we know, despite our best efforts. We welcome all the new champions and I hope your voices will be loud and strong.  We will continue to advocate strongly with you for the resources that you need to make a difference in the lives of children.”

 

 

 

Tufts Health Plan Foundation Awards $1.1 Million in Healthy Aging Policy and Practice Grants

Tufts Health Plan Foundation Awards $1.1 Million to Advance Policies and Practices Supporting Healthy Aging

Tufts Health Plan Foundation announced new community investments of more than $1.1 million, reflecting a commitment to advance inclusive policies that create thriving and vital communities that work for people of all ages.

“Communities have greater interest in age-friendly initiatives. There’s a growing understanding of the critical role older people play. They are an asset to community, and their voices and insights are invaluable to the public discourse on what communities need,” said Nora Moreno Cargie, vice president, corporate citizenship for Tufts Health Plan and president of its Foundation.

The Foundation’s new grants support initiatives to engage and train more advocates to participate in policy discussions; extend dementia-friendly programs to new communities; and address gaps limiting access to services and healthy, nutritious food. All are aligned with the Foundation’s focus on support for communities that work for everyone.

Three of the eight grants awarded went to Rhode Island organizations.  The Senior Agenda Coalition of Rhode Island was awarded a $50,000 policy and advocacy grant for a program to engage low-income seniors and develop them as community leaders with the capacity to effectively advocate for policy change.  Rhode Island College Foundation received a two year James A. Roosevelt, Jr. Leadership Fund (community engagement) grant for $252,400 to build a powerful community coalition to advocate, design innovative solutions and develop programs/services for an Age-Friendly Rhode Island.  The Alzheimer’s Association of Rhode Island also received a one year systems and best practices grant for $15,000 to support the update of Rhode Island’s five-year plan on Alzheimer’s and Related Disorders.

The new grants engage nearly 80 community organizations in Massachusetts and Rhode Island.

Rhode Island Council for the Humanities Launches New Rhode Tour

Rhode Island Council for the Humanities Launches New Rhode Tour

Rhode Island Council for the Humanities (RICH), a GCRI member, continues expanding its “Rhode Tour” app and website that shares stories of local history, and provides thematic tours of significant sites throughout the state.  A joint initiative of RICH, Brown University’s John Nicholas Brown Center for Public Humanities and Cultural Heritage, and the Rhode Island Historical Society, tours on the app include Black history, the culinary roots of the state’s food evolution, and forts used during the Revolutionary War. Some of the stories are about current landmarks, and some describe—in famous Rhode Island parlance—where or what a place used to be.

RICH will be launching the latest tour, Industrial Heritage Along the Woonasquatucket, at a Humanities Happy Hour on Thursday, November 16.  Jane Gerdard, historian and content developer for the Industrial Heritage Rhode Tour and Howie Sneider, Executive Director of The Steel Yard will offer brief remarks. The event is free and open to the public, but registration is required.

Download the free Rhode Tour app or visit the website