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.

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Citizens Bank Awards $165,000 in Grants to RI Small Businesses and Nonprofits

Eleven Rhode Island small businesses and nonprofits received a total of $165,000 in grants as part of Citizens Bank’s Small Business Recovery Program,

The $15,000 grants come as part of a $5 million commitment Citizens announced earlier this month aimed at helping communities amid the coronavirus crisis, including $2 million in direct grants to 134 small-business customers across the company’s business footprint.

Rhode Island nonprofit recipients include Better Lives Rhode Island, Sojourner House, The McAuley Corp., Urban Greens Food Co-op and the West Broadway Neighborhood Association.

LISC Partners with Citizens Bank to Launch Grant Program for Businesses Impacted by COVID-19

Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC) Rhode Island and Citizens Bank introduced a Small Business Recovery Grant Program aimed at small businesses in Rhode Island that have been impacted by the COVID-19 crisis.

The grants for amounts up to $7,500 will help hard-hit businesses limit layoffs and continue to provide employee benefits, including health insurance, and mitigate the economic instability currently faced by so many of community businesses.

In the past two weeks, several additional small grant or loan programs have been offered to the small business community in Rhode Island, and each time the funds are depleted very quickly, underscoring the acute needs of that segment of the economy. According to the Small Business Association, in Rhode Island nearly 53% of all private sector employees work in a small business setting.

Small businesses represent an important economic engine in Rhode Island, and is particularly critical as a way to provide economic stability for many minority- and immigrant families. With the closing of many non-essential businesses, much of that economic activity has come to a grinding halt, while the bills still pile up. The CARES Act will provide Small Business Administration loans, a Paycheck Protection Program and other economic relief, many of our smaller and more vulnerable businesses will not be able to access federal programs, or will be unable to qualify for or support the repayment of loans. Grants, as well as robust technical assistance, will be critical to the survival of these businesses.

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LISC Joins with Verizon to Support Businesses with COVID-19 Recovery Fund

Understanding the toll of small businesses closing their doors to help fight the spread of the COVID-19 virus, Verizon will donate $2.5 million to Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC), a national nonprofit that has invested $20 billion to fuel economic opportunity for people and communities across America. Over the course of the series, all viewers who tune in will be encouraged to tag their favorite local businesses and make a purchase in advance for when the crisis is over and the businesses reopen. As consumers engage, Verizon will unlock an additional $2.5 million in funds, bringing the total donation to a potential $5 million.

LISC will use the funds to provide grants of up to $10,000 to businesses facing immediate financial pressure because of COVID-19, especially entrepreneurs of color, women-owned businesses and other enterprises that don’t have access to flexible, affordable capital in historically underserved communities. LISC will launch an online process for small businesses to submit applications for grants (sign up here to stay updated on the process). Applications will be reviewed and then entered into a lottery. The grants are designed to help business owners fill urgent financial gaps – from paying rent to meeting payroll – until they can resume normal operations or other financing becomes available.  Updates

 

Tufts Health Plan Foundation Commits $1 Million to Address COVID-19

Tufts Health Plan Foundation is making an additional $1 million available to efforts driven by community and to nonprofit organizations supporting older people affected by the coronavirus outbreak in Massachusetts, Rhode Island, New Hampshire and Connecticut.

Tufts Health Plan Foundation will continue to support healthy aging by funding organizations assisting with access to food, at-home support, housing, transportation, medical supplies and other services, especially for older people and those most vulnerable.  Those with underlying health conditions and people over 60 have been disproportionately impacted by COVID-19. It is especially important to ensure resources are available to provide these supports and services.

The Foundation announced that $125,000 will be given to Rhode Island efforts including Meals on Wheels of Rhode Island, the Rhode Island Community Food Bank, and the RI COVID-19 Response Fund (Rhode Island Foundation/United Way of Rhode Island). 

“We are grateful to the local, state and federal public health agencies, first responders, and the many community organizations who are stepping up to respond to this challenge,” said Tom Croswell, president and CEO of Tufts Health Plan. “We hope this funding will provide local organizations flexibility in their operations to respond to pressing and emerging needs in the communities they support.”

Tufts Health Plan Foundation also will provide current grantees the flexibility to adjust their budgets to support new work related to COVID-19. In addition, donations made by Tufts Health Plan employees to nonprofit organizations responding to COVID-19 are eligible for a two-for-one match, effectively tripling their donations. This double match will allow employees to give to where they see the biggest needs in their communities.

“We’re grateful to our board for their swift action,” said Nora Moreno Cargie, president of Tufts Health Plan Foundation and vice president for corporate citizenship at Tufts Health Plan.  “It’s our responsibility to listen to community, to be nimble, relevant and responsive.”

Women’s Fund Releases Report on the RI Progress on Gender Equity

The Women’s Fund of Rhode Island has released a new research report, titled “An Uneven Path: State Investments in Women’s Economic Self-Sufficiency 2019.”

The report and accompanying executive summary drew on state budget documents, Rhode Island’s Standard of Need report, the U.S. Census Bureau, and other publicly available information to gauge the state’s progress on gender equity.  Report and summary

 

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.”

 

LISC and Pawtucket Central Falls Health Equity Zone Builds Climate Resilience

#PCFHEZ Climate Resilience Project

What does race have to do with climate change? Which neighborhoods in the greater Providence area are most at risk from extreme heat and flooding? What can residents and local government do to make sure neighborhoods are safe and resilient to climate change?

Take a guided tour of the findings from Pawtucket Central Falls Health Equity Zone‘s climate resilience project to make Rhode Island communities safer from extreme heat and flooding.

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.

Tufts Health Plan Foundation Awards Three Year Grant to Age Friendly RI

Tufts Health Plan Foundation announced a three year grant to Age Friendly RI as part of nine new community investments totaling $972,000, all of which demonstrate the Foundation’s commitment to policies and practices that support healthy aging. These investments are in addition to $3.9 million in grants announced earlier this year.

“The Foundation is proud to support community efforts to be vibrant, healthy and equitable,” said Tom Croswell, Tufts Health Plan president and CEO and a member of the Foundation’s board of directors. “Advocating for public policy change is essential to achieving social change at scale.”
Tufts Health Plan Foundation is the only regional funder exclusively focused on healthy aging. The new grants support engagement of older people as advocates on critical policy work to include addressing gaps in food and health care access, transportation and community safety.

“We value advocacy and leadership among older people,” said Nora Moreno Cargie, president of Tufts Health Plan Foundation and vice president for corporate citizenship at Tufts Health Plan. “The organizations we are supporting demonstrate collaboration with state agencies and other community groups that spurs innovation and makes our communities better places to grow up and grow old.”

Age Friendly Rhode Island was awarded $360,000 to strengthen its organizational capacity and engage, encourage and expand cross-sector collaboration and information sharing.

 

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