Harvard Pilgrim Health Care and Tufts Health Plan Foundations Give $1 Million to Expand COVID-19 Vaccine Education in Communities of Color

First joint community investment supports 42 organizations in five states

In their first joint community investment, the Harvard Pilgrim Health Care Foundation and Tufts Health Plan Foundation are giving $1 million to support vaccine education, awareness and outreach in communities of color across New England, including $175,000 to Rhode Island organizations. Just one month after Harvard Pilgrim Health Care and Tufts Health Plan announced their combined organization, this investment is an immediate response to emerging needs in Black and Brown communities across the region disproportionately impacted by the pandemic.

“With the pandemic continuing to have a devastating impact on Black and Brown communities, this funding will give a boost to organizations across the region working tirelessly to support the needs of their community members and create awareness around the importance of the vaccine, ” said Michael Carson, president of the combined organization of Harvard Pilgrim Health Care and Tufts Health Plan, and chairman of the Harvard Pilgrim Health Care Foundation board.

Grants will support a range of organizations—from statewide organizations to local community nonprofits. They include faith-based organizations, trusted Black/Latinx-led community nonprofits, and organizations with experience coordinating multilingual efforts.

Rhode Island grantees include Children’s Friend, Comprehesive Community Action Program, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Community Center, Local Initiatives Support Corporatio, ONE Neighborhood Builders, Progreso Latino, Thundermist Health Center, United Way of Rhode Island, and West Elmwood Housing Development Corp.

 

Centreville Bank Foundation 2020 Giving Tops $1 Million

With its fourth quarter grant round of $113,861, the Centreville Bank Charitable Foundation awarded a total of $1,063,861 in grants for 2020, the largest annual giving amount in bank history.

“There is a critical need for financial support for many charitable organizations throughout Rhode Island and Connecticut, particularly as the pandemic continues, said Horvat. “We are fortunate to be in a financial position to support them as they help the most vulnerable populations with everything from health care, food, shelter and other basic needs, to education and literacy.”

The latest grants to 15 organizations in Rhode Island and Connecticut, included Beautiful Day, Community Preparatory School, Coventry Housing Associates Corporation, Cranston Public Library, Day One, Friends of CASA, House of Hope, Reach Out and Read Rhode Island and United Way of Rhode Island.

 

BankNewport Awards Over $250,000 in Year End Funding

BankNewport has awarded $255,000 in proactive year end funding to dozens of community organizations throughout Rhode Island to aid in their efforts to support those in need.

BankNewport awarded $125,000 to 27 organizations to help meet basic needs for families during the holiday season including: Adoption RI, Boys Town New England, five Boys & Girls Clubs locations, the Center for Southeastern Asians, Child and Family Services, Children’s Friend, five Community Action Program agencies, the Corliss Institute, Crossroads Rhode Island, the Elisha Project, Family Service of RI, the Federal Hill House, Galilee Mission, Genesis Center, Goodwill Industries of Southern New England, the Jonnycake Center of Peace Dale, Lucy’s Hearth, McCauley Ministries, Mae Organization for the Homeless West Warwick, Operation Stand Down, Progreso Latino, Ronald McDonald House of Providence, three Salvation Army locations, Silver Lake Community Center, two St. Vincent dePaul Society locations, the J. Arthur Trudeau Center, and the Welcome House of South County.

In addition, BankNewport’s Community Fund Committee awarded $130,000 in proactive grants to 25 organizations that have had operations and outreach negatively affected by COVID-19 and that focus on food insecurity, mental health, distance learning, minority-owned small businesses, and underserved populations.

Governor Raimondo Announces $8 Million Central Providence Opportunities Initiative

Governor Gina M. Raimondo announced that Rhode Island has been awarded an $8 million, 24-month grant to implement Central Providence Opportunities – a place-based initiative to increase social and economic mobility for residents of the 02908 and 02909 zip codes, and then scale these strategies statewide. The pilot initiative, set to commence next month, brings together the Governor’s office, state agencies, the Rhode Island Foundation, and ONE Neighborhood Builders.

The pandemic has further exacerbated and laid bare the degree to which a resident’s zip code determines economic, health and education outcomes. The Central Providence area, including the Olneyville, Hartford, Manton, Silver Lake, Valley, Federal Hill, Smith Hill, Elmhurst and Mount Pleasant neighborhoods, has been one of the areas hardest hit by COVID-19 in Rhode Island.

The Central Providence Opportunities will be led by ONE Neighborhood Builders. As the leader of this initiative as well as the Central Providence Health Equity Zone, ONE Neighborhood Builders will convene community partners and residents and ensure the focus remains on addressing health disparities through systems change and policy reform. The grant will fund strategies to increase economic security and opportunity for residents of Central Providence, and across the state. Included is a $1 million investment in Rhode Island’s Health Equity Zones, which will provide infrastructure to implement lessons learned statewide. The remaining funds will be invested in organizational capacity building, project oversight and evaluation, and direct investments in:

  • Growing and sustaining community capacity;
  • Increasing affordable housing;
  • Improving leading indicators leading to 3rdgrade reading; and
  • Advancing workforce and business development outcomes – with a focus on minority-owned businesses.

Blue Meridian Partners has made a two-year investment in the Central Providence Opportunities initiative. The investment will be managed by the Rhode Island Foundation, and leveraged by tapping into new and existing state-level resources. The Foundation will serve as the fiscal sponsor, supporting the initiative anchored by ONE Neighborhood Builders, the Governor’s office and state agencies, and working in partnership with both to invest the funds within the identified priority areas. The Foundation will also provide technical assistance aimed at building toward a plan to scale impact statewide.

 

 

Tufts Health Plan Foundation Awards $300,000 in Grants

Investments focus on engaging older people in solutions

As part of new funding totaling $1.325 million across four New England states, Tufts Health Plan Foundation has awarded $300,000 to two Rhode Island organizations to advance policies and practices that support healthy aging.  The new grants engage older people in systems-level change to remove barriers responsible for inequities in communities across the region.

The Policy and Advocacy grants were awarded to the Senior Agenda Coalition of Rhode Island, and University of Rhode Island’s Foundation and Feinstein Center for a Hunger-Free America.

The Foundation has announced more than $7 million to support community organizations this year, including $3.4 million for pandemic response and advancing racial justice.

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.”