BankNewport awarded $74,000 in proactive grants to support the missions of 64 organizations throughout Rhode Island and to provide additional aid for the holiday season.
“As a true community bank, we are dedicated to making a positive impact around the state,” said Jack Murphy, President & CEO, BankNewport. “These organizations work tirelessly to ensure that our most vulnerable neighbors receive the care and support they need every day. We are so thankful for their efforts throughout the year, but especially during the holidays, when they go above and beyond to make the season a bit brighter for those in need.”
Twenty eight nonprofits in Providence County received grants, seven in Kent County, thirteen in Newport County, five in Washington County, and three in Bristol County. Eighteen additional statewide nonprofits received grants.
Photo: Jessica Couto, vice president, branch sales manager at BankNewport’s newest branch in Warwick, joins Lara D’ Antuono, CEO, Boys & Girls Clubs of Warwick, at the Club’s holiday market. The Boys & Girls Club used a BankNewport family support grant to purchase gifts for its holiday market, which allows parents and caregivers to shop for gifts for their children at no cost.
The Champlin Foundation announced today $13.2 million in capital funding to 126 nonprofit organizations serving a variety of priorities, including 17 first-time grantees. From building renovations and facility expansions to equipment upgrades and vehicle purchases, grants will help Rhode Island build back stronger.
This grant cycle builds on a round of $5.8 million in funding that was distributed in June for a 2021 total of $19 million.
Of the 126 organizations receiving funding, the greatest number of applicants came in the Social Services category, ranging from smaller projects like a storage shed for Amenity Aid to store basic care items for shelters, to larger initiatives like the work of Open Doors to provide transitional employment services to individuals with criminal records.
The first round of applications for 2022 grants will open on December 15th and close on January 15th. The second cycle will begin June 1, 2022, and close on July 1, 2022. A secondary track for campership grant applications will open in September 2022.
$500,000 supports nonprofits in Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, Rhode Island and New Hampshire
Tufts Health Plan Foundation announced 50 community organizations across the region will receive a total of $500,000 in Momentum Fund grants to advance health equity and support community resilience. The organizations serve people disproportionately affected by the pandemic after years of system inequities, especially older people.
The 2021 Momentum Fund grants support organizations that improve nutrition security; make access to transportation more equitable; address social isolation and mental health; deliver reliable and clear COVID-19 information; support caregivers; and advance workforce solutions. The grants were informed by more than 100 conversations with community members.
A total of 10 organizations in each state — Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, Rhode Island and New Hampshire — will receive unrestricted grants due to the challenges many have experienced during the COVID-19 pandemic. Resources can be used to address the most urgent community needs.
The Rhode Island grantees are Aldersbridge Communities, Center for Southeast Asians, Clinica Esperanza/Hope Clinic, Conexion Latina Newport, Grands Flourish, Higher Ground International, Refugee Dream Center, RI Minority Elder Task Force, We Share Hope, and West Bay Community Action Program.
How One Foundation Invested Deeply in Philanthropy Infrastructure to Deepen Its Learning & Focus
There is another funder that has been investing deeply in philanthropy infrastructure for a number of years, but its support has been under the radar—until now. A new report developed by The Giving Practice tells the story of how the Satterberg Foundation in Seattle has made unprecedented investments in four regional philanthropy-serving organizations (PSOs)—all Forum members—over more than half a decade. The foundation has viewed these four philanthropy infrastructure groups—Philanthropy Northwest, Northern California Grantmakers, SoCal Grantmakers, and Catalyst of San Diego and Imperial Counties—as vital partners in the regions where it funds, to help the foundation, in the words of Satterberg Foundation Executive Director Sarah Walczyk, “gain a deeper understanding of the key issues at play in our sector to further hone our foundation funding focus for the future.”
Through its Community Partnerships program, the foundation has provided two rounds of three-year general operating support grants to each of the four PSOs, in amounts ranging from $750,000 to $1,000,000 per year. The grants were open-ended and flexible and came with streamlined grant reporting requirements. A key focus of the funding was on foundation learning, emphasizing “learning together, shared inquiry and sense-making.”
The report makes clear that the foundation went into these partnerships without a lot of expectations or a theory of change. The foundation’s board was not focused on achieving impact or interested in getting progress reports. Instead, it viewed the PSOs as trusted places to connect and learn from partners who “better understood the geographic needs of the regions and states than we do,” according to one foundation representative. Trust and relationship-building were the priority, following principles of trust-based philanthropy.
“We had confidence in those organizations,” a foundation representative said in the report. “We always saw PSOs as a place to connect and learn. More recently, we saw them make sense of their role, align values, respond to diverse perspectives, engage in policy change, build their voice, and speak up. We were inspired to see these organizations build a movement of funders working together on community issues.”
The effects of the Satterberg investments on the organizational capacity of the four PSOs were significant and included adding senior staff positions, investing in more staff learning and professional development, increasing staff salaries, investing in better technology, and much more. The investments led to notable innovations in all four of the regional PSOs, most notably in the areas of advancing equity, shaping public policy, partnering with government, and mobilizing support for communities.
A few examples: SoCal Grantmakers is a key partner and fiscal intermediary for the new Veterans Peer Access Network, a public-private partnership that will use $4.3 million in public-private investment to provide peer-based services to help veterans in L.A. County deal with homelessness, health and other issues. Philanthropy Northwest established the WA Food Fund, in partnership with the state of Washington, which has raised more than $16 million to respond to the growing food crisis as a result of COVID-19. Northern California Grantmakers created the Racial Equity Action Institute, which connects racial equity specialists with leaders in philanthropy, government, business and nonprofits to learn and develop actionable strategies for change in their organizations and fields. Catalyst of San Diego and Imperial Counties is administering the Women’s Empowerment Loan Fund, an impact investing fund providing business loans to women of color entrepreneurs who don’t have access to traditional financing options. The report emphasizes that all of these actions, and many others cited in the report, were made possible because of the PSOs’ increased capacity and expertise resulting from the Satterberg Foundation’s investments.
Support from the Satterberg Foundation also provided the capacity for the three California PSOs to create an alliance that is now Philanthropy California, where the three groups work in operations, programs, public policy, membership and communications. One recent result of this alliance: the creation of the position of Senior Advisor on Social Innovation to the Governor, who works together with Philanthropy California to coordinate public-private partnerships in the state.
The foundation’s support also accelerated important shifts in each of the four PSOs that I’ve been noticing in many regional and national PSOs in recent years, including:
- Widening the scope of their organization’s vision beyond the boundaries of the philanthropy sector to look at what’s good for their broader communities.
- A stronger focus on equity, particularly racial equity.
- Shifting from a member service strategy to a change strategy, which involved the PSO taking on a bigger leadership role.
- Moving from being responsive to members’ needs to be proactive in advancing critical issues through advocacy and mobilization.
In the end, the Satterberg Foundation’s broad and deep support for these four regional PSOs has played a pivotal role in all of them becoming much more dynamic and influential leadership organizations for their regions and the broader field. They are clearly much better positioned to address whatever may come their way in the future. For example, the report notes that all four PSOs “snapped into action” to inform and mobilize their members in addressing the COVID-19 pandemic’s economic effects on nonprofits in their regions, in ways that likely would not have been possible without their added capacity. It’s worth imagining the incredibly positive impact for our sector and our communities if similar types of investments were made in all regional and national PSOs in our country.
In the report, a Satterberg Foundation representative notes that some funders still view regional PSOs as “old school”—i.e. “They do a conference,” but that the foundation views PSOs as places for “power building, movement building, policy work, building funds. They’re the place to invest for funders who really want to move an agenda and provide a regional perspective. We need them in philanthropy.”
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United Philanthropy Forum
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Several community leaders — Mario Bueno of Progreso Latino, Anthony Hubbard of YouthBuild Preparatory Academy, Cortney Nicolato of United Way, and Daniel Schliefer of New Urban Arts — published a commentary piece in the Boston Globe on the importance of investing in the capacity and sustainability of the nonprofit sector.
Rhode Island can no longer overlook, and underfund, its nonprofit sector
Over the last 19 months, Rhode Island’s nonprofit organizations have been the heart, hands and feet of Rhode Island’s relief and recovery efforts. They provided food and shelter to Rhode Islanders in need. Helped underserved communities access testing and vaccines. Supported children and families with the challenges of distance learning. Provided physical and behavioral health care. Helped isolated seniors connect with loved ones and services. Provided support and training for small businesses and social entrepreneurs. Trained workers for new jobs. Uplifted somber days with beautiful music and art.
In some ways, the last year-and-a-half has been a story of unprecedented commitment and heroism. Faced with the confluence of health, economic, and racial justice crises, Rhode Island nonprofits rose to the challenge of skyrocketing need. At great personal and organizational cost, they overcame public health restrictions, inadequate staffing, physical and emotional exhaustion, and fundraising limitations to deliver services in innovative ways. They were a lifeline to thousands of Rhode Islanders during their darkest moments.
In other ways, the commitment and heroism displayed by our state’s nonprofits during the pandemic is completely normal. It is what happens when organizations are driven by mission and collective social benefit.
Every single day, pandemic or not, quiet, essential work is done across Rhode Island by nonprofit organizations. Skilled, dedicated, compassionate staff work with limited resources to care for our neighbors, empower our children, and build flourishing communities. Community-based organizations provide the expertise, energy, and innovation to make the state’s vision for strong, equitable, prosperous cities and towns a reality. Every. Single. Day.
And every day, whether in times of crisis or plenty, the state depends on these same nonprofits to make Rhode Island lives and communities better. Yet, at nearly every turn, this vital sector is under-resourced, stretched thin, and often taken for granted.
Like the steel beams that undergird our bridges, the crucial work of our state’s nonprofits is so integral to the health and well-being of our communities that it can easily be overlooked. But like our physical infrastructure, our “civic infrastructure” of unheralded nonprofits, collaborative networks, and community-based initiatives cannot continue to carry the weight of our state’s critical needs without comprehensive, long-term investment.
United Way of Rhode Island has awarded a total of $175,029 in grants to 12 nonprofits for their work to create long-term change in the Olneyville neighborhood of Providence where United Way is located. The community investments were awarded from United Way’s special Olneyville Fund and focus on supporting the Lift United goals of its LIVE UNITED 2025 strategic plan to create opportunities for all Rhode Islanders.
A full list of grantee organizations is as follows:
- Amenity Aid
- Button Hole
- Children’s Friend and Service
- Clinica Esperanza/Hope Clinic
- Farm Fresh RI
- Girls Rock! RI
- Inspiring Minds
- Project Weber/RENEW
- Olneyville Branch: Providence Community Library
- Reach Out and Read RI
- YWCA Rhode Island
United Way established the Olneyville Community Fund in 2008 when it relocated to the neighborhood from the city’s East Side. Since, it has used the fund to invest more than $1.2 million to improve services for residents, increase the capacity of community-based organizations, and enhance public spaces.
The Rhode Island Foundation has awarded nearly $450,000 in grants to help Rhode Islanders cope with the continuing effects of the COVID-19 crisis. With these latest grants, the Foundation has awarded more than $21 million in pandemic relief since March 2020.
Grant recipients were:
- Beautiful Day
- Be the Change
- Be Great For Nate
- Cambodian Society of Rhode Island
- Centro de Innovacion Mujer Latina
- College Visions
- Hope & Main
- John Hope Settlement House
- Justice Assistance
- New Bridges for Haitian Success
- Oasis International
- Pawtucket Central Falls Development Corp.
- Project Weber/RENEW
- Rhode Island Communities for Addiction Recovery Efforts
- Rhode Island Rescue Ministeries
- RiverzEdge Arts Project
- Saint Rose’s Church Corporation
- Southside Community Land Trust
- Stages of Freedom
- Sophia Academy
- South County Habitat for Humanity
- The Herren Project
- The Parent Support Network of Rhode Island
- The Providence Center
- The Samaritans of Rhode Island
- The San Miguel School
- The Village Common
With this round of funding, Foundation has awarded more than $7.5 million in grants to more than 150 nonprofit organizations since launching its COVID-19 Response Fund last year.
In light of the humanitarian crises in Afghanistan and Haiti, we are sharing the following post from our sister organization, Grantmakers Concerned with Immigrants and Refugees (GCIR):
Safe Haven for Afghans and Haitians in Crisis
We at GCIR are heartbroken about the devastating crises unfolding in Afghanistan and Haiti. In the wake of the U.S. withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan, the collapse of the Afghan government, and the Taliban’s takeover, many Afghans are fleeing for their lives. Meanwhile, the 7.2-magnitude earthquake that recently struck Haiti heightens the urgency of Haitians seeking refuge at the southern U.S. border and the need for Haitians currently residing here to remain. As large numbers of people are being uprooted from their homes, we believe the United States can and must lead the world in protecting these refugees and offering humanitarian assistance.
In response to the events in Afghanistan, an immediate, large-scale evacuation effort and a significantly increased U.S. refugee admissions cap are imperative. Hundreds of thousands of Afghans are at risk in the wake of the Taliban takeover, tens of thousands of whom are in danger due to their association with the U.S. mission. Only 16,000 Afghans have been given protection in the United States since 2014 through the Special Immigrant Visa program, and an estimated 18,000 Afghan allies and 53,000 family members remain in the processing backlog. As the Taliban consolidates power in the coming days and weeks, the window for taking action is rapidly closing.
Haiti’s recent earthquake left at least 1,419 people dead and more than 6,900 injured, a toll that is expected to rise in the coming days. This disaster, coming on the heels of accelerating political turmoil in Haiti, makes it all the more important that Haitians already in the United States are not compelled to return to a perilous situation and that those who have fled to safety have access to asylum and humane treatment when crossing the U.S.-Mexico border. Although the Biden administration extended Temporary Protected Status (TPS) to additional Haitians in May, it is also crucial to halt deportations for Haitians present in the United States today and for Congress to establish a pathway to citizenship for TPS holders and others.
We urge philanthropy to:
- Resource organizations advocating for more robust support for refugees, including the International Refugee Assistance Program, We Are All America, and Partnership for the Advancement of New Americans.
- Support Black immigrant organizations that have been historically under-resourced, including the Haitian Bridge Alliance.
- Invest in efforts that support asylum seekers, including the Welcome with Dignity campaign.
- Fund advocacy and related efforts for a pathway to citizenship for TPS holders, such as the We Are Home campaign and Ready to Stay.
- Provide general support grants with minimal administrative hurdles to the organizations above, many of which have limited capacity and must focus their scarce resources on their core work.
- View relevant recent GCIR resources to inform your response, including our program and resources on Black immigrant leadership and our webinar Building Welcoming Communities for Tomorrow.
Beyond these current crises, the U.S. refugee resettlement system is in great need of rebuilding and strengthening. The administration is on track to admit fewer than 10,000 refugees this fiscal year–the lowest number since 1975 and well below the cap–and has merely resettled 6,200 refugees as of the end of last month. If the administration does not ramp up the pace of processing applications in the pipeline, fewer than the previous low of 11,814 refugees set under the Trump administration will enter the United States.
We at GCIR know our country can rise to our highest ideals by providing protection to those who most desperately need it and welcoming them into our communities, and we believe philanthropy has a critical role to play in helping our nation achieve that vision.