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

 

Citizens Announces $5 Million Commitment to Communities Impacted by COVID-19

Citizens Bank announced a $5 million commitment to support communities and businesses dealing with impacts of the coronavirus pandemic. These resources will back both a number of broad-based community support initiatives across the Citizens service area as well as specialized programs focused on providing aid to small businesses and their workforces.

“Responding to the needs of the communities we serve is at the heart of the Citizens Credo and we stand ready to help our neighbors during this unprecedented time,” said Bruce Van Saun, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Citizens Financial Group. “Through this initiative we will focus on addressing immediate community needs, while providing aid to small businesses so they can get back on their feet more quickly.”

The bank’s COVID-19 support effort will have two components:

  • A Community Support Relief program that will provide charitable contributions to community partners to assist with wider relief efforts. One example of this is charitable contributions to be committed to broad-based relief funds in Massachusetts, Pennsylvania and Rhode Island, with others to be determined. Longer term, the company plans to work with community partners to identify solutions to address changing needs.
  • A Small Business Relief and Recovery program that will provide charitable contributions and other assistance aimed at helping small businesses restore full operations, rehire and recover in the months to come.

In addition to the resources for small business relief announced today, Citizens will implement several initiatives that will enable customers and colleagues to lend their support. These include enabling users of the bank’s cash-back credit cards to designate all or part of their cash rewards to the relief and recovery fund. Further, Citizens will create a mechanism through which customers, colleagues and others can donate to support the effort.

In addition to providing new funding, Citizens removed programmatic restrictions on 2020 funding to non-profit partners to allow support to be diverted to the areas of greatest need.

Van Saun added: “While the short term impacts of the coronavirus pandemic will present unique challenges for all of us, it is important that banks step up and play a critical role in helping provide economic stability to our communities. Citizens looks forward to continuing to support our community partners and customers throughout this difficult time.”

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.”

 

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.

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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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.

CVS Health Foundation President Honored for Commitment to Free Clinics

The National Association of Free & Charitable Clinics awarded their 2019 Safety Net Health Care Champion Award to Eileen Howard Boone, senior vice president of corporate social responsibility and philanthropy for CVS Health and president of the CVS Health Foundation.

The annual award highlights the important work being done across the country to provide affordable, accessible health care to the medically underserved. It honors an individual who through their actions has made an extraordinary impact on the organization, the Free and Charitable Clinic and Charitable Pharmacy community, and most importantly their patients.

“Under Eileen Howard Boone’s leadership, our member organizations have grown in their ability to support their communities and their patients” NAFC President and Chief Executive Officer Nicole Lamoureux said. “Her personal commitment to the medically underserved in our country is evident; she is a thought leader when it comes to philanthropy, enhancing partnerships and expanding health care access to the medically underserved in the country.”

Since launching the partnership with the NAFC, the CVS Health Foundation in conjunction with CVS Health has provided close to $8 Million in funding to Free and Charitable Clinics, Charitable Pharmacies and State Associations in 45 states across the country. This support has allowed the NAFC’s organizational members to provide care to over tens of thousands of additional people, added thousands of hours of operations and helped save over 12 million dollars in avoided emergency room costs.

More information on the NAFC partnership with CVS Health and the CVS Health Foundation

Tufts Health Plan Foundation Mini-Grants Support Community-led Healthy Aging Work

Forty community-based organizations each will receive a Momentum Fund mini-grant of up to $10,000 from Tufts Health Plan Foundation. Now in its second year, the fund was established to foster promising ideas and support cities and towns in their efforts to make their communities better places to grow up and grow old.

“These mini-grants make it possible for organizations to build on community insights,” said Nora Moreno Cargie, president of Tufts Health Plan Foundation and vice president of corporate citizenship at Tufts Health Plan. “We know the best ideas come from cities and towns as they reimagine aging.”

The Momentum Fund is supporting 10 projects in Rhode Island. Each is community-led, addresses healthy aging and includes older people in the planning and implementation process. The projects address the social determinants of health, including access to healthy food and affordable housing. Several projects provide support for people living with dementia and promote healthy aging in multicultural communities.

“Many of the Momentum Fund recipients are taking on new programs or projects to make their communities more age- and dementia-friendly,” said Phillip González, the Foundation’s senior program officer. “We look forward to learning with them.”

The Foundation convened review committees in each state to inform the grantmaking process. Review committee members have diverse backgrounds and experience, and will ensure that learning and insights are shared across Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Rhode Island.

The 2019 Momentum Fund grant recipients in Rhode Island are Cranston Senior Services ; Family Service of Rhode Island; Healthcentric Advisors; Hope’s Harvest Rhode Island ;
LMW Healthcare, Inc.; Meals on Wheels of Rhode Island, Inc.; Progreso Latino, Inc.; Rhode Island Community Food Bank; SAGE-RI; SAGE-RI; The Providence Village of Rhode Island.

CVS Health Partners with Alzheimer’s Association

GCRI member CVS Health and the Alzheimer’s Association announced a three-year corporate partnership aimed at fighting Alzheimer’s disease – a disease impacting more than 5 million Americans and 16 million caregivers across the country. The partnership is launching with an in-store fundraising campaign that will provide $10 million to support Alzheimer’s Association programs, including those aimed at caregiver education, care and support, and disease research.

“I know from my own experience caring for my mother as she battled Alzheimer’s how important it is to support both the patient and the caregivers in that patient’s life,” said Kevin Hourican, Executive Vice President, CVS Health and President, CVS Pharmacy. “Our partnership with the Alzheimer’s Association will fund important programs to help our customers who are caring for a loved one with Alzheimer’s or another dementia, while also connecting them to needed resources and services that can support them.”

The in-store fundraising campaign, which launched Sunday, November 3, will run at the 9,900 CVS Pharmacy locations nationwide through November 23. During these three weeks, CVS Pharmacy customers will have the opportunity to contribute to the Alzheimer’s Association at the register in CVS Pharmacy locations nationwide. The in-store fundraising campaign will repeat the next two Novembers, coinciding with National Alzheimer’s Disease Awareness Month and National Family Caregivers Month.

Throughout November, the Alzheimer’s Association and CVS Health will communicate with customers about tips and resources available to support family caregivers. Currently, more than 16 million family members and friends are serving as Alzheimer’s caregivers. Nearly half of all caregivers (48 percent) who provide help to older adults do so for someone with Alzheimer’s or another dementia. Some of the proceeds from the campaign will be used by the Alzheimer’s Association to develop a new caregiver education program for in-person and online delivery in English and Spanish.

In conjunction with the partnership, beginning in 2020, CVS Health will also serve as a national presenting sponsor of the Alzheimer’s Association Walk to End Alzheimer’s, held annually in more than 600 communities across the country. CVS Health will also participate in the event, joining the National Walk Team Program, providing its 295,000 employees across the country an opportunity to join in the fight against Alzheimer’s.

“The Alzheimer’s Association is grateful for the commitment and enthusiasm CVS Health brings to the fight against Alzheimer’s,” McCullough said. “The funds raised through our partnership will bolster our efforts to support families facing Alzheimer’s and advance much needed research that will one day change the future for millions.”

BCBSRI Launches Rhode Island Life Index

Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Rhode Island (BCBSRI), through a partnership with the Brown University School of Public Health (Brown), unveiled a report summarizing a new data resource – the RI Life Index – based on interviews conducted with more than 2,200 Rhode Islanders about life factors influencing health and well-being in the state.

The survey results, representing Rhode Islanders’ perceptions about their own health and well-being, as well as that of their community, offer a first-of-its-kind, unique window into what state residents believe to be significant challenges as well as community strengths.

The RI Life Index showed strengths in the following areas: availability of safe and reliable transportation; access to affordable, nutritious food; availability and quality of civic, social, and healthcare services for seniors and the ability to age in place; and programs and services available for children. In contrast, respondents had lower perceptions of the availability of quality affordable housing, job opportunities and job training programs.

“At Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Rhode Island, our vision to passionately lead a state of health and well-being across Rhode Island was the impetus for creating this index. As a proud local company celebrating 80 years, we are committed to building a healthier Rhode Island,” said Kim Keck, BCBSRI president and CEO. “The RI Life Index confirms something we’ve seen reported at the national level – when it comes to health outcomes and overall well-being, zip code is more important than genetic code. Where people are born and live in Rhode Island has a profound impact on their lives.”

Keck continued, “Using the RI Life Index data as a foundation, for the first time in our company history we will launch BlueAngel Community Health Grants (BACHG) focused on housing, complementing our existing philanthropic investments.”

BCBSRI unveiled the RI Life Index at an event that included remarks from Keck and Bess Marcus, Ph.D., dean of the Brown School of Public Health. Melissa Clark, Ph.D., professor of health service, policy and practice, and director of the Survey Research Center at the School of Public Health, presented the RI Life Index and talked about the research she and her team conducted.

“The School of Public Health worked to develop and ensure the highest quality data collection for the Life Index survey in order to capture the perceptions of health and well-being from Rhode Islanders,” said Brown professor of health service, policy and practice Melissa Clark. “As many residents of Rhode Island already know, social determinants of health, such as the cost of housing and employment issues, often make it incredibly challenging for many families to experience the highest quality of health and well-being.”

The RI Life Index survey was conducted in April and May 2019 with randomly selected Rhode Island residents from across the state. The survey focused on social determinants of health, as well as topic areas specific to older adults, children, social integration and access to healthcare. The survey also asked about the opioid epidemic, access to mental health and substance use treatment, discrimination in healthcare and emergency room use.

Using the data, percent of the possible (POP) scores were created for various aspects of health and well-being in a community. This allowed for the combination of multiple indicators into a single score, allowing for easier observation of targeted areas for improvement, as well as community strengths. Scores ranging from 0 to 100 show how close the community is to the ideal, with a higher POP score indicating moving toward a healthier community. Scores were also determined factoring in geography, age and income.

“The Rhode Island Life Index is truly a data resource, one that will guide us in how we assist boots-on-the-ground organizations in their essential work to improve the lives of all Rhode Islanders,” said Keck. “This is just the beginning. Armed with our vision and these data, BCBSRI will develop new approaches – and strengthen existing programs – to address health disparities and gaps in health outcomes. And that effort will start by directing our BACHG competitive grant program to support initiatives that result in more Rhode Islanders being able to access safe, healthy and stable housing in 2020.”