The Summer Learning Initiative (SLI), supported by Hasbro and United Way’s Women United announced four summer learning grant awardees — Central Falls School District, Cranston YMCA, Newport Partnership for Families, and Connecting for Children and Families.
Working with nearly two dozen local nonprofits, awardees will provide summer learning programs to young people across Rhode Island.
GCRI members Rhode Island Foundation and CVS Health led almost 70 donors in support of Rhode Island Department of Education’s (RIDE) Distance Learning Initiative. RIDE estimates that the more than $400,000 raised will fund the purchase of approximately 400 hotspots and 1,200 computers to close technology gaps for students and families.
Rhode Island Foundation made an initial challenge donation to the initiative of $100,000. CVS Health donated $150,000 to enable the Woonsocket Education Department to purchase 750 Chromebook laptops for students in grades three through five. The assistance will round out the effort to ensure that every Pre-K through grade 12 student in the district has access to technology for remote learning during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Statewide, the majority of students are able to access Distance Learning opportunities using technology provided by local education agencies. However, RIDE has identified pockets of need in some school communities, including families with multiple students or households without access to internet connectivity. The donations will be distributed to those school communities or used directly to purchase Chromebooks and hotspots.
The Fund will continue to accept charitable contributions in any amount at rifoundation.org/RIEducation as long as the need continues.
The new COVID-19 Behavioral Health Fund at the Rhode Island Foundation, funded by Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Rhode Island and Tufts Health Plan, as well as Neighborhood Health Plan and United HealthCare, has awarded $3.7 million in grants to more than three dozen organizations, including the Samaritans of Rhode Island, Bradley Hospital and Newport Mental Health to help Rhode Islanders cope with the behavioral health challenges of COVID-19. More information
Tufts Health Plan Foundation announced $170,000 in grants to 10 nonprofit organizations, part of the $1 million it committed to support community efforts addressing coronavirus in Massachusetts, Rhode Island, New Hampshire and Connecticut. In total, 49 organizations on the front lines of the pandemic have received funding.
“The resilience of our communities is inspiring,” said Tom Croswell, Tufts Health Plan president and CEO. “Nonprofits are grappling with a shifting landscape and uncertain timelines, yet they continue to respond to community needs and deliver vital services. We are proud to support such dedicated organizations.”
This funding goes to organizations working to improve access to food and respond to inequities in housing and services. It bolsters collaborative regional responses, particularly in communities reporting the highest rates of COVID-19 infection. In Rhode Island, Federal Hill House and Progreso Latino received funding.
Earlier this year, before the onset of COVID-19, 35 employee volunteers from BankNewport and its sister agency, OceanPoint Insurance, participated in a meal-packaging project with the United Way of Rhode Island. In just two hours, the team packaged 12,000 meals for local food pantries, including FabNewport, the MLK Community Center, East Bay Community Action Program, and We Share Hope, a contribution that unknowingly would fill an immediate need.
As the pandemic grew, the Bank’s Community Fund Committee redirected its grant funds to extend immediate financial support with grants totaling $250,000 to the Rhode Island Foundation and United Way of Rhode Island COVID-19 Response Fund, and most recently a $100,000 grant to the Rhode Island Community Food Bank. In addition, more than $78,000 in sponsorship funds earmarked for nonprofit fundraising events were released to help meet their immediate needs. OceanPoint Insurance also contributed $2,500 to the COVID-19 Response Fund at the United Way during 401 Gives Day.
In addition to its ongoing community support, BankNewport has been working around the clock to fulfill loan requests for small businesses through the Paycheck Protection Program, as well as an emergency micro loan program in partnership with Rhode Island Commerce, the Rhode Island Hospitality Association, and the Local Initiatives Support Corporation. Through these programs to date, BankNewport has awarded a total of $101.5 million in loans to approximately 1,200 small businesses in Rhode Island, including restaurants, retailers, and sole proprietors. The Bank has also waived fees as part of its customer assistance program.
Five New England community organizations received $10,000 grants to help address the COVID-19 pandemic from Tufts Health Plan Foundation through a program engaging Tufts Health Plan employees in grantmaking.
These grants were made through a program involving Tufts Health Plan’s five business resource groups (BRGs). Each BRG recommended an organization aligned with its affinity to receive a grant from the Foundation. The Foundation doubled the funding available for this year’s grants, recognizing community organizations need additional resources as they find new ways to deliver services and supports while addressing an increase in demand during the coronavirus pandemic. Prism, the LGBTQ and allies BRG selected Crossroads Rhode Island for a grant for their programming to secure stable homes for people who are experiencing homelessness or at-risk, including youth who identify as LGBTQ+. More information
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.
CVS Health announced its commitment to flattening the “second curve,” the less visible but escalating mental health crisis resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic. To help address America’s expanding mental and emotional wellbeing needs, the company is enhancing its nationwide mental health programming effort with new charitable investments focused on health care workers, essential workers and seniors.
Since March 1, CVS Health has seen a 200 percent increase in virtual mental health visits as compared to the same period last year, as well as substantial increases in calls for help with psychological distress including anxiety, grief and loss, and trauma. Health care workers are under extreme stress and anxiety fighting to save lives, while in many cases, isolating themselves after shifts to keep their own family safe. Self-isolation also affects older adults whose only social contacts are outside of their homes.
CVS Health will increase access to the following resources through targeted financial support:
- Supporting Americares COVID-19 Mental Health and Psychosocial Support (MHPSS) Project with a $500,000 contribution from the Aetna Foundation to help frontline health care workers, particularly those who serve low-income populations, improve their mental health awareness, knowledge and resiliency, and understand the mental health concerns impacting their patients.
- Expert crisis support for frontline health care and essential workers through Crisis Text Line via a $300,000 grant from the Aetna Foundation. For the Frontlines is a dedicated effort to provide 24/7 confidential direct mental health support for those on the frontlines, including health care workers dealing with the stress, anxiety, fear, depression and/or isolation associated with COVID-19. Health care and essential workers can text FRONTLINE to 741741 from anywhere in the U.S. to communicate with a trained volunteer crisis counselor at no cost.
CVS Health is also making Aetna’s Resources for Living (RFL) program available to everyone, which includes phone support, assistance for employers, support for basic needs, as well as educational resources.
Finally, CVS Health is offering increased support for its own employees through various resources that help build mental health resilience, cope with uncertainty, reduce stress and stay connected. These services will be delivered with 7 Cups, an online platform that connects people to a caring, emotionally supportive volunteer listener to prevent depression and anxiety.
GCRI member Hasbro Inc. has partnered with a local games manufacturer, Cartamundi, to produce 50,000 face shields per week. The masks will be donated to hospitals in Massachusetts and Rhode Island.
“We are grateful for the opportunity to work together with our partners at Cartamundi to produce much-needed personal protective equipment, to directly assist the critical needs of front-line medical workers in our community,” said John Frascotti, president and chief operating officer of Hasbro. “Throughout this challenging time, Hasbro is committed to using our brands, our resources and our expertise to help make a difference.”