Rhode Island Foundation Awards $250,000 Grant for Community Narcan Distribution

The Rhode Island Foundation announced a $250,000 grant to purchase thousands of Narcan opioid overdose prevention kits for community-based recovery and harm reduction organizations across the state. A record 384 Rhode Islanders died of a drug overdose last year, according to the Rhode Island Department of Health (RIDOH).

The grant comes at a time when naloxone (also known as Narcan) supplies are seriously depleted. Drug overdose deaths increased 25 percent last year compared to 2019, according to RIDOH, and preliminary data indicate that 2021 could be even worse. Additionally, the street drug supply is increasingly lethal due to the presence of the very strong opioid, fentanyl. The number of people at risk for opioid overdose is greater than ever, according to RIDOH, and the funding will provide about a two-month supply of the lifesaving emergency antidote.

The grant to the University of Rhode Island will enable the Community First Responder Program (CFRP) at its College of Pharmacy to purchase approximately 3,000 Narcan kits for distribution to community-based recovery and harm reduction organizations.

Narcan kits are routinely carried by law enforcement and emergency medical personnel as well as mobile outreach workers from community-based recovery and harm reduction organizations. These organizations use weekly data from RIDOH to deploy their mobile outreach teams to overdose hotspots throughout Rhode Island and connect those at risk to harm reduction supplies, basic needs, treatment and recovery services as needed. The Narcan kits come with two doses of naloxone nasal spray that can be dispensed directly into the nostrils of someone who is overdosing.

According to RIDOH, three out of every four overdose deaths in 2020 involved fentanyl, which is often found in counterfeit pills being illicitly sold as oxycodone, Adderall or benzodiazepines. These counterfeit pills are even more lethal when crushed and snorted. Fentanyl can also be present in powders such as heroin, cocaine and other drugs.

The funding for the Foundation’s grant comes in part from the Behavioral Health Fund, which was created with funding from Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Rhode Island.

Resources for People Who Use Drugs and Their Loved Ones

  • Call Rhode Island’s 24/7 Buprenorphine Hotline401-606-5456, for help if you or someone you care about is experiencing opioid withdrawal. Callers can speak with a healthcare provider, learn about Medication Assisted Treatment (MAT) options, and make a plan for treatment and recovery support.
  • Call BH Link401-414-LINK (5465), for immediate assistance with a mental health or substance use crisis. People can also visit BH Link’s drop-in center at 975 Waterman Ave. in East Providence. English and Spanish-speaking counselors are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week to offer support and connect callers to local resources.

United Way Invests $175,000 in Olneyville

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
  • FirstWorks
  • 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.

BankNewport’s “Kind Heart Fresh Start” Drive Collects Supplies for People Experiencing Homelessness

BankNewport’s “Kind Heart Fresh Start” drive collected more than 4,700 items – socks and toiletries – from its employees and members of the community to be distributed to Amenity Aid, Crossroads Rhode Island in Providence, Welcome House of South County, the Woonsocket Family Shelter, and Lucy’s Hearth in Middletown. More than 1,000 individuals in need will be impacted by the contributions.

“Kind Heart Fresh Start” was designed to engage customers, employees, and the public to make a positive impact in Rhode Island throughout the month of August. Donations of new adult and children’s socks and new/unused/unopened personal care items, specifically toothbrushes, toothpaste, shampoo, deodorant, and bars of soap were collected at BankNewport’s 17 branches across the state and the BankNewport City Center in Providence.

In addition to the collection drive, BankNewport and OceanPoint Insurance employees were encouraged to complete acts of kindness at work and in their communities. Dozens of acts were performed and included helping a senior neighbor with yard work and bringing trash bins to the curb each week, donating gently used clothing and children’s books, going for a walk and picking up trash along the way, giving out treats and fresh water to dogs on National Dog Day.

Nonprofits Receive Nearly $450,000 to Help Rhode Islanders Cope with Continuing Effects of COVID-19 Crisis

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.

Safe Haven for Afghans and Haitians in Crisis — Guest Post from GCIR

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:

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.

More information on Grantmakers Concerned with Immigrants and Refugees

Final $380,000 in Vax Challenge Grants Provided to RI Nonprofits

Nonprofits on the frontlines of responding to the COVID-19 crisis have been awarded another $380,000 in grants in the final phases of the RI Gives Vax Challenge. The funding was triggered as a result of the more than 25,000 Rhode Islanders who got vaccinated since the program was launched in July. More than 81 percent of adult Rhode Islanders are now at least partially vaccinated

The RI Gives Vax Challenge encouraged Rhode Islanders to get vaccinated by awarding grants to nonprofits that supported the general COVID-19 response and recovery every time another 5,000 people were vaccinated. As a result of hitting the 20,000- and 25,000-vaccination milestones, another 38 nonprofits from across Rhode Island received $10,000 grants in the final phases of the initiative.

With the final rounds of grants, the Foundation has awarded $750,000 to 75 organizations in partnership with Gov. McKee, the Rhode Island Commerce Department and the Rhode Island Department of Health.

The RI Gives Vax challenge supports public health initiatives, bolstering the steadfast work of Rhode Island nonprofits and securing stable footing as the state moves into the next phase of pandemic recovery and response.

The other recipients of the Round 4 and Round 5 grants are Amenity Aid, Capital City Community Centers, Central Falls Family Self Sufficiency Foundation, Clothes to Kids RI, Foster Forward, Hope’s Harvest RI, Interfaith Counseling Center, Jonnycake Center of Peace Dale, Lucy’s Hearth, McAuley Ministries, New Beginnings, Operation Stand Down, Progreso Latino, Providence Rescue Mission, Rhode Island for Community & Justice, We Share Hope, Alliance of Rhode Island Southeast Asians for Education, Boys & Girls Clubs of Newport County, Boys & Girls Club of Pawtucket, Bridgemark, CartwheelRI, Centro de Innovacion Mujer Latina,  Clinica Esperanza/Hope Clinic, Elizabeth Buffum Chace Center, Good Neighbors, Housing Hotline, Inspiring Minds, Mentor Rhode Island, Open Doors, New Urban Arts, Pocasset Pokanoket Land Trust, Rhode Island Center Assisting Those in Need, Silver Lake Community Center,  St. Martin de Porres Senior Center, West End Community Center, West Warwick Senior Center. 

15 More Nonprofits Receive RI Gives Vax Challenge Grants

Fifteen nonprofits on the frontlines of responding to the COVID-19 crisis received $150,000 in grants in the latest round of the RI Gives Vax Challenge. This third round of funding recognized the milestone that more than 15,000 people have now gotten their first dose of the vaccine since the program was launched on July 6. Nearly 80 percent of adult Rhode Islanders are now at least partially vaccinated.

The Vax Challenge encourages Rhode Islanders to get vaccinated by awarding grants to nonprofits that supported the general COVID-19 response and recovery every time another 5,000 people get vaccinated. As a result of reaching the 15,000-vaccination mark, another 15 nonprofits from across Rhode Island received $10,000 grants.

The recipients of the third round of grants are Better Lives Rhode Island, Blackstone Valley Advocacy Center, Conexion Latina Newport, DaVinci Center for Community Progress, Domestic Violence Resource Center of South County, East Bay Food Pantry, Higher Ground International, Housing Network of Rhode Island, Man Up, Mathewson Street United Methodist Church, Newport Community School, Oasis International, Project Undercover, Rhode Island Center for Justice, Rhode Island Chapter, American Red Cross.

An additional two rounds of grants totaling $380,000 could be awarded each time Rhode Island administers an additional 5,000 first COVID-19 vaccine doses as reported by the Rhode Island Department of Health.

For the next 5,000 new vaccinations, $180,000 will be awarded to 18 nonprofits; $200,000 will be distributed to 20 nonprofits in the fifth and final round when an additional 5,000 people are vaccinated.

Jointly established by Governor McKee, Commerce Rhode Island, the Rhode Island Department of Health, and the Foundation, the RI Gives Vax Challenge has now awarded $370,000 in grants to 37 nonprofits through the first three rounds.

Nonprofits Share $100,000 in First Round of Vax Challenge Grants

Ten nonprofits from across Rhode Island will receive $10,000 apiece in the first round of funding from the Vax Challenge, which awards grants to nonprofits on the frontlines of the COVID-19 pandemic every time an additional 5,000 Rhode Islanders are vaccinated.

Jointly established by Governor Dan McKee, the Rhode Island Commerce Department, the Rhode Island Department of Health and the Rhode Island Foundation in early July, the Vax Challenge encourages Rhode Islanders to get vaccinated by offering grants to nonprofits that supported the general COVID-19 response and recovery.

The recipients of the initial round of grants are Access To Recovery, Adoption Rhode Island, Boys & Girls Clubs of Northern Rhode Island, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Community Center, Elisha Project, Pawtucket Soup Kitchen, Refugee Development Center, Rhode Island Free Clinic, Southern Rhode Island Volunteers, WARM Center.

The budget for the fund is $750,000 to be allocated in grants of $10,000 to Rhode Island 501(c)(3) nonprofit organizations. The state provided $500,000 and the Foundation contributed $250,000. Up to an additional four rounds of grants could be awarded each time Rhode Island administers an additional 5,000 first COVID-19 vaccine doses as reported by the Rhode Island Department of Health.

“Getting your COVID-19 vaccine is a way to keep yourself and your loved ones healthier and safer, and a way to support the critical network of nonprofit organizations that have been doing so much for Rhode Islanders since day one of this pandemic,” said Director of Health Nicole Alexander-Scott. “Hitting this RI Gives Vax Challenge benchmark is great, but we have a lot more vaccinating to do. It’s never been easier to get a shot. If you have not been vaccinated yet, do your part and get vaccinated today.”

The Rhode Island Foundation will accept applications from interested nonprofits at rifoundation.org/vax through July 30.

To learn more about vaccinations and to sign up today, visit vaccinateri.gov. The RI Gives Vax Challenge Tracker can be found here: https://ri-department-of-health-covid-19-vaccine-incentive-rihealth.hub.arcgis.com/

Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Rhode Island Announces Blue Angel Community Partners

Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Rhode Island (BCBSRI) announced the 13 community partners for its tenth annual day of service this fall to support the health and well-being of Rhode Islanders.

Since the day’s inception, BCBSRI employees have signed up to provide support for tasks at 118 service day projects, including curating outdoor spaces, packaging footwear for children impacted by homelessness, building affordable and safe homes, creating meal kits for distribution by local food banks and conducting impactful projects virtually.

In addition to volunteer support, project sites will receive a financial contribution of $5,000 from BCBSRI to support their work. Since the inaugural Blue across Rhode Island in 2012, employees have provided more than 30,000 volunteer hours and the company has donated more than $605,000 in funding to nearly 70 agencies around the state.

Recognized nationally as a “Best in Class” volunteer initiative, Blue across Rhode Island has become not only a signature event for BCBSRI employees, but also an invaluable resource for the organizations and those involved – making a lasting impact on the lives of more than 133,000 people throughout the state.

The local organizations selected for Blue across Rhode Island 2021 and the projects BCBSRI employees will work on include 134 Collaborative, Amenity Aid, Boys & Girls Club of Northern Rhode Island, Children’s Friend, Gotta Have Sole Foundation, Habitat for Humanity of Greater Providence, South County Habitat for HumanityHappy Hope Foundation, Hope Alzheimer’s Center, NeighborWorks Blackstone River Valley, Partnership for Providence Parks, Recs & Streetscapes, Playworks New England, Riverzedge Arts. 

BankNewport Awards $212,000 in Grants to Local Businesses and Nonprofits

BankNewport has distributed $212,000 in grants focused on food insecurity, health services, education and skills training, and underserved populations, in support of nonprofits that had their operations and outreach impacted by the pandemic. Among the notable awards is a $100,000 grant to the Newport County YMCA for its Building Campaign.

The grant recipients are Comprehensive Community Action Program, East Bay Food Pantry, Newport Hospital Foundation’s Expansion of the Vanderbilt Rehabilitation Center, Inspiring Minds, Providence Public Library, RI Philharmonic Orchestra and Music School, San Miguel School, Star Kids Scholarship Program, Newport County YMCA Building Campaign, Big Brothers Big Sisters RI, College Visions, Jonnycake Center for Hope, St. Vincent DePaul Society, St. Joseph, Newport, Visiting Nurse Home & Hospice, VNA of Care New England and Project Goal.

Grantmakers Council of Rhode Island