RI Foundation COVID-19 Response Fund Awards Additional $550,000 in Grants

The Rhode Island Foundation has awarded an additional $550,000 in grants from its COVID-19 Response Fund to help Rhode Islanders cope with the continuing effects of the pandemic. With these most recent grants, Foundation has awarded $7.3 million in grants since launching the fund nearly one year ago.

The latest recipients include the Dorcas International Institute in Providence, Operation Stand Down in Johnston, the Samaritans in Pawtucket, Turning Around Ministries in Newport and the WARM Shelter in Westerly.  Bradley Hospital, Crossroads Rhode Island, the Da Vinci Center, the Housing Network, the Interfaith Counseling Center, New Englanders Helping Our Veterans, Project Undercover, Project Weber/RENEW, R.I. Legal Services, the R.I. Parent Information Network, Sacred Heart Elderly Day Care and Women’s Refugee Care also received grants.

The Foundation’s COVID-19 Response Fund was launched in March 2020 initially in partnership with the United Way of Rhode Island. The $7.3 million in grants awarded to date reflect just the grantmaking by the Foundation. Nearly 150 nonprofits received grants. See the list of COVID-19 Response Fund grantees.

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.

 

RISCA Distributes COVID-19 Relief Grants to Arts Community

The RI State Council on the Arts (RISCA) has awarded close to $1 million in Covid Relief Funds (CRF) to artists, professional arts education associations, and arts and culture organizations. These grants announced today provide badly needed assistance to organizations, artists and arts educators who continue to experience economic hardship as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

or artists, the CRF assistance is being distributed through the Rhode Island Artist Relief Fund, a charitable fund set up by RISCA to help artists who have lost income due to the pandemic. A total of $321,200 was divided up into grants and distributed to 390 artists.

For arts and culture organizations, and arts education associations, the funds are being dispersed directly through RISCA.

In addition to artists, and arts and culture organizations, grant recipients include 11 organizations associated with the Rhode Island Expansion Arts Program (RIEAP) and seven culturally specific nonprofits. RIEAP is a partnership among RISCA, RI Council for the Humanities (RICH) and Rhode Island Foundation to support community-based, culturally diverse arts and cultural organizations.

The grants were specifically designed to save jobs, help cover revenue losses and additional COVID-19 costs incurred in 2020.

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.

COVID-19 Behavioral Health Fund Makes $3.7 Million in Grants

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 Supports Organizations Responding to Inequities

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.

Bank Newport Responds to COVID-19 with Donations and Volunteerism

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.

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.

More information