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.

Tufts Health Plan Employee Groups Provide Grants for COVID-19 Response

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

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.

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Tufts Health Plan Foundation Announces Second Wave of Funding to Address Coronavirus Impact

Tufts Health Plan Foundation announced funding to 18 additional nonprofit organizations as part of the $1 million it has committed to support community efforts on behalf of older people affected by the coronavirus. This second wave of funding, totaling $345,000, focuses on housing and equity efforts in Massachusetts, Rhode Island, New Hampshire and Connecticut.

The organizations include housing providers, those working with people experiencing homelessness and immigrant communities, and several serving as hubs for collaborative regional responses.

In Rhode Island, grantees in the current wave of funding were House of Hope Community Development Corporation and Saint Elizabeth Community.

The Foundation also is accelerating payments to current grantees, easing the financial pressure they are facing. These payments will give community organizations an additional $1.5 million to support emerging priorities.

“As the coronavirus spreads throughout our region, it is clear communities of color and organizations serving older people are disproportionately affected,” said Nora Moreno Cargie, president of Tufts Health Plan Foundation and vice president for corporate citizenship at Tufts Health Plan. “Organizations working with those most at risk are a priority for the Foundation. More resources are essential to help all our communities face this public health crisis.”

The Foundation continues to offer a two-for-one match to Tufts Health Plan employees and board members who donate to organizations during the pandemic. To date, an additional $55,000 has been contributed to community organizations through this program.

RI COVID-19 Response Fund Awards $1.2 Million to Local Nonprofits

United Way of Rhode Island and the Rhode Island Foundation have announced the first round of funding for local nonprofit agencies at the forefront of COVID-19 response.

$1.2 million in grants will be distributed to 27 local agencies in the coming days.

Grantees will use the funding to provide direct service to Rhode Islanders impacted by COVID-19. Funds will go toward food, personal care products, and assistance with household expenses. Additionally, funding was awarded to health centers, community centers, and shelters as they face unprecedented challenges to maintaining operations and delivering services to those most in need.

Read the full list of grantees.

A joint grants review committee — composed of team members from United Way and the Foundation — are working together to review applications and make funding decisions in real-time.

“We are hearing from the nonprofit community every day about the disruption to services caused by this pandemic. Being able to quickly support them, and Rhode Islanders with their most basic needs, has the ability to not only provide comfort but also to save lives,” said United Way of Rhode Island president and CEO Cortney Nicolato.

“As this health crisis will continue for some time, I am grateful for every donor who has stepped up so far, for the donations to come, and to every nonprofit employee who continues to show up, every day, to take care of our families and neighbors.”

Together, United Way of Rhode Island and the Rhode Island Foundation established the COVID-19 Response Fund on March 17 and have raised more than $5.2 million in contributions.

“Throughout the entire state, nonprofit organizations are stepping up to assist neighbors in need during this unprecedented and uncertain time. It’s truly heartening to see the response,” said Neil D. Steinberg, president and CEO of the Foundation.

“We’re committed to getting this funding to where it is needed the most. Thanks to our generous donors, these grants will provide a safety net to support many Rhode Islanders. We also welcome more donations to the fund, so that we are able to continue meeting community need.”

Gifts to the fund can be made in any amount. Donations will be accepted as long as the need continues.


 

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.

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.

Textron Volunteers (and Golf Carts) Connect Veterans to Services at Operation Stand Down RI

Textron employees volunteered at Operation Stand Down RI, an event that provides access to social and supportive services for military veterans. With the donation of seven E-Z-GO golf cars and the many volunteers that gave of their time, the Textron team was able to provide shuttles around the site to allow veterans take advantage of all the services offered at the event.

Volunteers drove veterans to and from the different tents to get haircuts, massages, career advice, clothing, legal counsel and complimentary meals.

Erik Wallin, Executive Director of Operation Stand Down RI said, “On behalf of the over 450 veterans served at this year’s annual Stand Down Weekend, Operation Stand Down RI wishes to thank Textron for donating the use of golf cars to transport veterans and service providers. We also express our gratitude to the dozens of Textron employees who volunteered their time over three days and showed such compassion towards our veterans who came for life changing services. The dedicated team of Textron volunteers honored our local veterans by their own service as they have done for the past several years.”

“It was a privilege, and such a small token of my appreciation to do something for our veterans who have sacrificed so much for this country,” says Al Casazza, Director of Global Services and Real Estate. “I’m looking forward to doing it again next year.”

Tufts Health Plan Employees Designate $25,000 to Local Nonprofits

Community organizations aiding veterans, single mothers with low incomes, LGBTQ+ Rhode Islanders experiencing homelessness, immigrants and those with intellectual and developmental disabilities will each receive a $5,000 grant as a result of a program engaging Tufts Health Plan employees in grantmaking.

“This grant program is an opportunity for our business resource groups to recommend nonprofit organizations addressing important community issues,” said Tufts Health Plan president and CEO Tom Croswell, who also serves on the Tufts Health Plan Foundation board of directors. “Giving back isn’t just something we do; it’s part of our culture. I’m incredibly proud of the dedicated employees who demonstrate their commitment to the community through this program and each and every day.”

Each of Tufts Health Plan’s five business resource groups (BRGs) nominated an organization aligned with their affinity to receive a grant from the Tufts Health Plan Foundation.  Two Rhode Island organizations were beneficiaries of the grants, Crossroads Rhode Island and Operation Stand Down Rhode Island.

·        Prism, the LGBTQ and allies BRG, recommended Crossroads Rhode Island, an organization that provides services and supports to LGBTQ residents of Rhode Island. The grant will support Crossroads’ programming that assists LGBTQ individuals with shelter, food and other services. (Providence, R.I.)

·        Veterans & Military, the veterans and allies BRG, recommended Operation Stand Down Rhode Island, an organization that connects military veterans with services, supports and job opportunities. The grant will support the annual Stand Down Weekend outreach event, where hundreds of veterans are connected to services and supports from agencies across Rhode Island. (Johnston, R.I.)

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