Collette Hosts New Pawtucket/Central Falls COVID-19 Outreach

GCRI member Collette has announced that it will serve as a partner and section leader of the CFP BEAT COVID-19 initiative. Colette will be contributing to the leadership of the CFP BEAT COVID-19 incident command team, providing the entire enterprise with logistical support, including information management services and phone banking.

“We are proud to support the efforts of both the City of Pawtucket and Central Falls,” said Mike Vendetti, Director of Property Safety and Security at Collette. “We know that this is such an important task to benefit the community as a whole.”

The CFP BEAT COVID-19 initiative has committed itself to reach out to every single household in the two cities, so that every resident in the cities knows what to do and who to call the moment they get sick due to the exponentially growing numbers of positive cases.

“We are deeply grateful for the resources and workforce that Collette and the Sullivan family have committed to this effort. There is no better corporate citizen anywhere,” said Pawtucket Mayor Donald R. Grebien. “We estimate that nearly 50,000 people in Pawtucket and Central Falls do not have a primary health care doctor. Collette’s invaluable assistance will help us reach out to every single household in our two cities”

“Roughly 45% of the Covid-19 positive tests are Latino, and Central Falls and Pawtucket cases continue to increase exponentially,” said Central Falls Mayor James A. Diossa. “Bringing an organization like Collette has come to our rescue, in a way that we hope will allow us to reduce the spread of Covid-19 in our communities.”

“People are positive at a very high rate in Pawtucket and Central Falls,” said Michael Fine, M.D, Medical Director of CFP BEAT COVID-19 initiative. “At Blackstone Valley Community Health Care, Central Falls and Pawtucket residents are testing at 36% and 33% Covid-19 positive respectively. This is nearly three times the state average rate. Our communities are a likely hotspot.  We are very grateful to Colette Travel so we can together make sure that people are getting tested and isolating accordingly when sick.”

As part of the CFP BEAT COVID-19 initiative, the Mayors and Care New England have announced a Coronavirus testing site that has more than triple the capacity of existing test sites in the Blackstone Valley as a first step. The team is now working on the next step to combat Covid-19, aiming to create a telephone consultation service for people in our cities who do not have primary care physicians.

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.

RIDOH Announces New Health Equity Zones

The Rhode Island Department of Health (RIDOH) announced that expanded support and funding to three new communities to establish Health Equity Zones. East Providence, Cranston, and Providence’s West End neighborhood were chosen through a competitive process that drew nearly 20 applicants from communities across the State. These new communities will share approximately $1.4 million in funding with seven existing Health Equity Zones receiving support to continue their work in local communities.

RIDOH’s Health Equity Zone initiative is an innovative, place-based approach that brings people together to build healthy, resilient communities across Rhode Island. The initiative is grounded in research that shows up to 80% of health outcomes are determined by factors outside clinical settings, such as access to affordable, healthy foods; high-quality education; employment opportunities; and safe neighborhoods. The model encourages and equips community members and partners to collaborate to address factors like these and create healthy places for people to live, learn, work, and play.

“We are thrilled to expand our Health Equity Zones initiative to additional Rhode Island communities,” said Director of Health Nicole Alexander-Scott, MD, MPH. “With plans for strong mentorship from existing Health Equity Zones, these communities are taking the forces that shape their health and well-being into their own hands. I can’t wait to see what they accomplish over the next few years as we continue to lift up this initiative as a national model of how such an infrastructure led by community members can create the conditions needed for every person to thrive.”

Each successful application was submitted by a municipal or nonprofit, community-based organization that will serve as the “backbone agency” for the local Health Equity Zone. These agencies, which include East Bay Community Action Program, Comprehensive Community Action Plan, and West Elmwood Housing Corporation, will facilitate a community-led process to organize a collaborative of community partners, conduct a needs assessment, and implement a data-driven plan of action to address the obstacles to health and well-being in local neighborhoods. RIDOH will provide seed funding and support to ensure that communities ground their work in public health principles and best practices, so that measurable outcomes are reached and evaluated.

 

 

Nine Nonprofits Receive Grants from HarborOne Foundation Rhode Island

Harbor One Foundation Rhode Island announced that nine nonprofit organizations in the Greater Providence have received a combined $32,500 in financial support for their work helping children and families.  The foundation focuses its support on organizations that provide educational opportunities, create access to “safe and affordable” housing, and “deliver basic human services to our most vulnerable citizens.”

“It is an honor to be able to help organizations that make such an amazing impact in our community and positively affect so many lives,” said HarborOne Foundation Rhode Island President William White in a statement.

James Blake, CEO of HarborOne Bank, noted that the bank has been “warmly welcomed” into the Rhode Island community and that the foundation is “one way that we can help that community and the people and organizations in it to thrive.”

The grants each organization received ranged from $1,000 to $5,000. The organizations that received grant funding from the foundation are NeighborWorks Blackstone River Valley, Olneyville Housing Corp./One Neighborhood Builders, Sojourner House Inc, West Elmwood Housing Development Corp., Pawtucket School Department, The Miriam Hospital Foundation, Adoption Rhode Island, Young Voices and Big Brothers Big Sisters of Rhode Island.

BCBSRI Grants $80K to Rhode Island Free Clinic

In honor of its 80th anniversary, GCRI Member Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Rhode Island (BCBSRI) has awarded an $80,000 grant to the Rhode Island Free Clinic, bringing the total awarded to the clinic to $870,000 over 14 years.

“Blue Cross is one of Clinic’s longest and strongest partnerships. Their strategic investment and support has been key to the clinic expanding services over time,” said Marie Ghazal, Rhode Island Free Clinic CEO. “This support has been essential to helping the clinic provide vital care for Rhode Island’s most vulnerable adults.”

The grant is intended to support the volunteer-based clinic’s mission of providing comprehensive health and dental care to 2,400 uninsured Rhode Islanders yearly. Services are of no charge to low-income unemployed adults at the clinic. Blue Cross said that the clinic diverts uncompensated emergency department visits, saving millions of dollars in cost on the health care system.

The Rhode Island Free Clinic is one of BCBSRI’s premier funding partners in our aim to increase access to primary care for the uninsured population in Rhode Island,” said Kim Keck, BCBSRI CEO and president. “BCBSRI is committed to passionately leading a state of health and wellbeing and the work that the clinic does is aligned with our mission of facilitating access to affordable, high-quality health care.”

United Way Awards $150K to Olneyville Community Organizations

United Way of Rhode Island’s Olneyville Community Fund has awarded $150,000 to 12 organizations that support children and families in the city’s Olneyville neighborhood.

“We are part of the community fabric of Olneyville and proud to be in a position to help make a positive difference in the lives of our neighbors,” said Angela Bannerman Ankoma, United Way executive vice president and director of community investment. “There is amazing work being done by organizations across this neighborhood that will now reach more children and more families – it’s very exciting.”

United Way of Rhode Island established the Olneyville Community Fund in 2008 when it relocated its headquarters to the neighborhood – considered one of Providence’s poorest – from the East Side. Since then, United Way has distributed more than $1 million from the fund to improve services for residents, increase the capacity of community-based organizations and improve public spaces.

The 12 organizations to receive grants are ONE Neighborhood Builders, Manton Avenue Project, Woonasquatucket River Watershed Council, Providence Community Library, The Wilbury Theater Group, Meeting Street, Olneyville Neighborhood Association, Clinica Esperanza-Hope Clinic, Center for Resilience, Back to School Celebration of Rhode Island, Kings Cathedral, YouthBuild Preparatory Academy, and the Swearer Center at Brown University.

LISC RI Celebrates New Neighborhood Health Station

GCRI member LISC RI celebrated the grand opening and ribbon cutting for the new Neighborhood Health Station in Central Falls with members of the Rhode Island Congressional Delegation, project visionaries and leaders, funders, staff and residents. GCRI members Rhode Island Foundation and The Champlin Foundation were also significant partners in the development of the comprehensive new health facility.

LISC Rhode Island provided an investment of $12.2 million for the $15 million project which included an investment of $4.2 million in New Markets Tax Credits through the New Markets Support Company (NMSC), a Chicago-based, wholly-owned subsidiary of LISC and a syndicator of federal New Markets Tax Credits. These credits were part of an $85 million allocation to LISC from the U.S. Treasury Department that are used for transformational community development projects across the LISC footprint. The tax credit equity was combined with low interest loans from LISC and Morgan Stanley through LISC’s Healthy Futures FQHC Financing Fund II, an innovative loan fund to support Federally Qualified Health Centers that provide services designed to address social determinants of health. LISC also provided a pre-development grant of $50,000. At the end of the NMTC compliance period, the Blackstone Valley Neighborhood Health Station will retain nearly $3 million in equity as a result of LISC’s investment.

“LISC heard of the concept through our work leading the Pawtucket and Central Falls Health Equity Zone,” said Jeanne Cola, Executive Director of LISC Rhode Island. “Dr. Fine and Ray Lavoie wanted to change the way that residents thought about their health, and how they accessed health care. It was a new model and targeted one of Rhode Island’s most underserved communities. That kind of mission-driven project deserved our full support.”

Dr. Michael Fine, a member of the LISC PCF HEZ collaborative and the former director of the state health department, brought a particularly ambitious vision to the table. Together with Ray Lavoie, Executive Director of Blackstone Valley Community Health Care (BVCHC), and other members of its Leadership Team, they proposed creating a centralized facility that could provide residents with everything they might need to get and stay healthy, outside of the traditional healthcare system—and all within walking distance of their homes.

“It’s a new concept. It is Dr. Michael Fine’s vision of a Neighborhood Health Station, where 90 percent of the folks in the community can get 90 percent of their health care needs met. And, that is something new,” said Ray Lavoie, executive director of Blackstone Valley Community Health Care, at the Neighborhood Health Station in Central Falls. “It will also sidestep the current structure, where everyone’s medical records are in different doctor’s offices and it is all silo-ed. This is a big step in the right direction.”

The team envisioned a Health Station that would provide comprehensive care, education and recreational opportunities for residents of Central Falls. The new facility will provide family doctors, pediatricians, emergency medicine specialists, nurses, obstetricians, midwives, social workers, behavioral health, dental, physical and occupational therapists, recovery coaches, health coaches, community health workers, translators, and educational programs. The facility provides a dedicated team for taking care of the residents of Central Falls with the goal of making it the healthiest community in Rhode Island.

The goal demands a new way of thinking about health care. Currently, the community is one of Rhode Island’s most underinvested and a third of the residents live in poverty, 27 percent have no health insurance, and per capita income is just more than $14,000. Latinos in this community face particularly high barriers that directly impact health, including poverty, high unemployment, lack of access to educational opportunities, and linguistic and cultural challenges.

“The health station will be a transformational project for this community,” said Cola. “LISC has invested extensively in affordable housing, workforce development, public safety, and childcare and early learning facilities in the Pawtucket and Central Falls communities. And for the past five years, we’ve also worked to improve the social determinants of health for residents. We’re proud to get behind this initiative in such a comprehensive way.”

The Health Station will be a hub for classes in nutrition, diabetes prevention, and financial literacy, as well as recreational opportunities, in addition to providing access to services. More culturally competent and readily-available doctors, dentists, and behavioral health specialists were seen as a critical component to improving the overall health of community members.

The Health Station goal to enroll 90 percent of residents in programs will empower an entire community to strive for optimal health and wellbeing. The facility will create more than 80 permanent full-time jobs, and change the health of thousands.

Family Separation and Immigration Webinar and Resources

Family Separation and Immigration Webinar and Resources

Many of you are concerned with the current debate around the federal immigration policy on family separation.  Although an executive order has been released to address the components of the policy, there are still reports of separations, lack of clarity about the courts’ response to the EO, and the challenges of reuniting families.

Children, Youth and Family Funders Roundtable is hosting an “Immigration Funder Strategy Discussion” on Friday, July 13 2:30-3:30pm for funders interested in learning more about how your organization can use its expertise to enter the immigration space.  The webinar will have ideas for ways to communicate differently with peers and colleagues about the effects of immigration policy, and to better align strategies across issue areas.  This strategy discussion will be focused on supporting immigrant children and families!s, and four funders will share their strategies, including how they developed them and how they are linked with other issue areas.

Speakers:
· Denise Dell Isola, Irving Harris Foundation
· Sandra Martinez, The California Wellness Foundation
· Laura Speer, The Annie E. Casey Foundation
· Kavitha Sreeharsha, Emerson Collective
This webinar is part of the Children, Youth & Family Funders Roundtable conversation on the impact of immigration action on children and families. The Roundtable’s immigration work is done in partnership with Grantmakers Concerned with Immigrants and Refugees, Grantmakers Income Security Taskforce, and Early Childhood Funders Collaborative to ensure we are exploring our understanding of the cross section of issues faced by immigrant children and families.  Register

Our partner in United Philanthropy Forum, Grantmakers Concerned with Immigrants and Refugees (GCIR) has released a sign on statement on family separation and immigration enforcement policies, signed by 160 philanthropic organizations.   GCIR has also released a document with ideas for philanthropic responses to the family separation crisis.

Our Forum partners, Hispanics in Philanthropy and Associated Grant Makers, have gathered resources for funders who want to learn more and/or get involved.

Statements Issued:

Dave Biemsderfer, CEO of United Philanthropy Forum, released a blog piece on the family separation policy
United Way of Mass Bay, The Boston Foundation, Jewish Philanthropies and Catholic Charities released a combined joint statement
Philanthropy California released a combined statement from Northern California, Southern California and San Diego Grantmakers

Hispanics In Philanthropy Resources

Hispanics in Philanthropy have launched an Emergency Response Fund, and issued the following statement on ways funders can respond.

5 Ways You Can Stand Up for Immigrant Children & Families TODAY

Ana Marie Argilagos, president and CEO of Hispanics in Philanthropy

It was 136 years ago when the funds to build the pedestal for the Statue of Liberty ran short. New Yorkers took action. They formed fundraising committees and collected donations from people across the city, including a kindergarten class that donated $1.35. Poet Emma Lazarus wrote a sonnet, “The New Colossus,” to help raise money. Her words — “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free” — have inspired America’s approach to immigration ever since.

Today, these words etched into the Statue of Liberty are at risk. This month is Immigrant Heritage Month, intended to recognize and celebrate the vast contributions of immigrants in this country which was founded by immigrants. Instead, we are witnessing the worst human rights violations in generations.

Despite President Trump’s executive order ending his administration’s policy of separating immigrant children from their parents, the government will continue to treat all immigrants as criminals and to lock families in cages along the U.S.-Mexico border. Make no mistake: this executive order does not fix the damage inflicted on children or their families. Nor does it prevent future trauma. The Trump administration’s zero-tolerance immigration policy is intended to inflict pain, fear, and suffering on children and their parents.

We are better than these xenophobic government policies. We cannot stay silent. We cannot sit by and allow thousands of children and families to suffer traumas that will last a lifetime.

We must remember the lessons learned by our predecessors. We must look back at how Americans mobilized to bring our nation’s beacon of freedom, Lady Liberty, to our shores. Her existence is a constant reminder that we were once a country unified by the immigrant experience. We were and still are proud to be a country of immigrants.

Today, we must once again mobilize to show the world that new immigrants are cared for and welcomed with open arms. You do not have to be wealthy or a government official to take action. Just like the children who donated money to help raise the Statue of Lady Liberty two centuries ago, you too can do your part to ensure we remember our shared values.

HERE ARE A FEW WAYS YOU CAN HELP TODAY:

  1. Donate to HIP’s fund to support lasting services and support for immigrant families detained at the border.
  2. Contact your elected officials and hold them accountable. Tell them you expect them to do better, and to do it NOW.
  3. Contact the U.S. Department of Justice and submit your comments about the damage the current policies are inflicting on children and families.
  4. Contact the White House to demand they put an end to this cruelty and treat our immigrants humanely and with the dignity they deserve.
  5. Elevate your voice! HIP along with many other organizations will be gathering this June 30th at Lafayette Square in Washington, D.C. to protest this administration’s inhumane policy of ripping children away from their parents at the border. Join us in DC or at an event near you. Find out more at the Families Belong Together website.

Thank you, and may we all remember: We are in this together.

Associated Grant Makers Resources

http://www.agmconnect.org/grantmakers-philanthropic-advisors/resources/disaster-and-emergency-relief-resources

  • Greater Boston Immigrant Defense Fund is building Greater Boston’s capacity to protect and defend immigrant and refugee communities by increasing access to legal representation for individuals facing deportation proceedings and community education and preparedness programming
  • Cambridge Legal Defense Fund for Immigrantshas been established to help immigrants in Cambridge, Massachusetts get the legal services they need to stay, legally, in our country.
  • The ACLUis litigating this policy in California.
  • Al Otro Ladois a binational organization that works to offer legal services to deportees and migrants in Tijuana, Mexico, including deportee parents whose children remain in the U.S.
  • American Immigrant Representation Project(AIRP), which works to secure legal representation for immigrants.
  • CARA—a consortium of the Catholic Legal Immigration Network, the American Immigration Council, the Refugee and Immigrant Center for Education and Legal Services, and the American Immigration Lawyers Association—provides legal services at family detention centers.
  • CASAin Maryland, D.C., Virginia, and Pennsylvania. They litigate, advocate, and help with representation of minors needing legal services.
  • CLINIC’s Defending Vulnerable Populationsproject offers case assistance to hundreds of smaller organizations all over the country that do direct services for migrant families and children.
  • The Florence Projectis an Arizona project offering free legal services to men, women, and unaccompanied children in immigration custody.
  • Houston Immigration Legal Services Collaborativehas a guide to organizations throughout Texas that provide direct legal services to separated children. Also listed within the guide are resources for local advocates, lawyers, and volunteers.
  • Human Rights Firstis a national organization with roots in Houston that needs help from lawyers too.
  • Kids in Need of Defenseworks to ensure that kids do not appear in immigration court without representation, and to lobby for policies that advocate for children’s legal interests.
  • The Kino Border Initiativeprovides humanitarian aid to refugees and migrants on both sides of the border. They have a wish-list of supplies they can use to help migrants and families staying in the communities they serve.
  • The Legal Aid Justice Centeris a Virginia-based center providing unaccompanied minors legal services and representation.
  • The National Immigrant Justice Centerrepresents and advocates for detained adults and children facing removal, supports efforts at the border, and represents parents in the interior who have been separated from their families as a result of aggressive enforcement.
  • The Northwest Immigrant Rights Projectis doing work defending and advancing the rights of immigrants through direct legal services, systemic advocacy, and community education.
  • Pueblo Sin Fronterasis an organization that provides humanitarian aid and shelter to migrants on their way to the U.S.
  • RAICESis the largest immigration nonprofit in Texas offering free and low-cost legal services to immigrant children and families.
  • Together Risingis another Virginia-based organization that’s helping provide legal assistance for 60 migrant children who were separated from their parents and are currently detained in Arizona.
  • The Urban Justice Center’s Asylum Seeker Advocacy Projectis working to keep families together.
  • Women’s Refugee Commissionadvocates for the rights and protection of women, children, and youth fleeing violence and persecution.
  • Young Center for Immigrant Children’s Rightsworks for the rights of children in immigration proceedings.

United Way Awards $100,000 in Affordable Housing Grants, Releases 2-1-1 Data Report, Invests in Olneyville

United Way Awarded $100,000 to five community organizations from the Housing for All Fund, established at United Way’s 2016 Housing for All Summit in 2016

The funded programs, by Foster Forward, Housing Network of Rhode Island, Rhode Island Center for Justice and West Elmwood Housing Development Corporation, focus on education, financial literacy, workforce and economic development and collaboration.

“We know that too many working families are housing cost-burdened, spending more than one-third of their income to keep a roof over their heads and face difficult choices among the basic needs they can afford,” said Anthony Maione, President and CEO, United Way of Rhode Island. “We also know there’s a lot of good work happening in our state to tackle this issue, which was evident in the proposals we received, and we are excited to see the progress of the programs we’re investing in.”

More information

2-1-1 Data Report Released

United Way also released its annual 2-1-1 data report, with analysis of the almost 200,000 calls for assistance 2-1-1 received in 2017.  The most common requests include financial assistance (rent, utilities, etc.), health information, food and housing.

Full report

UWRI Awards Olneyville Grants to 9 Local Organizations

Nine local organizations were the recipients of a shared total of $90,000 in grants from the United Way of Rhode Island’s Olneyville Community Fund in late June.

The 10-year-old fund, which was created when UWRI moved its headquarters to the Olneyville neighborhood of Providence in 2008, aims to support community-based organizations that benefit local residents and businesses.

Recipients include The Manton Avenue Project, Providence Housing Authority, Meeting Street ONE Neighborhood Builders, the Center for Resilience, Clinica Esperanza/Hope Clinic, Providence Community Library and Sojourner House.

CVS Health and United Way Launch Opioid Referral Program, Support Pharmacy Workforce Initiative at Genesis Center

United Way, CVS Foundation Launch 2-1-1 Partnership to Address Opioid Addiction

As Rhode Island struggles with the highest rate of substance abuse-related deaths in New England, those caught in the cycle of addiction, as well as their family and friends, have a new resource to access the help they need.

United Way of Rhode Island (UWRI) and the CVS Health Foundation have announced a new partnership through 2-1-1 focused on addressing the opioid use epidemic that has become a public health crisis in the Ocean State. Through the free and confidential 2-1-1 help line that’s available 24/7, 365 days a year, the effort aims to raise awareness and bring greater accessibility to treatment resources to Rhode Islanders.

Utilizing a multi-pronged approach, the partnership incorporates Anchor Recovery, a comprehensive substance abuse treatment organization. With Anchor, 2-1-1 will have access to a dedicated phone line so that 2-1-1 call specialists may provide a warm transfer directly to a peer counselor, who can provide immediate assistance. The partnership also integrates the availability of an addiction and substance use subject matter expert, and specialized training for 2-1-1 staff on addiction issues and available services.

UWRI and the CVS Health Foundation have added a list of addiction resources to the 2-1-1 website (www.211ri.org), where individuals who may be apprehensive to call 2-1-1 by phone can review the resources or chat online with trained specialists.

Additionally, the partnership will provide direct outreach to communities in the state most affected by substance abuse using the 2-1-1 Outreach RV. Through confidential screenings aboard the 38-foot Outreach RV, 2-1-1 will provide direct referrals to local substance abuse agencies, as well as immediate drug and alcohol counseling available from on-site partners, and HIV rapid testing.

To help raise awareness of the partnership and the role of 2-1-1 in combating addiction issues, UWRI and CVS Health will employ a marketing campaign, including digital, radio and transit advertisements.

CVS Health is committed to addressing and preventing the nation’s opioid epidemic. In March, the company announced it is adding 14 medication disposal units inside CVS Pharmacy locations across the state to make it easier to dispose of unused medications. This work builds on ongoing company initiatives, including the Pharmacists Teach program, which brings CVS Pharmacists to local schools to talk to teens and parents about the dangers of abusing prescription drugs. More than 300,000 teens nationally including more than 3,600 in Rhode Island have already participated in the program. CVS Health has also worked to expand access to the opioid overdose-reversal drug naloxone in 46 states, including Rhode Island.

Genesis Center Pharmacy Tech Program Receives Support from CVS Health and United Way of Rhode Island

The Genesis Center Pharmacy Technician program, which was born out of a partnership between Genesis Center, Building Futures, CVS Heath and United Way of Rhode Island, gives students an opportunity to train for a career that’s on track to add 47,600 new jobs by 2026.

Tyla Pimentel, Genesis Center’s Adult Services Director, explains, “It became increasingly difficult to earn a living-wage working in low-skilled jobs, so we adapted to the community’s changing needs” with this popular new program. In addition to the faster than average job growth, the median income for those entering the pharmacy tech field is $15.26 an hour.

The program, now in its second cohort, has started receiving more interest from the community. “Many times, people come in for another class but end up interested in the pharmacy tech program,” says Liz Hanke, Genesis Center’s Workforce Coordinator. Part of this new program’s appeal is that graduates do their internships with CVS Health — which often leads to job offers.

Internships are far from the end of their collaboration; CVS Health’s in-house training modules are foundational to the program’s curriculum. “Our students start their careers at an advantage,” explains Tyla. “They complete most of CVS’s training program before they even graduate.”Internships are far from the end of their collaboration; CVS Health’s in-house training modules are foundational to the program’s curriculum. “Our students start their careers at an advantage,” explains Tyla. “They complete most of CVS’s training program before they even graduate.”

In addition, Genesis helps students develop soft skills, such as writing resumes and interviewing, while also preparing them for the reality of entering the workforce. “It’s important we help manage their expectations,” says Liz. “We explain to them that no one starts at the top, but if they put in the time, work hard, and are dependable they can achieve success — but that it’s ultimately up to them.”

Like Genesis Center, United Way of Rhode Island understands helping others often relies on an agency’s willingness to adapt. This willingness is what helps nonprofits meet the changing needs of a community — like the need for quality adult education.

United Way invests in adult education by supporting effective programs like Genesis Center’s Pharmacy Technician Program. “United Way allows us to help more people benefit from this program,” Tyla explains. “Community members who would otherwise never have an opportunity like this.”
United Way’s continued investment in adult education is important to our goal of changing the lives of 250,000 Rhode Islanders by the year 2020. Working closely with partners, such as Genesis Center, we will not only reach this goal but surpass it — helping many more Rhode Islanders in the process.