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.

 

Centreville Bank Foundation 2020 Giving Tops $1 Million

With its fourth quarter grant round of $113,861, the Centreville Bank Charitable Foundation awarded a total of $1,063,861 in grants for 2020, the largest annual giving amount in bank history.

“There is a critical need for financial support for many charitable organizations throughout Rhode Island and Connecticut, particularly as the pandemic continues, said Horvat. “We are fortunate to be in a financial position to support them as they help the most vulnerable populations with everything from health care, food, shelter and other basic needs, to education and literacy.”

The latest grants to 15 organizations in Rhode Island and Connecticut, included Beautiful Day, Community Preparatory School, Coventry Housing Associates Corporation, Cranston Public Library, Day One, Friends of CASA, House of Hope, Reach Out and Read Rhode Island and United Way of Rhode Island.

 

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.