United Way of R.I. awards $150K to Olneyville community groups

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

The grants were awarded from United Way’s Olneyville Community Fund and the total distribution was an increase of more than 60% over last year’s total.

“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 and their funded initiatives are:

  • ONE Neighborhood Builders ($23,000): Funding for Central PVD Resident Leadership Academy to provide local residents with the knowledge and skills to become effective neighborhood advocates; support for the work of the Olneyville Collaborative.
  • Manton Avenue Project ($20,000): Funding for out-of-school learning programs that partner students with professional artists and bring youths’ voices to the public stage.
  • Woonasquatucket River Watershed Council ($20,000): Funding for programs that reach hundreds of children in school and during out-of-school time: Fish in the Classroom, River Adventurers, and Red Shed Bike programs.
  • Providence Community Library ($17,570): Supporting The Olneyville Preschool Hub, a bilingual program for young children and their parents to discover the library as a place for learning; grant for Spanish language and Latin American cultural education classes for local nonprofit staff.
  • The Wilbury Theater Group ($15,000): To develop a connected community in Olneyville through access to performances and adult education programming in public speaking and theater education.
  • Meeting Street ($10,000): Support for a six-week, classroom-based kindergarten-readiness program for 36 Olneyville children.
  • Olneyville Neighborhood Association ($10,000): To offer free native language literacy and English-speaking classes to local residents.
  • Clinica Esperanza-Hope Clinic ($10,000): Increasing access to critical health care services for low-income, uninsured Olneyville residents.
  • Center for Resilience ($7,600): A partnership with William D’Abate Elementary School to study the impact of social-emotional development and learning.
  • Back to School Celebration of Rhode Island ($5,000): To provide school supplies and backpacks to neighborhood children.
  • Kings Cathedral ($5,000): Support for Share to Care, a program providing food, clothing and financial learning resources to individuals living in poverty.
  • YouthBuild Preparatory Academy ($5,000): Support for the organization’s strategic planning process to better position YouthBuild to prepare young people for success in life.
  • Swearer Center at Brown University ($1,830): To fund an afternoon chess program for students at William D’Abate Elementary, taught by volunteers from the Brown chess team.

R.I. students to benefit from school supplies collected by police, HarborOne

PROVIDENCE – As the new school year approaches, backpacks and school supplies are top of mind, especially for charitable organizations looking to help needy families get school supplies for their children.

State, local and federal law enforcement agencies are again joining forces to collect donations of new backpacks and school supplies to help school children in Rhode Island through the Kids, Cops, and Classrooms project.

At the same time, HarborOne Bank announced this week that for the third consecutive year, bank leaders packed and distributed backpacks to local nonprofits to donate to needy families.

HarborOne Bank and HarborOne Mortgage provided more than 5,000 at-risk children with backpacks and educational supplies. On Aug. 7, more than 100 employees of HarborOne Bank and HarborOne Mortgage packed more than 3,000 backpacks at the Brockton Boys & Girls Club. Additionally, the local offices of HarborOne Mortgage provided another 2,000 to nonprofits across New England.

Like the HarborOne initiative, the goal of Kids, Cops, and Classrooms is to help ease the financial burden many families face when it comes to providing their children with the school supplies they need. But the Kids, Cops, Classrooms program also seeks to build bonds between children and law enforcement officers.

“With communities facing increasingly tighter budgets, families are being asked to provide more school supplies for their children and their classrooms than ever before, which poses a tremendous financial burden on families struggling just to make ends meet,” said R.I. State Police Maj. Christopher Dicomitis, who’s leading the Kids, Cops and Classrooms campaign. “We hope the backpacks and supplies we collect through this program will help ease some of this burden for many of these families, while providing children with the school supplies they need to succeed.”

These are some of the supplies being sought through Kids, Cops, and Classrooms:

Small, medium and large backpacks; No. 2 pencils, pens, pencil boxes, boxes of crayons; spiral notebooks, three-ring binders, subject dividers, book covers; index cards, pencil sharpeners, assignment books/weekly planners; rulers (marked in inches and centimeters), protractors, compasses, calculators, scientific calculators.

Also, dictionaries (pocket size), thesauruses (pocket size); mini-staplers and staples; USB flash drives; facial tissues; antibacterial hand sanitizers; boxes of colored pencils, boxes of washable markers, highlighters, watercolor paint set, pad of coloring paper.

Also, large pink erasers, glue sticks, bottles of white glue; safety scissors, two-pocket folders; composition books; wide-rule, loose-leaf papers; graph papers.

Donations can be brought to any state police barracks or local police department.

They will be given to the following agencies for distribution to families: Crossroads Rhode Island; Family Service of Rhode Island; Project Night Vision; Children’s Friend; the Hispanic Ministerial Association of Rhode Island; Multi-Service Center for All; African Alliance; Mount Hope Neighborhood Association; Chad Brown Alumni Association; and the Center for Southeast Asians.

PCU announces $104,500 in grants from Community Investment Fund

PAWTUCKET – Pawtucket Credit Union’s Community Investment Fund is awarding $104,500 in grants to 11 local nonprofits focused on providing academic support to low-income children, the credit union’s CEO George J. Charette III announced this week.

The awardees are: The Learning Community, Comprehensive Community Action Program, Kennedy-Donovan Center, Books Are Wings, YMCA of Pawtucket, Friends of Pawtucket Public Library, Back To School Celebration of Rhode Island, Children’s Friend, Boys & Girls Club of Pawtucket, Rhode Island Philharmonic Orchestra & Music School, and The Empowerment Factory.

“Improving the lives of families and individuals in the communities we serve is a key component of the credit union’s mission,” Charette said in a news release. “We believe funding programs that provide academic support and enrichment to children and [youths] in some of our most vulnerable communities will help these children achieve a brighter tomorrow.”

Each awardee focuses on an underserved community, providing not only academic support but improving the well-being of at-risk children, PCU said.

United Way partners with Magaziner, legislators on financial literacy campaign

PROVIDENCE – United Way of Rhode Island President and CEO Cortney Nicolato has joined state General Treasurer Seth Magaziner and members of R.I. General Assembly in the creation of a fund named Financially Fit Rhode Island to help pay for statewide financial literacy instruction for students from kindergarten through high school.

“When only a third of Rhode Island’s high school seniors receive personal finance instruction in school before graduation, we can be certain that many are not prepared to make some of the most important financial decisions of their lives,” Nicolato said in a statement from Magaziner’s office. “By investing in education today, we can change the future of every young Rhode Islander by helping them manage their personal finances, avoid predatory products, and build stable futures for themselves and their families.”

The fund will be seeded with multiyear support from Fidelity Investments, HarborOne Bank, BayCoast Bank and the CFA Society of Providence. So far, the fund has received $50,000 in initial pledges from financial-services firms.

Administrated by United Way, the fund will award grants to education foundations, nonprofits, and school districts to support educators, with funding available for professional development opportunities and for financial literacy course material.

Organizers said the fund will launch when state legislation is approved to guarantee access to financial literacy education, expected during the General Assembly’s current session. They said 36 states now guarantee access to personal finance education in public schools, but Rhode Island currently is not among them.

Sen. Sandra Cano, D-Pawtucket, and Rep. Joseph McNamara, D-Warwick, chairman of the House Committee on Health Education and Welfare, have introduced bills on the matter. The legislation would require all public high schools to offer a class that includes personal finance beginning in the 2019-2020 school year. It also would require students to demonstrate proficiency in personal finance by the 2021-2022 school year.

Sen. Hanna M. Gallo, D-Cranston, chairwoman of the Senate Committee on Education, also backs the legislation, saying: “This fund will serve an urgent need to support educators as they prepare to help students with basic skills in personal finance.”

Among the six New England states, Rhode Island has the highest percentage of people living below the federal poverty line and the second-highest percentage of “unbanked” households. Average retirement savings in Rhode Island are also below the national average, according to organizers.

“Teaching students the skills they need to manage their personal finances responsibly leads to greater economic opportunity throughout their lives,” Magaziner said.

Rick Metters, vice president of Rhode Island Regional Public Affairs and Government Relations at Fidelity Investments, said, “At Fidelity, we believe in the benefits of learning personal finance concepts in school and have invested our time, resources and expertise to help bring personal finance education to students and professional development to teachers in Rhode Island.”

Nicholas Christ, president and CEO of BayCoast Bank, said, “This is an important statewide education initiative that will have a lasting positive impact on our future Rhode Islanders.”

Al Cumplido, program chairman of the CFA Society of Providence, said, “Education is a core pillar of what the CFA Society of Providence and the CFA Institute stand for.”

HarborOne Bank CEO James W. Blake added, “HarborOne recognizes how crucial it is that everyone, young people in particular, have a comprehensive financial education to be certain they use, save, invest and spend money wisely.”

2 R.I. companies named among Points of Light’s Civic 50 honorees

PROVIDENCE – Hasbro Inc. and CVS Health Corp. were named among the Civic 50 honorees of 2019 by Points of Light, the volunteerism organization announced this week.

The awards honor companies that provide a framework for good corporate citizenship, including companies’ efforts to increase their social impact, civic engagement and community service.

“As America’s front door to health care, we recognize the importance of helping to ensure our communities are healthy places to work and live,” stated Larry J. Merlo, president and CEO of CVS Health. “In addition to our commitment to support the communities we serve, we’re fortunate to be able to depend upon the talents and generosity of our colleagues and customers to deliver on our purpose of helping people on their path to better health.”

Honorees will be recognized at the 2019 Points of Light conference in St. Paul, Minn., this week.

Among the Civic 50, Hasbro was named a leader in the consumer discretionary sector.

“At Hasbro, we are honored to once again be recognized as one of America’s most community-minded companies,” said Brian Goldner, chairman and CEO of Hasbro, in a statement. “We firmly believe every child deserves a world where they can experience hope, kindness and joy, and we are grateful to our outstanding philanthropic partner organizations and passionate employees who generously give their time and talents to help make the world a better place for children and their families.”

The Civic 50 survey is administered by True Impact, a company specializing in helping organizations maximize and measure their social and business value and analyzed by VeraWorks, according to Points of Light.

“Points of Light believes that companies, their employees and partners can be drivers of transformative social change in communities around the world,” said Natalye Paquin, president and CEO of Points of Light, in the organization’s announcement of the awards. “This year’s honorees of The Civic 50 collectively gave $2.3 billion to their communities – often giving 50% more than other companies, and volunteered for more than 10.5 million hours in 2019. These results exemplify exceptional corporate leadership in community and civic engagement.”

The Civic 50 also included two other organizations with significant operations in Rhode Island, recognizing Raytheon Co. and KPMG LLP this year.


DHS, DOH partner to award preschool-development grants

PROVIDENCE – As a result of a partnership between the R.I. Department of Human Services and the R.I. Department of Health, five health equity zones throughout the state have received a total of $360,170 in preschool-development grants.

The selected health equity zones will use the funds to help families prepare children to succeed in school.

“Family members are the first, and often the most important, educators in a child’s early life, yet vulnerable families face significant economic, social-emotional and other barriers to fulfilling that role,” said Womazetta Jones, R.I. Health and Human Services secretary and Children’s Cabinet co-chair. “The preschool-development grants will increase the accessibility, choice, affordability and intensity of programs that are available in these communities.”

Grants were broken down as follows:

  • Woonsocket Health Equity Zone received $147,800.
  • Central Providence Health Equity Zone received $70,000.
  • Pawtucket Central Falls Health Equity Zone received $50,000.
  • Washington County Health Equity Zone received $50,000.
  • West Warwick Health Equity Zone received $42,300.

The initial 11-month contract period may be extended if the state is awarded a federal grant funding extension.

Preschool-development grants will be used for:

  • Central Providence Health Equity Zone is partnering with The Autism Project to implement the Conscious Discipline program to help families understand and support children’s social-emotional growth and development.
  • Central Providence Health Equity Zone is partnering with Federal Hill House to expand the Providence Talks Playgroup Model that instructs caregivers on effective talk, reading, playing and teaching during playgroups.
  • Washington County Health Equity Zone will expand the Incredible Years Parenting Groups by providing Incredible Beginnings Teacher Training to help teachers collaborate with parents on providing consistency from home to school.
  • Pawtucket Central Falls Health Equity Zone is partnering with Children’s Friend to expand the Culturally and Linguistically Responsive Project to address the needs of English learners.
  • Woonsocket Health Equity Zone is partnering with Connecting for Children and Families to expand the Parents as Teachers Family Home Visiting Program on programs for pregnant and parenting teens.
  • Woonsocket Health Equity Zone is partnering with Woonsocket Head Start to expand the Circle of Security parenting program to build secure bonds between parents and children.
  • Woonsocket Health Equity Zone is partnering with The Autism Project on the Conscious Discipline program.
  • West Warwick Health Equity Zone is partnering with Westbay Community Action Program to expand women, infant and children services, offer social service support through United Way 211, and promote early literacy efforts at the West Warwick Public Library.

Forum Offers Foundation Legal Support Option

As a benefit of membership, GCRI members are eligible to receive legal support through United Philanthropy Forum at a reduced cost.

The Forum launched the Foundation Legal Help Desk a year ago for community foundations, and now that the pilot phase has concluded, the program is being expanded to serve private foundations as well. The Help Desk is operated by our colleagues at the Indiana Philanthropy Alliance.

The Help Desk is designed to provide foundations with access to answers to legal questions related to the operations of a foundation. The foundation world is a complex field that requires specialized legal knowledge and many foundations do not have easy access to an attorney with expertise in this field.

How Does it Work?

The service operates through a website. Participants log in with a username and password and type in their question. The software will send it to the attorney “on-call” for their topic area. The attorney will respond either with a written answer or will make arrangements for a phone conversation.

The attorneys providing this service have specialized knowledge in grantmaking, scholarships, fund management, planned giving, nonprofit law, the Pension Protection Act, UPMIFA and other laws that specifically affect the operations of a foundation.

The Details
  • This service is designed to provide quick answers to questions and is limited to a maximum of one hour on any one question. The attorney will be able to advise the foundation if they need to engage counsel to assist them with a complex legal issue or gift.
  • The attorney will engage directly with foundation staff or board members, and will not work directly with donors or professional advisors.
  • The attorney can review documents but will not prepare any documents.
  • This service is for legal questions that relate to the operation of a foundation, not legal issues facing a foundation’s grantees.

Foundations will contact IPA directly to subscribe to the service, and IPA will provide them with a subscription agreement. Once they send the agreement back to IPA with their payment, IPA will provide them with their login credentials. IPA will let you know when any of your members sign up for the service, and will provide each PSO with an annual report on usage by your members and the topic areas of questions handled.

Service Levels and Costs
Cost Assets Service
Entry $750 Under $10M 6 inquiries/year
Basic 1 $1,000 Under $25M 10 inquiries/year
Basic 2 $1,500 Over $25M 10 inquiries/year
Premium $2,500 Any size Unlimited

GCRI Membership Discount to Exponent Philanthropy

Exponent Philanthropy is an association of small grantmakers and the only one dedicated to serving foundations with few or no staff, philanthropic families, and individual donors. With nearly 2,000 members, their vibrant network has in common lean operations and a style of philanthropy motivated by personal passion, community needs, and the strong desire for better outcomes. Exponent provides programs, resources, and connections that maximize philanthropy’s impact on diverse communities and causes. Learn more

GCRI members can receive $100 off the first year of membership in Exponent Philanthropy.  The discount code is REGIONAL100.