Rhode Island Foundation Impact Investing Initiative, Entrepreneurial Innovation Fellowship

Rhode Island Foundation Impact Investing Initiative, Entrepreneurial Innovation Fellowship

Impact Investing

The Rhode Island Foundation has embarked on an impact investing initiative to invest 5% of the endowment in ventures that have measurable social impact as well as financial return.  Projects will be local and place-based, and will yield a direct impact for Rhode Island, primarily in strategic initiative areas: educational successhealthy lives, and economic security.  

The Providence Journal recently highlighted the ways that the Foundation’s initiative:  Learn more in the Journal.

Entrepreneurial Innovation

The Rhode Island Foundation is also seeking applications for the Carter Fellowship for Entrepreneurial Innovation, made possible through the vision and generosity of philanthropists Letitia and the late John Carter, designed to stimulate solutions to Rhode Island challenges.  Fellows will receive up to $200,000 over four years to test and implement innovative ideas that could dramatically improve an area of life in Rhode Island. Up to three Fellows are selected annually.

More information


Rhode Island Council for the Humanities Launches New Rhode Tour

Rhode Island Council for the Humanities Launches New Rhode Tour

Rhode Island Council for the Humanities (RICH), a GCRI member, continues expanding its “Rhode Tour” app and website that shares stories of local history, and provides thematic tours of significant sites throughout the state.  A joint initiative of RICH, Brown University’s John Nicholas Brown Center for Public Humanities and Cultural Heritage, and the Rhode Island Historical Society, tours on the app include Black history, the culinary roots of the state’s food evolution, and forts used during the Revolutionary War. Some of the stories are about current landmarks, and some describe—in famous Rhode Island parlance—where or what a place used to be.

RICH will be launching the latest tour, Industrial Heritage Along the Woonasquatucket, at a Humanities Happy Hour on Thursday, November 16.  Jane Gerdard, historian and content developer for the Industrial Heritage Rhode Tour and Howie Sneider, Executive Director of The Steel Yard will offer brief remarks. The event is free and open to the public, but registration is required.

Download the free Rhode Tour app or visit the website



Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Rhode Island’s Annual Community Meeting Features Special Opioid Presentation

Opioid Film Presentation at Blue Cross Annual Community Meeting

Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Rhode Island invites GCRI members to its upcoming community meeting on December 6 at Rhode Island PBS’ studio.  The evening will include the Rhode Island premiere of the “Overdose: Inside the Epidemic — A Second Opinion Special.”

Following the film, Gus Manocchia, SVP & Chief Medical Officer at BCBSRI, will moderate a panel of local experts who will suggest actions that can help reduce the stigma associated with addiction, and better address the overdose epidemic.  The session is open to the public, but space is limited and registration is required by November 30.   More information






van Beuren Charitable Foundation Transitions to New Strategic Framework

van Beuren Charitable Foundation Transitions to New Strategic Framework

The van Beuren Charitable Foundation recently completed a new strategic plan and has begun implementing a new strategic framework to align the van Beuren family’s philanthropic goals with community aspirations.

The Foundation’s mission continues to be to “invest in the quality of place and quality of life on Aquidneck Island and surrounding communities” but the focus has shifted from activities to outcomes in the areas of Healthy Lifestyles, Strong Starts, Community Prosperity and Excellence in the Commons.

“We hope that our new strategic framework will encourage the increased connectivity that is developing in the community, and acknowledges that community vitality is augmented by the beneficial interplay between health, education, the economy, and built and natural environments,” say Archbold D. van Beuren, Foundation Chair, and Elizabeth Lynn, Foundation Executive Director in the Foundation’s newly released annual report.

The report presents feedback from three clusters of grantees working on shared community goals, the community benefit they
strive to deliver, and the lessons learned that inform future work.

“The $5.5 million of grant funds we invested locally in 2016 inspired our planning process and reaffirmed the importance of being a community partner. Our community is hard at work taking on the challenges that will lead to children having a strong start in life, residents experiencing health throughout their lives, economic opportunity for residents and enterprises, and inspirational institutions and landscapes,” say van Beuren and Lynn.

Read the report

LISC Advances Health Equity in Pawtucket/Central Falls

LISC Advances Health Equity in Pawtucket/Central Falls

LISC reports that tremendous strides have been made on the Pawtucket Central Falls Health Equity Zone (HEZ) initiative after just the first two years of a four-year commitment.

In its 2017 Report to the Community, Jeanne Cola, LISC Executive Director, says, “We are enormously proud of being able to provide leadership services and act as the backbone agency for this hard working collaboration of community leaders…. After just a year of executing the plan, we are already seeing the benefits to the community. We are making strides on expanding access to nutritious food and increasing levels of activity; we are developing programs to foster intergenerational relationships, diabetes education and management, and HEZ partners are focused on creating affordable  housing solutions.”

Read the 2017 HEZ Report

Interview on WPRO

Blue Cross & Blue Shield of RI Highlights Women’s Stories, Releases Community Investment Report

Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Rhode Island Teams with American Heart Association to Highlight Women’s Stories

As part of a new initiative, Blue Cross is encouraging Rhode Island women who have survived heart disease or stroke to share their stories, with the hope that other women will be inspired to make changes to protect their health and support the important work of the American Heart Association.  Through the Heart2Heart campaign, Blue Cross will donate a total of $25,000 to the AHA’s Go Red for Women Luncheon in the name of the selected Heart2Heart survivors.  Please encourage your networks to share their stories at https://www.bcbsri.com/heart.

Blue Cross Releases Community Investment Report

Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Rhode Island’s new Teaming up for a Healthier Rhode Island, highlights the company’s community investments and volunteer service for the 18 months from January 2016 through June 2017.

Through its BlueAngel Community Investment Program, BCBSRI supports nonprofit organizations and programs that address critical health issues facing Rhode Islanders, from childhood obesity to health literacy, to quality care for the uninsured. The report also highlights the company’s efforts to mobilize its employees to benefit Rhode Islanders.

In September, BCBSRI employee volunteers worked on volunteer projects across the state for Blue Across Rhode Island, the company’s annual service day.

Since BCBSRI started this annual day of service six years ago, BCBSRI employees have performed more than 18,000 hours of volunteer service to 44 nonprofit organizations around the state, and typically over 75% of the BCBSRI workforce volunteers each year.  BCBSRI provides a minimum of 35 volunteers and a charitable gift of $5,000 to each agency participating in Blue Across Rhode Island.

View NBC10 story about how the employee volunteer efforts helped another GCRI member, LISC, in the development and building of outdoor play areas at three area early child care facilities in Rhode Island.

See the list of groups and how they help Rhode Islanders.


Tufts Health Plan Foundation Recognized, Releases Annual Report Featuring Community Voices

Tufts Health Plan Recognized by Grantmakers in Aging, Releases Annual Report

Grantmakers in Aging Diversity Award

At its 35th anniversary annual conference, held in Boston, Grantmakers In Aging (GIA) presented the GIA Diversity Award for 2017 to the Tufts Health Plan Foundation.  The award was established to recognize organizations that embrace diversity as a fundamental element in all levels of their work in aging.

Therese Ellery, Senior Program Officer at the Rose Community Foundation in Denver, Colorado and a member of the GIA Diversity Award Committee, noted Tufts’ exemplary work, saying “Diversity and inclusion are embedded in all of the Tufts Health Plan Foundation’s grantmaking….A powerful example is the Age-Friendly Boston Initiative….The city recently released a 75- point Age-Friendly Boston Action Plan, which was informed by 30 listening sessions, conducted in 4 languages in 23 neighborhoods across the city. 70 organizations participated. In addition 3,700 surveys were completed in 6 languages. In sum, the City heard from 4,000+ older adults from every… single… community in Boston. In this and indeed all of its grantmaking, the Foundation seeks to minimize equity gaps in communities with limited resources and promote healthy aging for all residents. This means supporting work that engages LGBTQ older adults, communities of color, rural populations, and other traditionally underrepresented groups. ”  More information

Annual Report

This year Tufts Health Plan Foundation took a new approach to the annual report, sharing community voices to represent their work for 2016.  The audio annual report, Making Our Communities Great Places to Grow Up and Grow Old, highlights collaborations and initiatives supported by the Foundation to advance the age-friendly movement across the region.

“Listening is critical in our role as community partner and investor,” said Thomas O’Neill III, chair of the Foundation board of directors. “It informs how we engage, promote health and connect to the communities we serve.”

As part of its practice, the Foundation collaborates with and engages older adults, civic leaders and nonprofit organizations in Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Rhode Island to support communities that work for people of all ages.

“We are living longer, and opportunities to create vibrant cities and towns that are great places to grow up and grow old must be advanced,” said Nora Moreno Cargie, Foundation president and vice president, corporate citizenship at Tufts Health Plan. “Our annual report represents the voices of those we support.”

Included in the report are stories from Jewish Community Housing for the Elderly, the Latino Health Insurance Program, the Southern New Hampshire Planning Commission and Age-Friendly Boston.  The Foundation supports work that emphasizes collaboration, catalyzes change and honors community work. Last year the Foundation invested $2.9 million through 43 grants that engage 650 community groups across three states.  Listen


Women’s Fund Hosts Cocktails and Conversations with 2017 Grantees

The Women’s Fund of Rhode Island recently announced the six recipients of its 2017 grant funding, totalling $50,000:

  • Young Voices for a program which will unite girls of color and leaders in education to address disparities in achievement in Providence public schools
  • RI Coalition Against Domestic Violence to develop plans for coalition partners to collaborate more effectively in mobilizing community voices in the Move to End Violence
  • Center for Women and Enterprise, to provide entrepreneur training in Spanish for women who want to start businesses
  • Alliance of Rhode Island Southeast Asians for Education (ARISE) to promote resiliency in Asian adolescent girls through their Hidden Lotus Circle leadership training
  • Day One for materials related to its Be Empowerment program addressing survivors of commercial sexual exploitation of children
  • YearUp to train and place young women on Information Technology career paths

“We had 31 organizations submit proposals for a combined request of $261,000 in funding, so the process was very competitive,” said Executive Director Kelly Nevins. “Using a review team of volunteers from the community with training in gender lens giving, these organizations clearly rose to the top.”

Grant recipients will be highlighted at the Women’s Fund of Rhode Island’s upcoming Cocktails & Conversations event on Wednesday, October 25.  More information

Kelly Nevins, Executive Director of the Women’s Fund, was also featured on GoLocal LIVE to talk about the need to address unconscious bias in the workplace and WFRI’s initiatives in this area.  View

Advocating for School Partnership for Healthier Kids

The October 16 edition of the Providence Journal encouraged schools to become active partners in growing healthier kids.  Bobby Gondola, Director of Global Philanthropy and Social Impact at GCRI Member Hasbro, co-authored the column with Jennifer Quigley-Harris, a parent of a Providence student.  Gondola is a member of the Providence District Wellness Committee, a collaborative, community-school advisory groups that works to develop healthy school environments.  Read the column to learn more about the committee and opportunity for positive health outcomes for Rhode Island schoolchildren.