Rhode Island Foundation and Blue Cross & Blue Shield of RI Team Up to Recognize Nonprofit Excellence

Nonprofit organizations have until July 24 to apply for the Rhode Island Foundation’s 2017 Best Practice Awards. Winners will receive a $1,000 grant, a promotional video highlighting their work and tuition waivers for professional development workshops.

“This is a powerful way for nonprofits to showcase their innovative work while sharing achievements that have the potential to be of widespread value to other organizations,” said Jill Pfitzenmayer, vice president of the Foundation’s Initiative for Nonprofit Excellence (INE).

Sponsored by Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Rhode Island, the annual awards program recognizes outstanding practices by Rhode Island nonprofit organizations in the areas of advocacy, communication, innovation, leadership development and collaboration. The application and full details are posted here.

GCRI Members Help Children Get Ready for School

A number of GCRI members, including Amica Insurance, BankRI, Cox Communications, CVS Health, Neighborhood Health Plan of RI, Pawtucket Credit Union, Sodexo, and United Way of Rhode Island are making sure that Rhode Island schoolchildren have all the supplies they need to start the new school year.  The Back to School Celebration, which will be held at 12 locations on Saturday, August 19, will provide free school supplies, food, entertainment, activities and educational information and resources for children and their families.


Visit Hasbro Summer Learning Sites

Hasbro and United Way invite GCRI members to see the dynamic learning that takes place when schools are closed for the summer through the Hasbro Summer Learning Initiative (HSLI).  Site visits are available at 14 sites across the state, from July 12-August 15.

Each program offers a six-week, service learning-oriented, experiential curriculum that is designed and delivered via a collaboration of school-day and community-based educators. The programs are working to narrow the achievement gap – half of which studies attribute to unequal access to summer learning. More than 1,100 Rhode Island youth will benefit from the initiative this summer, and the goal is to provide this opportunity to thousands more.

The visits to these sites allow guests to witness the progress being made to combat summer learning loss. Visits last one hour.  If you are interested in participating, please contact Joseph Morra at joseph.morra@uwri.org.

More information on HSLI


GCRI Members Add Efforts to United Way’s Children’s Book Drive and Day of Action

Each spring, GCRI member United Way of Rhode Island collects new and gently used children’s books to distribute to children statewide through Books are Wings and summer learning programs.  This year, six other GCRI members served as book drive collection sites, and five other members sent volunteers as part of the 130-volunteer effort to sort the almost 40,000 books collected.  United Way sends its thanks to Bank of America, Bank Newport, Citizens Bank, Coastway Community Bank, CVS Health and Hasbro for serving as collection sites, and to Citizens Bank, Coastway Community Bank, CVS Health, Neighborhood Health Plan and Pawtucket Credit Union for sending volunteers to the Day of Action.

Women’s Fund Kicks Off “Gender Lens” Series with Women’s Campaign Session

“Through A Gender Lens” Workshop Series on Tap
The Women’s Fund of Rhode Island’s Program Committee has created a new workshop series entitled “Through A Gender Lens,” sponsored in part by Amica Insurance.

The first installment of the series will be a workshop called “Run As You Are.”  The program features women who have run for office or conducted campaigns and is meant to inspire more women to get involved politically.

Research shows that when women make up 30% or more of lawmaking or decision making, that the policies that result are better for women and their families, regardless of political affiliation.  And while the Rhode Island Governor is female and 30% of our State House Representatives and Senators are women, women are still underrepresented in local elected offices and Congress.

This hands on workshop for women considering running for office, as well as those who want to support other women who run, will include stories from the campaign trail, brainstorming and information about the steps to run a successful campaign.

The workshop will be held on Saturday, July 22 at the New England Institute of Technology in East Greenwich, from 9-2:30.  Featured speakers include Senator Gayle Goldin (D), Providence City Councillor Sabina Matos (D), East Greenwich Town Councillor Sue Cienki (R) and Karina Holyoak Wood, who co-led the campaign to recall Kevin Jackson.

RSVP for Run As You Are

Collette Celebrates National Volunteer Week with Service and Resources

Collette diaper drive

GCRI member Collette employees joined in a variety of volunteer efforts to celebrate National Volunteer Week, with 100 volunteers at a variety of nonprofit organizations throughout the Blackstone Valley region and a diaper drive for Children’s Friend that collected over 1,000 diaper and 1,000 related supplies (wipes, ointment, etc.).

GCRI Members Bring Learning and Discovery Through April Vacation Volunteer Events

Out of School TIme YMCA Newport

As part of GCRI’s second April Vacation Volunteer Initiative, volunteer teams from Bank Newport (two sites), Blue Cross & Blue Shield of RI, and Pawtucket Credit Union spent a morning with children in afterschool programs doing fun STEM enrichment activities.

Out of School TIme YMCA Newport

A total of 28 corporate volunteers worked with over 100 children to build gumdrop bridges, “rescue” stuffed animals, launch pompoms and make roller coaster tracks for marbles at the Newport County YMCA (ALC member), Kids Klub North Providence (ALC member), Pawtucket Boys and Girls Club (ALC member) and the Bristol Warren COZ program.

Both the YMCA program and the Kids Klub program received positive newspaper coverage in local newspapers:

Newport Daily News – Bank Newport April Vacation 2017

Valley Breeze — Blue Cross April Vacation 2017


United Way Launches Children’s Spring Literacy and Afterschool Efforts

Bank Newport at Family Volunteer Day

April Vacation Family Volunteer Project

Over two days, April 19 and 20, United Way of Rhode Island hosted fifty-three family and corporate volunteers as they made literacy kits for local children. To encourage family reading, volunteers made puppets and games based on the books they brought to donate.  Volunteers from GCRI members Bank Newport, Blue Cross & Blue Shield of RI joined in the fun to help ensure that Rhode Island children fall in love with reading.

UWRI Family Volunteer April

Children’s Book Drive

UWRI is partnering again with Books Are Wings and the Women’s Leadership Council for the sixth annual Children’s Book Drive, taking place April 24-June 2. This event unites local businesses, community partners, families, and individuals around a common goal—helping children read. GCRI members are encouraged to host a collection drive or donate new or gently used children’s books. Read more.  For more information on hosting a book drive, email bookdrive@uwri.org.

May 25 Afterschool Learning Day at the State House

UWRI and its Afterschool Leadership Circle invites programs, funders and participants in afterschool programs to join in the Afterschool Learning Day at the State House to celebrate the ways that afterschool works to keep kids safe, boost student success and help parents keep their jobs.  RSVP to alc@uwri.org.

Rhode Island Foundation Announces Impact Investing and Healthcare Initiatives

Healthcare Access and Affordability

Five organizations – Rhode Island Free Clinic, Clinica Esperanza, Crossroads Rhode Island, South County Hospital Health Care, and Thundermist Health Center – are receiving more than $270,000 through the RIGHA Foundation Fund to make quality healthcare more accessible and affordable for Rhode Islanders.

“Developing an inclusive primary care system that promotes healthy lives is one of our core strategic initiatives. These grants will advance our continuing efforts to make quality health care more accessible and affordable,” said Neil Steinberg, the Foundation’s president and CEO.

Impact Investing

Rhode Island Foundation announced a new mission-related investing initiative to support projects that are local and place-based, and will yield a direct impact for Rhode Island, primarily in the Foundation’s strategic initiative areas: educational success, healthy lives, and economic security.  Initial efforts will focus on a loan fund in 2017. In the first year, loans will range between $200,000 and $1,000,000, with terms generally up to 10 years.  To learn more about the Foundation’s Impact Investing strategy, join GCRI for an informative session at the Foundation on May 25 (see events calendar for more details).