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.

United Way and OneCranston Partner to Explore “American Creed”

On July 24, The Cranston Public Library, in partnership with OneCranston Working Cities Challenge Initiative (a grant competition designed to advance collaborative leadership in smaller, postindustrial cities to transform the lives of their low-income residents), hosted a screening of the PBS documentary American Creed at Central Library. The screening was followed by a Community Conversation facilitated by Larry Warner, Director of Grants and Strategic Initiatives, United Way of Rhode Island.

In the documentary film AMERICAN CREED, former US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Pulitzer Prize-winning historian David M. Kennedy come together from different points of view to investigate the idea of a unifying American creed. Their spirited inquiry frames the stories of citizen-activists striving to realize their own visions of America’s promise across deepening divides.

The post-viewing discussion engaged participants around concepts like “the gap between the promise of America and the reality for far too many,” America as the “Melting Pot,” and what happens when you stop showing up for democracy and cede the field to those who do.

Cranston Patch article

Collette Celebrates Founders Day with Volunteerism

GCRI member Collette celebrated its Founders Day with a wide variety of volunteer initiatives across Rhode Island. Over 220 employees spent over 450 hours volunteering in projects such as sorting and packing new shoes for foster children with Gotta Have Sole, making literacy kits with United Way, sorting books at Books Are Wings, and serving dinner at the Pawtucket Soup Kitchen. Employees also participated in a shoreline cleanup with Save the Bay, packed 30,000 meals with the Outreach Project to be distributed to Pawtucket schoolchildren and their families, created superhero boxes with Together We Rise for local foster children, and assembled welcome home kits at Crossroads with donations collected by Collette employees.

For a better sense of all the activities, check out the video!

RI Foundation Awards $280,000 in Grants to Promote a Healthier Rhode Island

The Harvard Pilgrim Health Care Foundation is marking a 10-year collaboration with the Rhode Island Foundation by contributing an additional $1.6 million, raising its total contributions to $4.9 million. The contribution came as Harvard Pilgrim joined the Foundation in announcing the latest round of grants – nearly $280,000 for everything from launching an urgent care pediatric psychiatric clinic to training nurses to deliver home health care to the state’s aging population.

“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 D. Steinberg, the Foundation’s president and CEO.

The Foundation awarded the grants through a fund created in partnership with Harvard Pilgrim in 2010. The goal is to promote the development of an effective primary health care system in the state.

“Philanthropic support can provide the seed funding necessary to take innovative programs like these to the next level,” said Karen Voci, president of the Harvard Pilgrim Health Care Foundation. “I am proud to announce that we are making a final $1.6 million contribution to the Rhode Island Foundation. The contribution caps a long partnership that has generated nearly $2.3 million in grants for health and health care across Rhode Island,” she said.

That new funding will enhance the Foundation’s capacity to invest in projects, programs and organizations that support health and healthcare in Rhode Island. Applications will be accepted on a rolling basis throughout the year as part of the Foundation’s general health-related grant-making.

The latest round of grants are being awarded to the Comprehensive Community Action Program (CCAP) in Cranston, Hasbro Children’s Hospital, Rhode Island Center for Justice, Thundermist Health Center and the VNA of Care New England.

GCRI Members Partner on Arts Advocacy Workshop

In the arts community, there are many overlapping policy issues — from the need for affordable housing, investment in arts and afterschool programming as well as the need for financial literacy to create a more stable existence for many artists and those they serve.

United Way of Rhode Island worked with Rhode Island State Council on the Arts, Rhode Island Council for the Humanities, and the City of Providence to train over 40 artists and arts supporters at “Arts Trifecta: Advocacy 101.”

United Way is planning on a continued partnership with the arts and culture funders around advocacy training and intersectional social issues.

Tufts Health Plan Foundation Awards $315,000 to 3 RI Organizations

As part of a $1.9 million effort to support age friendly communities in New England, Tufts Health Plan Foundation has awarded $315,000 to three Rhode Island organizations.

Recipients included Rhode Island Parent Information Network for senior wellness programs, Rhode Island Public Health Institute for its “Food on the Move” mobile markets, and Saint Elizabeth Community for its supportive housing program for seniors.

“Each community has its own unique needs. Tufts Health Plan Foundation focuses resources in communities that want to achieve age-friendly practices that are relevant, focus on underrepresented communities and engage older people in the process,” said Nora Moreno Cargie, president of the Tufts Health Plan Foundation and vice president of corporate citizenship for Tufts Health Plan. “We are proud to support organizations that are responding to the needs of older people in their communities.”

Blue Cross Makes $10,000 Grant to RI Community Food Bank

Providence Business News — The Rhode Island Community Food Bank received multiple donations from Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Rhode Island as the nonprofit launched its 2019 Summer Food Drive on June 25.

The food bank said it received $10,000 from Blue Cross, which it will use to purchase and distribute food this summer. Additionally, Blue Cross collected more than 6,200 food items – weighing more than 3,600 pounds – during the company’s Summer Snackdown initiative.

Read the full article in Providence Business News

HarborOne Announces $75,000 in Grants

HarborOne Foundation recently announced $75,000 in grants to organizations in Rhode Island.

Said James Blake, CEO of HarborOne, “The work of these nonprofit organizations contributes greatly to the vibrancy and health of the local community. Investing in organizations that create educational opportunity, improve access to affordable housing and provide basic needs to our most vulnerable citizens aligns with the bank’s core values of service, community and trust.”

For more information, read interview in Providence Business News.

Centreville Bank Awards $180,000 in Grants

GCRI member Centreville Bank Charitable Foundation has awarded $181,900 in grants to eight Rhode Island organizations with missions ranging from social services to education to environmental protection.

Recipients included Child & Family Services in Middletown for the Bridges to Success Independent LIving Program; Friends Way for bereavement support and operational support; Comprehensive Community Action Program in Cranston to replace and enhance digital technology at three youth/skill centers; Sojourner House for rapid rehousing of victims of sexual abuse, assault and trafficking; San Miguel School for scholarships; ONE Neighborhood Builders for homeownership promotion and financial education; and Save the Bay for out of school programming.

Tufts Health Plan Foundation Announces 10 Momentum Grants in RI

Ten Rhode Island organizations each will receive a grant of $10,000 from Tufts Health Plan Foundation’s new Momentum Fund. The fund was established to foster new ideas and support cities and towns in their efforts to make their communities better places to grow up and grow old.

“We developed the Momentum Fund to help smaller communities and organizations that want to do this work,” said Nora Moreno Cargie, president of Tufts Health Plan Foundation and vice president of corporate citizenship at Tufts Health Plan. “They are adopting more inclusive policies, building accessible parks and public spaces, and integrating age-friendly practices.”

In addition to the 10 projects in Rhode Island, the Momentum Fund is supporting 10 projects in Massachusetts and 7 in New Hampshire. Each is community-led, addresses healthy aging and includes older people in the planning and implementation process.

“Many New England communities recognize older people as tremendous assets,” said Phillip González, the Foundation’s senior program officer. “This is an opportunity for us to learn from communities as they innovate and collaborate to address the needs of that community.”

The first Rhode Island recipients of the Momentum Fund grants are Benjamin Church Senior Center, Inc.,  Catholic Social Services of RI, Child and Family Services of Newport County, Cranston Senior Services, Educational Center for Arts and Sciences, PACE Organization of Rhode Island, Progreso Latino, Inc., Roger Williams University, The Providence Village of Rhode Island, and Westbay Community Action Program.

More information