With a focus on achieving the goals of its LIVE UNITED 2025 plan to build racial equity and opportunities for all Rhode Islanders, United Way of Rhode Island announced an investment of $10 million in the work of community organizations over three years. These latest grants, awarded from United Way’s Community Impact Fund, benefitted 45 local nonprofits, following what were intentional changes to the organization’s grantmaking program.
In 2021, United Way made the commitment to invest $100 million over five years to build racial equity and opportunities for all Rhode Islanders. With this round of funding, the organization’s contributions through programs, grants, and philanthropy now total more than $71.25 million toward that goal in just three years. Additionally in 2023, United Way will offer more opportunities for funding with a focus on summer learning, opportunity grants, equity initiatives, and family stabilization, among others.
United Way’s overhaul of its grant program was designed to better serve organizations whose work is rooted in actively advancing justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion. Among the changes are three years of funding rather than two, awarding only unrestricted grants, instituting nontraditional reporting, and addressing the funding inequities faced by nonprofits led by Black, Indigenous, and people of color (BIPOC) leaders. On average, these organizations have less than half of the staff and budget as non-BIPOC-led nonprofits.
Aligning with United Way’s strategic priorities, the focus areas of the awarded grants include out-of-school time and experiential learning opportunities for students in underserved communities, housing, job training and economic empowerment, and community-based advocacy to advance social justice and racial equity.
Among the grantee organizations, two — Inspiring Minds and Mt. Hope Learning Center — were funded at the recommendation of United Way’s Women United group.
Organizations were invited to apply for up to $75,000 in annual funding for the three-year period of 2023 to 2026. Proposals went through a multiphase review process, in which a committee of 29 took a holistic approach to reviewing each application. Proposals were scored on alignment with United Way’s mission; organizational readiness to invest; population served and geographical reach; justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion plans; and proposed activities. There were 238 grant applications received, totaling $17.8 million in funding requests.
The Rhode Island Foundation has completed awarding $20 million in grants for hunger, housing and behavioral health to 240 nonprofits across the state. State leaders tapped the Foundation to distribute the funding from Rhode Island’s $1.1 billion share of the federal American Rescue Plan Act allocation for COVID-19 recovery.
The $20 million the Foundation has awarded since December is the single largest pool of grants in the organization’s 107-year-history.
The grants targeted organizations that experienced negative economic impacts as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. The Foundation gave priority to community-based nonprofits serving communities where the need is highest.
The Mt. Hope Community Center in Providence, the East Bay Community Action Program in East Providence, the Galilee Mission in Narragansett, the James L. Maher Center in Middletown, YWCA Rhode Island in Woonsocket and Westbay Community Action in Warwick, where the announcement was made, are among the organizations that received funding. Here is the full list of recipients.
The Foundation announced the first $8.3 million in grants to 91 nonprofits last December. The final $11.7 million in grants were awarded to 149 organizations over the past four months.
The McKee Administration’s Executive Office of Health and Human Services (EOHHS) and the Rhode Island Foundation announced $3.25 million in grant funding to 15 nonprofit organizations to address opioid use, treatment and prevention.
Rhode Island’s Opioid Settlement Agreement states that all the funds will be directed to opioid abatement – including expanding access to opioid use disorder prevention, intervention, treatment, and recovery.
The following organizations will share $2.5 million in the Community Prevention Services for Youth Opioid Mitigation category, which supports evidence-based or evidence-informed community-based opioid prevention services targeted towards children and youth up to age 21.
· Coastline EAP (Warwick)
· Providence Children and Youth Cabinet
· Rhode Island Sports Union
· Substance Use and Mental Health Leadership Council of RI and Youth Pride Inc.
· The Providence Center
· The Rhode Island Alliance of Boys & Girls Clubs
· Woonsocket Prevention Coalition
The following organizations will share $750,000 in grants in the Capacity Support for Opioid Use Disorder and Overdose Prevention, Harm Reduction, and Recovery Agencies category, which supports small, grassroots nonprofit organizations that are carrying out key opioid mitigation activities.
· Access To Recovery
· Justice Assistance
· MAP Behavioral Health Services
· Project Weber/RENEW
· 2nd Act Org
· Strategic Prevention Partnerships
· VICTA Life
The Citizens Charitable Foundation announced today a $1.25 million grant to the Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC) to fuel digital inclusion in historically marginalized communities, helping residents build the skills they need to compete for jobs.
Supporting work at eight LISC Financial Opportunity Center® (FOC) partners, the funding will help launch and expand digital services that prepare people for growth industries, including the information technology field. LISC FOCs are community-based programs that integrate services related to employment training and career coaching, job placement, financial coaching, and wrap-around social support like child-care, housing and transportation so that people can achieve long-term financial stability.
Since FOC services are delivered by experienced community-based nonprofits, the digital training is tailored to local economic and employment conditions, with a particular focus on people and communities where job loss, discrimination and underinvestment have limited opportunities. Importantly, the experience gained from these efforts can then be replicated throughout LISC’s national network of more than 120 FOCs, which serve 25,000 people each year.
The funding directly benefits people who face the steepest structural barriers to opportunity. More than 83 percent of FOC clients are people of color, and 60 percent are women. They take advantage of a range of FOC programs—including the Bridges to Career Opportunities program, which focuses on foundational skills like math and reading, as well as technical training—so they can move into better-paying jobs and build a more stable financial future.
Citizens has been a long-time supporter of LISC and FOCs, with more than $4 million in funding since 2018.
Pictured left to right: Carmen Diaz-Jusino, Vice President, Community Development Officer, BankNewport and a member of the board of directors of the RI Community Food Bank; Andrew Schiff, CEO, RI Community Food Bank; Jack Murphy, President & CEO, BankNewport; Kathleen Charbonneau, Vice President, Director of Community Relations, BankNewport.
In 2022, Bank Newport philanthropic efforts resulted in over $1.7 million awarded to over 400 organizations and over 8,500 service hours performed by employees. The funding was inclusive of charitable grants and contributions, community event sponsorships, community contributions from local branches, and year-end proactive and holiday support to nonprofits that meet basic needs for the underserved throughout Rhode Island. The giving culminated with a $100,000 grant for the Rhode Island Community Food Bank.
According to the RI Community Food Bank’s 2022 Status Report on Hunger in Rhode Island, nearly one in three Rhode Island households can’t afford adequate food and the risk is especially high for low-income families with children and for communities of color. According to findings from the latest RI Life Index, conducted between April and June 2022, 31% of households were food insecure and unable to afford adequate food. By comparison, 9.1% of Rhode Island households were food insecure in the years 2017-2019.
Organizations in every county of Rhode Island benefitted from the giving effort, with areas of impact focused on basic human needs, children & families, education, economic security, healthy living, arts and culture and the environment. Over the past ten years, BankNewport has awarded nearly $8 million in grants, sponsorships, and donations to a wide range of nonprofits and community organizations to help strengthen and enrich lives and communities throughout the state.
Financial education and community involvement by Bank employees in 2022 totaled over 8,500 hours. Through BNWise, BankNewport’s financial education program, 1,250 students and community members were engaged in interactive financial education presentations on a variety of topics, from saving and budgeting to credit and entrepreneurship, which were made available in-person and virtually.
BankNewport also generated statewide awareness for organizations serving Rhode Island’s homeless population through the Kind Heart Fresh Start campaign, which collected hundreds of pieces of new bedding, including pillows, pillowcases, pillow protectors, twin and full-size sheet sets, and crib sheets, from its employees and members of the community, for agencies around the state.
- Island Moving Company ($10,000 Newport, RI / Grants for Arts Projects – Dance)
- Newport String Project ($10,000 Newport, RI / Challenge America)
- Alliance of Artists Communities (aka Artist Communities Alliance) ($30,000 Providence, RI / Grants for Arts Projects – Artist Communities)
- DownCity Design ($35,000 Providence, RI / Grants for Arts Projects – Design)
- New Urban Arts ($15,000 Providence, RI / Grants for Arts Projects – Arts Education)
- Rhode Island School of Design ($40,000 Providence, RI / Grants for Arts Projects – Museums)
- Spectrum Theatre Ensemble ($10,000 Providence, RI / Grants for Arts Projects – Theater)
- Woonasquatucket Valley Community Build, Inc. (aka the Steel Yard) ($10,000 Providence, RI / Grants for Arts Projects – Artist Communities)
Nonprofits serving the state’s Black community have received nearly $110,000 in grants through the Black Philanthropy Bannister Fund at the Rhode Island Foundation.
The fund, established in 2007 to address the needs of the Black community in Rhode Island, supports nonprofits that offer youth development and mentoring, promote the history and achievements of Blacks in Rhode Island, preserve the culture of the Black community and strive to uplift low-income Black Rhode Islanders.
Nineteen organizations received grants:
- African Alliance of Rhode Island
- Oasis International
- Sankofa Community Connection
- Youth Moving Forward
- Everett: Company, Stage & School
- Inspiring Minds
- MAP Behavioral Health Services
- New Bridges for Haitian Success
- New Urban Arts
- Power Up RI, Inc.
- Rhode Island Black Storytellers
- Rhode Island for Community & Justice
- Rhode Islanders Sponsoring Education
- Trinity Academy for the Performing Arts
- Urban League of Rhode Island, Inc.
- Stages of Freedom
- WattsNatural Tutoring
- Youth In Action
The fund also offers scholarships for Black students who are pursuing or advancing a career in health care in college or a technical school. Last year, the fund awarded $54,500 to 25 recipients. The deadline to apply for 2023 scholarship assistance is April 10.
The Black Philanthropy Bannister Fund is just one of the grant programs the Foundation uses to support nonprofits that serve Rhode Island’s community of color. Recent initiatives include creating a capacity-building program to support nonprofits led by Asian, Black, Latino or Hispanic, Indigenous or multi-racial executive directors or other decision-makers within an organization; and launching a grant program to help nonprofits create anti-racist organizational cultures.
Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Rhode Island caps 20 years of community grants with $740,000 for organizations addressing health inequities tied to housing
Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Rhode Island (BCBSRI) awarded $740,000 in 2023 — $335,000 in grants to five organizations that improve access to safe, stable, and affordable housing throughout Rhode Island and $405,000 for successful 2022 grantees working on housing-related health inequities. Funding for these organizations comes from BCBSRI’s cornerstone grant program, BlueAngel Community Health Grants, which celebrated its 20th year in 2022.
BCBSRI’s philanthropic focus on housing is guided by responses to the annual RI Life Index, a statewide survey of Rhode Islanders administered by the Brown University School of Public Health in partnership with BCBSRI. The RI Life Index has consistently shown that access to safe, stable affordable housing is a top concern for Rhode Islanders in nearly every community. In fact, the 2022 score for affordable housing worsened – dropping from 40 to 33 on a scale of 100 – amid high inflation, high interest rates, and high prices and rents.
The 2023 awards extend BCBSRI’s investments in affordable housing to a fourth year, totaling $2.1 million since establishing housing as the sole funding focus in 2019. In total, since the BACHG program’s inception in 2002, BCBSRI has donated more than $6 million to local organizations, funding critical work that has impacted the lives of more than 333,000 Rhode Islanders.
Grantees were Adoption Rhode Island, South County Habitat for Humanity, Jonnycake Center for Hope, West Elmwood Housing Development Corporation, Westbay Community Action, Inc.
Another $405,000 in grants were awarded to 2022 grant recipients who applied for an additional year of funding. Recipients included DARE (Direct Action for Rights and Equality), Housing Network of Rhode Island, NeighborWorks Blackstone River Valley, ONE Neighborhood Builders, Pawtucket Central Falls Development, and Rhode Island Coalition to End Homelessness. Grant recipients can apply for transitional funding when successful performance outcomes have been achieved in the first year.
Blue Angel funding is made available through the Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Rhode Island Community Health Fund maintained at the Rhode Island Foundation. More information about the BACHG program is available at bcbsri.com/about/blueangel.