Collette, Rhode Island Foundation Help Launch Books Are Wings Literacy Program in Central Falls

Collette, Rhode Island Foundation Support Launch of Books Are Wings’ Literacy Efforts in Central Falls

Thanks to funding from two GCRI members, Collette and Rhode Island Foundation, Books Are Wings will partner with the City of Central Falls to provide literacy training for the City’s Parks & Recreation summer camp counselors, three book parties throughout the summer, establish six Little Free Libraries in strategic locations throughout Central Falls and distribute over 5,000 free children’s books to Central Falls students throughout the year.

The Little Free Libraries are available to both children and their families anytime, and invite participants to keep books for their personal use. Grant funds will also support the purchase of bilingual books to be included in the book selection.

Books Are Wings will visit Central Falls elementary schools multiple times throughout the school year to distribute free books. By the end of the school year every child will receive up to 6 free books to keep.

According to the 2017 PARCC, only 15% of third graders in Central Falls are meeting grade-level expectations in reading. This is a 2% gain from the previous two years. “The summer months are critical academic times for children. Children’s access to and ownership of books is crucial to maintain the reading skills they acquired during the school year,” states Jocelynn White, Executive Director of Books Are Wings. “We are thrilled to partner with the City of Central Falls to address this need and get more books in the hands of children.”

“The city is excited to partner with Books Are Wings,” says Rob Sayre-McCord, Director of Parks & Recreation and Community Services. “Together, the city and Books Are Wings firmly believe that this initiative will highlight the life-long importance of reading for youth in our community and will be a step towards offsetting the literacy issues our community encounters.”

GCRI Corporate Members Fidelity, Tufts Health Plan Give Back on Annual Days of Service

Tufts Health Plan Employees Tackle 35 Projects in 4 States

In honor of the Tufts Health Plan (THP) Foundation’s 10th anniversary in 2018, employees of Tufts Health Plan set an ambitious goal of 10,000 volunteer hours for the year.

After a very successful annual service day, THP is more than halfway to its goal.  This year’s record-setting Volunteer Day engaged 773 Tufts Health Plan employees in giving back to communities–in total 2,100 hours through 35 projects in 4 states–all in one day.

Pictured above are employee volunteers cleaning up the playground and outdoor areas at Federal Hill House in Providence; they were getting the grounds ready for summer camp. Other projects included building beds for children; prepping gardens that will supply healthy, local, affordable food; sorting donated food, clothing and toys for families living in poverty; and making paracord survival bracelets for deployed service members.

Fidelity Employees Assist Over 100 Nonprofits on Fidelity Cares Day

1,600 Fidelity employees in New England, joined colleagues around the globe to assist 110 nonprofits for the company’s annual service day.  A total of more than 8,000 employees globally provided services that will benefit over 15,000 students and almost 1,000 teachers.

In Rhode Island, Fidelity worked with United Way of Rhode Island to provide financial success fairs at Connecting for Children and Families and Genesis Center, assistance in building an outdoor classroom with DownCity Design, refurbishing a community center with Partnership for Providence Parks, and meal packaging for Project Outreach.

Tufts Health Plan Foundation Supports Efforts for Make Communities Better for All Ages Through $1.8 million in Grants

Tufts Health Plan Foundation announced nearly $1.8 million in new community investments that reflect its commitment to make cities and towns great places to grow up and grow old. The new grants will support initiatives at 16 community organizations in Rhode Island, Massachusetts and New Hampshire working to make communities healthier for people of all ages, with a specific interest in engaging older adults. These investments are in addition to nearly $1 million in previously announced work.

The supported grants in systems improvement and best practices reflect a trend of increased regional and local efforts to create age- and dementia-friendly communities. The initiatives promote cross-sector collaboration, expand engagement of older people, advance improvements to support the health and wellbeing of older people, and foster intergenerational connections.

“Each community will follow its own path to becoming age- and dementia-friendly. Support from Tufts Health Plan Foundation helps ensure resources reach under-represented communities at greatest risk for disparities,” said Nora Moreno Cargie, president of the Tufts Health Plan Foundation and vice president of corporate citizenship for Tufts Health Plan. “Everyone has a voice; it’s important that we listen.”

The two Rhode Island recipients of grants were:

Local Initiative Support Corporation (Providence, R.I.) The Intergenerational Farmers’ Market Project—to address social isolation for older adults through relationship-building activities that capitalize on the integration of arts, culture and community resources across Rhode Island. Two-year grant for $120,000.  (For more information on this innovative program, read the ProJo feature on it!)

Rhode Island Parent Information Network (Cranston, R.I.) Own Your Health: A System to Support Evidence-Based Health Promotion in R.I. for Older People—to improve Rhode Island’s system for providing evidence-based programs for older adults and their caregivers. One-year grant for $63,085.

GCRI Members Invited to Visit Hasbro Summer Learning Initiative Sites

GCRI members United Way and Hasbro invite GCRI members to visit to one of 14 summer learning programs of the 2018 Hasbro Summer Learning Initiative (HSLI).   Each program offers youth a fun six-week, service learning-oriented, experiential curriculum that is designed and delivered by a collaboration of school-day and community-based educators. No two programs are the same, but all of them work towards a common goal: to narrow the achievement gap—a phenomenon that research shows is significantly attributed to unequal access to summer learning.

More than 1,100 Rhode Island youth will benefit from the initiative this summer,  and site visits offer guests the opportunity to witness the progress being made to combat summer learning loss. Visits last one hour.

The following visits are available:

Central Falls — August 9, 2:00-3:00pm, Calcutt Middle School

Cumberland — July 31, 9:00-10:00am, Joseph L. McCourt Middle School

Newport — July 24, 9:00-10:00am, Boys & Girls Club of Newport

North Kingstown — August 1, 11:00am-noon, McGinn Park

North Providence — July 12, 11:00-noon, Greystone School

Pawtucket — July 12, 9:00-10:00am, Boys & Girls Club of Pawtucket

Providence — July 30, 11:00am-noon, Blackstone Valley Academy at Moses Brown School

Providence — August 15, 11:00am-noon, YWCA Rhode Island

West Warwick — August 8, 1:00-2:00pm, Deering Middle School

Westerly — August 7, 9:00-10:00am, Tower Street School Community Center

Woonsocket — July 31, 2:00-3:00pm, C3 Center

Woonsocket — August 8, 9:00-10:00am, Kevin K. Coleman Elementary School

If you are interested in participating in one of the site visits or would like more information, please email hilary.ho@uwri.org or joseph.morra@uwri.org.

United Way Awards $100,000 in Affordable Housing Grants, Releases 2-1-1 Data Report, Invests in Olneyville

United Way Awarded $100,000 to five community organizations from the Housing for All Fund, established at United Way’s 2016 Housing for All Summit in 2016

The funded programs, by Foster Forward, Housing Network of Rhode Island, Rhode Island Center for Justice and West Elmwood Housing Development Corporation, focus on education, financial literacy, workforce and economic development and collaboration.

“We know that too many working families are housing cost-burdened, spending more than one-third of their income to keep a roof over their heads and face difficult choices among the basic needs they can afford,” said Anthony Maione, President and CEO, United Way of Rhode Island. “We also know there’s a lot of good work happening in our state to tackle this issue, which was evident in the proposals we received, and we are excited to see the progress of the programs we’re investing in.”

More information

2-1-1 Data Report Released

United Way also released its annual 2-1-1 data report, with analysis of the almost 200,000 calls for assistance 2-1-1 received in 2017.  The most common requests include financial assistance (rent, utilities, etc.), health information, food and housing.

Full report

UWRI Awards Olneyville Grants to 9 Local Organizations

Nine local organizations were the recipients of a shared total of $90,000 in grants from the United Way of Rhode Island’s Olneyville Community Fund in late June.

The 10-year-old fund, which was created when UWRI moved its headquarters to the Olneyville neighborhood of Providence in 2008, aims to support community-based organizations that benefit local residents and businesses.

Recipients include The Manton Avenue Project, Providence Housing Authority, Meeting Street ONE Neighborhood Builders, the Center for Resilience, Clinica Esperanza/Hope Clinic, Providence Community Library and Sojourner House.

Blue Cross and Blue Shield of RI, LISC, Rhode Island Foundation Release 2017 Community Reports

Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Rhode Island has released it 2017 Community Report, focused on its wide range of involvement in child health and wellbeing, healthcare access and equity, the opioid crisis, and volunteerism and philanthropy.

Full report

LISC RI, a GCRI member, is part of national LISC, which  invested $1.2 billion nationwide in 2017, including $27 million in Rhode Island.  One of the featured stories in the report is the work of the Health Empowerment Zone in Pawtucket/Central Falls, which is adminstered by LISC RI.

Full report

The Rhode Island Foundation’s annual report details information on the $43 million in grants to more than 1,700 the Foundation awarded in 2017, including grants in strategic areas such as economic security, educational success, and healthy lives.

Full report

RI Council for the Humanities Hosts NEA, NEH Leaders for Cultural Conversation; Announces Grants

GCRI Member RI Council for the Humanities hosted A Cultural Conversation with Jane Chu of the National Endowment for the Arts and Karen Kenton of the National Endowment for the the Humanities, as well as all of Rhode Island’s Congressional delegation.  Over 300 community members attended the session, which took place at Trinity Repertory Theater.

RICH also announced a total of $136,429 in new grants to 14 humanities initiatives across the state.  The announcement ceremony, attended by over 50 representatives from civic and cultural organizations, recognized Rhode Island’s strong humanities community and the role the humanities play in civic and community engagement.

Grantees included New Urban Arts, Manton Avenue Project, newportFILM, RISD Museum, South County History Center, Rhode Island Latino Arts, Little Compton Historical Society, Providence Preservation Society and Stages of Freedom for the Public Project category.  In the Documentary film category, grants were awarded to Center for Independent Documentary, Rhode Island PBS and the Rhode Island Historical Society, while Meeting Street and Pushed Learning and Media/New Urban Arts received grants in the K-12 Civic Education category.

More information

Women’s Fund Announces 2018 Grantees, Hosts Gubernatorial Candidate Forum

The Women’s Fund of Rhode Island (WFRI) announced its 2018 grants totaling $50,000 to support gender equality advocacy and female leadership development.  The six recipients are doing impressive work for women and girls in Rhode Island.  One of the grantees, Young Voices, has been providing leadership training to low-income youth of color for ten years. The organization gives kids tools, skills, and experiences that will enhance public speaking, networking, analysis, critical thinking, and leadership.

Another grantee, The Center for Women and Enterprise (CWE) has been working with female entrepreneurs in New England since 1995, preparing them for the business world. It educates, trains, supports, and certifies women starting businesses, giving them the tools necessary to getting their foot in the door. With this approach, CWE levels the playing field and opens doors for women business-owners.

A third grantee is doing significant work for refugees, work that is needed now more than ever. Aline Binyungu and Clement Shabani started Women’s Refugee Care in 2016 to provide services and support to refugees, and their work has expanded to encompass gender equality for women and girls as well. Their proposed project receiving funding from WFRI will provide counseling sessions to educate and support female refugees experiencing unplanned pregnancies.

Grant recipients were Blackstone Valley Prep (summer camp in 2019 to cultivate civic engagement and leadership for 8-11th grade girls); Center for Women and Enterprise (‘Community Classrooms: Spanish Language Entrepreneurship Training’);Planned Parenthood (RI Coalition for Reproductive Freedom);Sojourner House (programming to all 10th grade health classes in Providence Public Schools);Women’s Refugee Care (counseling, contraceptives and education); and Young Voices (#RaiseOurVoices effort to address the root causes of educational disparities).

In addition to announcing a new slate of grants, on June 13, WFRI hosted a Gubernatorial Candidates Forum at the RI Nursing Education Center.  The session was be moderated by Maureen Moakley, political science professor at University of Rhode Island, and was focused on issues facing women and families in Rhode Island.  More info

CVS Health and United Way Launch Opioid Referral Program, Support Pharmacy Workforce Initiative at Genesis Center

United Way, CVS Foundation Launch 2-1-1 Partnership to Address Opioid Addiction

As Rhode Island struggles with the highest rate of substance abuse-related deaths in New England, those caught in the cycle of addiction, as well as their family and friends, have a new resource to access the help they need.

United Way of Rhode Island (UWRI) and the CVS Health Foundation have announced a new partnership through 2-1-1 focused on addressing the opioid use epidemic that has become a public health crisis in the Ocean State. Through the free and confidential 2-1-1 help line that’s available 24/7, 365 days a year, the effort aims to raise awareness and bring greater accessibility to treatment resources to Rhode Islanders.

Utilizing a multi-pronged approach, the partnership incorporates Anchor Recovery, a comprehensive substance abuse treatment organization. With Anchor, 2-1-1 will have access to a dedicated phone line so that 2-1-1 call specialists may provide a warm transfer directly to a peer counselor, who can provide immediate assistance. The partnership also integrates the availability of an addiction and substance use subject matter expert, and specialized training for 2-1-1 staff on addiction issues and available services.

UWRI and the CVS Health Foundation have added a list of addiction resources to the 2-1-1 website (www.211ri.org), where individuals who may be apprehensive to call 2-1-1 by phone can review the resources or chat online with trained specialists.

Additionally, the partnership will provide direct outreach to communities in the state most affected by substance abuse using the 2-1-1 Outreach RV. Through confidential screenings aboard the 38-foot Outreach RV, 2-1-1 will provide direct referrals to local substance abuse agencies, as well as immediate drug and alcohol counseling available from on-site partners, and HIV rapid testing.

To help raise awareness of the partnership and the role of 2-1-1 in combating addiction issues, UWRI and CVS Health will employ a marketing campaign, including digital, radio and transit advertisements.

CVS Health is committed to addressing and preventing the nation’s opioid epidemic. In March, the company announced it is adding 14 medication disposal units inside CVS Pharmacy locations across the state to make it easier to dispose of unused medications. This work builds on ongoing company initiatives, including the Pharmacists Teach program, which brings CVS Pharmacists to local schools to talk to teens and parents about the dangers of abusing prescription drugs. More than 300,000 teens nationally including more than 3,600 in Rhode Island have already participated in the program. CVS Health has also worked to expand access to the opioid overdose-reversal drug naloxone in 46 states, including Rhode Island.

Genesis Center Pharmacy Tech Program Receives Support from CVS Health and United Way of Rhode Island

The Genesis Center Pharmacy Technician program, which was born out of a partnership between Genesis Center, Building Futures, CVS Heath and United Way of Rhode Island, gives students an opportunity to train for a career that’s on track to add 47,600 new jobs by 2026.

Tyla Pimentel, Genesis Center’s Adult Services Director, explains, “It became increasingly difficult to earn a living-wage working in low-skilled jobs, so we adapted to the community’s changing needs” with this popular new program. In addition to the faster than average job growth, the median income for those entering the pharmacy tech field is $15.26 an hour.

The program, now in its second cohort, has started receiving more interest from the community. “Many times, people come in for another class but end up interested in the pharmacy tech program,” says Liz Hanke, Genesis Center’s Workforce Coordinator. Part of this new program’s appeal is that graduates do their internships with CVS Health — which often leads to job offers.

Internships are far from the end of their collaboration; CVS Health’s in-house training modules are foundational to the program’s curriculum. “Our students start their careers at an advantage,” explains Tyla. “They complete most of CVS’s training program before they even graduate.”Internships are far from the end of their collaboration; CVS Health’s in-house training modules are foundational to the program’s curriculum. “Our students start their careers at an advantage,” explains Tyla. “They complete most of CVS’s training program before they even graduate.”

In addition, Genesis helps students develop soft skills, such as writing resumes and interviewing, while also preparing them for the reality of entering the workforce. “It’s important we help manage their expectations,” says Liz. “We explain to them that no one starts at the top, but if they put in the time, work hard, and are dependable they can achieve success — but that it’s ultimately up to them.”

Like Genesis Center, United Way of Rhode Island understands helping others often relies on an agency’s willingness to adapt. This willingness is what helps nonprofits meet the changing needs of a community — like the need for quality adult education.

United Way invests in adult education by supporting effective programs like Genesis Center’s Pharmacy Technician Program. “United Way allows us to help more people benefit from this program,” Tyla explains. “Community members who would otherwise never have an opportunity like this.”
United Way’s continued investment in adult education is important to our goal of changing the lives of 250,000 Rhode Islanders by the year 2020. Working closely with partners, such as Genesis Center, we will not only reach this goal but surpass it — helping many more Rhode Islanders in the process.

Hasbro and CVS Health Recognized as Exemplary Corporate Citizens

Two GCRI members, Hasbro and CVS Health, were recognized as part of Corporate Responsibility Magazine’s recently released 19th Annual “100 Best Corporate Citizens” recognizing the standout environmental, social and governance (ESG) performance of public companies across the United States.  Hasbro was ranked 5th, and CVS Health was ranked 26th.  

CR Magazine is proud to present the only ESG ranking list that doesn’t rely on self-reporting,” said Dave Armon, publisher of CR Magazine in a release.  “Each year, the 100 Best Corporate Citizens ranking measures the success of the Brands Taking Stands movement by celebrating the most successful, most transparent companies that report on their responsible practices. We congratulate those honored on this year’s list for their commitment to corporate responsibility.”

The 100 Best Corporate Citizens list documents 260 ESG data points of disclosure and performance measures—harvested from publicly available information in seven categories: environment, climate change, employee relations, human rights, governance, finance, and philanthropy & community support.

“The 100 Best ranking demonstrates that a company is dedicating resources towards its corporate responsibility and sustainability efforts,” explains Jen Boynton editor of CR Magazine. “Public disclosure allows its stakeholders to gain greater insights into a company’s business practices.”