10 Nonprofit Leaders “Boot Up” Innovation with United Way

For ten local nonprofit leaders, boot camp marks the start of the Nonprofit Innovation Lab — a program that begins on January 13, lasts 23-weeks, and ends with a Shark Tank-like presentation in June where the five remaining finalists compete for three prizes, totaling $90,000.

Hosted by United Way of Rhode Island and the Social Enterprise Greenhouse, the Nonprofit Innovation Lab is designed to spark fresh solutions for existing social problems. Participants were chosen from two dozen applicants during an elevator pitch event in December.

“We’re very impressed with the innovation and quality of their proposals, there are some incredible [ideas] coming out of our state’s nonprofit community,” said Cortney Nicolato, President and CEO of United Way of Rhode Island. “We’re eager to help them hone their ideas to strengthen Rhode Island.”

Nonprofit Innovation Lab components:

  • Boot Camp: For the first 6 weeks, participants receive intensive expert instruction, which includes two, four-hour sessions each week.
  • Milestone Accelerator: During the next 16 weeks, participants work with advisors from the hosting agencies’ networks in preparation for the final event.
  • Innovation Pitch Event: In June, the remaining five participants present their plans, competing for $90,000 in a presentation similar to NBC’S hit television show Shark Tank.

Nonprofit Innovation Lab participants

  • Mario Bueno, Progreso Latino
  • Mike Chea, Dorcas International Institute of R.I.
  • Kate Corwin, Smith Hill CDC
  • Janice Falconer, Impact R.I.
  • Raul Figueroa, Fuerza Laboral
  • Dana Ginestet, College Crusade of R.I.
  • Laura Jaworski, House of Hope CDC
  • Jonathan Kabak, Oliver Hazard Perry R.I.
  • Rhonda Price, Man Up, Inc.
  • Joshua Riazi, Genesis Center

CVS Health Charity Classic Unveils $1 Million Donation

2019 Charity Classic Support Brings Total Amount Donated to More Than $23 Million

CVS Health President and CEO, Larry Merlo and PGA TOUR Champions and CVS Health Charity Classic Co-hosts Brad Faxon and Billy Andrade announced that the 2019 CVS Health Charity Classic generated $1 million for Southern New England charities. This brings the total amount donated over the last 21 years to more than $23 million.

“Over the past 21 years, the Charity Classic has had the pleasure of connecting with organizations that are making a significant impact in the communities that we live and work in,” said Eileen Howard Boone, Tournament Chairperson of the CVS Health Charity Classic. “We are so honored to celebrate another charitable milestone with CVS Health colleagues, charity partners, Charity Classic sponsors and event volunteers.”

The 2019 CVS Health Charity Classic featured some of the world’s top professional golfers including Brooke Henderson, Colin Montgomerie and Keegan Bradley. The Event Series also attracted sold out crowds to Dunkin’ Donuts Center for Crave RI. The two-day food festival displayed Rhode Island’s diverse culinary scene with more than 250 local restaurants & beverage profiles in downtown Providence.

Looking ahead, CVS Health announced the date for the 2020 CVS Health Charity Classic. The Event Series will take place Thursday, June 18 through Monday, June 22.

The mission of the CVS Health Charity Classic is to give back to the community and provide assistance to charitable organizations that focus on helping the community year-round. Donations provided by the 2019 CVS Health Charity Classic provide vital funding to a range of programs serving children and families. In all, 86 non-profit organizations across Rhode Island and Southern Massachusetts will benefit this year from the CVS Health Charity Classic, including:

• Sojourner House whose mission is to promote healthy relationships by providing culturally sensitive support, advocacy, and education for victims and survivors of domestic and sexual violence; and to effect systems change.
• Tides Family Services that addresses the needs of at-risk children through services such as counseling and educational and court advocacy.
• The Joe Andruzzi Foundation that is committed to providing help, hope, and a reason to smile, for New England cancer patients and their families by contributing financial support when it is needed most.

Nonprofits Awarded Nearly $300,000 to Boost RI’s 2020 Census Count of Underserved Communities

Goal is to protect $3.8 billion a year in federal funding for education, health care, roads, housing that RI receives

The Rhode Island Census 2020 Fund, supported by GCRI members, has awarded nearly $300,000 to local organizations for outreach and education that will encourage participation in the 2020 Census. The goal is to protect the roughly $3.8 billion a year that Rhode Island receives in federal funding for education, health care, housing and more based on Census data.

“These Census outreach grants are an essential tool to build the grassroots effort that will help us achieve our goal of ensuring that every Rhode Islander is counted,” said state Health Director Nicole Alexander-Scott, who co-chairs Rhode Island’s Complete Count Committee. “The work to ensure that every community in every ZIP code in Rhode Island is fairly and accurately represented must be community led.”

Among the 26 organizations that received funding are the Alliance of Rhode Island Southeast Asians for Education (ARISE) in Providence, Progreso Latino in Central Falls and Meals on Wheels in Providence. The focus of the grant program is increasing Census response rates in communities that have been historically undercounted and are vulnerable to an undercount in 2020.

“The primary focus is to reach people who are considered ‘hard to count’ – non-English speakers, persons who are homeless and young adults among others. One of our most important tasks is to support outreach that motivates community members to respond,” said Central Falls Mayor James Diossa, who also serves as co-chair.

Contributors to the Rhode Island Census 2020 Fund include GCRI members Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Rhode Island, the Nellie Mae Foundation, New England, the Rhode Island Foundation,  United Way of Rhode Island, and a local family foundation member. The Rhode Island Foundation administers the initiative working in partnership with the Rhode Island Complete Count Committee, created in late 2018 by executive order of Gov. Gina Raimondo.

ARISE received $10,000 for community canvassing and education, ethnic media outreach, community events, information sessions and training lead organizers and youth leaders.

“We’ve been organizing in the Southeast Asian community around the 2020 Census for the past year. This grant will enhance our work eliminating the barriers to participation for historically disenfranchised communities like ours,” said Chanda Womack, executive director.

Meals on Wheels of Rhode Island received $10,000 to train staff and volunteers, and for education, outreach and promotion of the 2020 Census to people who participate in the Home-Delivered Meal Program and Capital City Café dining sites.

“At Meals on Wheels of RI, seniors are always at the center of our work as we serve a unique population that, because they are homebound, may face barriers to participating in the 2020 Census,” said Meghan Grady, executive director. “This grant will augment our efforts to ensure homebound seniors are fully represented in the count.”

Progreso Latino received $20,000 to support its “Everyone Counts/Todos Contamos” Census Campaign. The campaign is a multi-prong, multi-lingual, social media and grass-roots neighborhood public education effort in collaboration with the organization’s community networks.

“We’ll include a ‘train-the –trainer’ component to ensure that influencers in the community can help spread the word among the hard-to-count segments of the Latino and immigrant community,” said Mario Bueno, executive director.

Amos House, the Center for Southeast Asians, Children’s Friend and Service, the city of Newport, Clinica Esperanza/Hope Clinic, the East Providence Public Library, the Elisha Project, Fuerza Laboral, Generation Citizen, Genesis Center, House of Manna Ministries, the Museum of Work & Culture, NeighborWorks Blackstone River Valley, ONE Neighborhood Builders, Providence Community Opportunity Corp., Ready to Learn Providence, the Refugee Development Center, Rhode Island Professional Latino Association, the R.I. Coalition for the Homeless, The College Crusade of Rhode Island, Thundermist Health Center, Turning Around Ministries and the West Elmwood Housing Development Corp. also received grants.

Sixty organizations submitted proposals totaling nearly $1.2 million in the first round of funding. The applications were reviewed by a committee of community members.

“Grassroots organizations realize how crucial it is to engage their communities on the Census and they went all in on the first round. The volume and quality of the responses made for a very difficult review and selection process,” said Jessica David, executive vice president of strategy and community investments at the Rhode Island Foundation, which administers the program. “We’re grateful to the funding partners who are supporting this effort, and to the many local groups who will do the on-the-ground organizing in order to turn out their communities in 2020.”

Applications for a second round of funding are already being taken. Rhode Island-based nonprofit organizations, municipal governments, public agencies like libraries or schools; houses of worship and community-based groups have until Fri., Jan. 31, 2020, to apply for at least $125,000 in funding.

An information session for organizations interested in applying for the second round of Census 2020 Outreach Grants program is scheduled for Tues., Nov. 14, from 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. at Millrace Kitchen, 40 South Main St., Woonsocket. More information about the workshop and the program is posted at rifoundation.org/censusgrants.

CVS Health Partners with Alzheimer’s Association

GCRI member CVS Health and the Alzheimer’s Association announced a three-year corporate partnership aimed at fighting Alzheimer’s disease – a disease impacting more than 5 million Americans and 16 million caregivers across the country. The partnership is launching with an in-store fundraising campaign that will provide $10 million to support Alzheimer’s Association programs, including those aimed at caregiver education, care and support, and disease research.

“I know from my own experience caring for my mother as she battled Alzheimer’s how important it is to support both the patient and the caregivers in that patient’s life,” said Kevin Hourican, Executive Vice President, CVS Health and President, CVS Pharmacy. “Our partnership with the Alzheimer’s Association will fund important programs to help our customers who are caring for a loved one with Alzheimer’s or another dementia, while also connecting them to needed resources and services that can support them.”

The in-store fundraising campaign, which launched Sunday, November 3, will run at the 9,900 CVS Pharmacy locations nationwide through November 23. During these three weeks, CVS Pharmacy customers will have the opportunity to contribute to the Alzheimer’s Association at the register in CVS Pharmacy locations nationwide. The in-store fundraising campaign will repeat the next two Novembers, coinciding with National Alzheimer’s Disease Awareness Month and National Family Caregivers Month.

Throughout November, the Alzheimer’s Association and CVS Health will communicate with customers about tips and resources available to support family caregivers. Currently, more than 16 million family members and friends are serving as Alzheimer’s caregivers. Nearly half of all caregivers (48 percent) who provide help to older adults do so for someone with Alzheimer’s or another dementia. Some of the proceeds from the campaign will be used by the Alzheimer’s Association to develop a new caregiver education program for in-person and online delivery in English and Spanish.

In conjunction with the partnership, beginning in 2020, CVS Health will also serve as a national presenting sponsor of the Alzheimer’s Association Walk to End Alzheimer’s, held annually in more than 600 communities across the country. CVS Health will also participate in the event, joining the National Walk Team Program, providing its 295,000 employees across the country an opportunity to join in the fight against Alzheimer’s.

“The Alzheimer’s Association is grateful for the commitment and enthusiasm CVS Health brings to the fight against Alzheimer’s,” McCullough said. “The funds raised through our partnership will bolster our efforts to support families facing Alzheimer’s and advance much needed research that will one day change the future for millions.”

Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Rhode Island Awards Grants for Rhode Island Senior Centers That Step(ped) Up (to the) Challenge

Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Rhode Island (BCBSRI) motivated older adults to log steps and physical activity in September in support of senior centers across the state – all part of BCBSRI’s first-ever Step Up Challenge.  The friendly competition not only helped participants maintain or increase their own physical activity, but also helped three senior centers – one from each of three regions in the state – earn a $2,500 grant for health and wellness activities.

Throughout the month of September, participating senior centers tracked a total of 141,780,081 steps. The winners of the Step Up Challenge were recognized on October 19 at the Life Expo at Twin River in Lincoln, Rhode Island. Each was presented with a $2,500 check.  Winners were North Providence Mancini Center, Benjamin Church Senior Center and Cranston Senior Center.

“We are thrilled with how many older Rhode Islanders participated in our first-ever Step Up Challenge and for the support they showed to senior centers around the state,” said Ivette Luna, manager, Consumer Engagement at BCBSRI. “Helping older adults maintain their health and wellness is a priority for BCBSRI and events like the Step Up Challenge reinforce our vision of passionately leading a state of health and well-being in Rhode Island.”

In addition to the first place winners, runner-ups in each region will receive one month of fitness programming sponsored by BCBSRI. The Step Up Challenge began on September 1 with kick-off walks in Warwick, Bristol and Lincoln.  In all, 20 senior centers participated in the challenge.  In addition, participants who were not members of a senior center could also register as part of a team at one of the three BCBSRI Your Blue Store locations.  More than 1,300 people registered for the Step Up Challenge.

Women’s Fund Signs Joint Statement on Sexism, Racism & Xenophobia; Encourages Women Candidates

On July 24, 2019, the Women’s Fund of Rhode Island was proud to sign a joint statement by hundreds of sister funds condemning the recent attacks on four of our country’s elected officials who are women of color, in response to chants of “Send them back!” The statement reads: ” Women’s and Girls’ grantmakers, organizations and supporters across the country stand together in condemning the recent vitriol shown towards our country’s female elected officials, and in particular, female elected officials of color.”

To these attackers and their defenders, we say this: ‘You do not represent the shared values that move our country forward.  These values recognize and embrace leadership from all walks of life, recognizing the strength of diversity. For more than 100 years, American women have fought to gain our rightful place in our government institutions.  We will not back down. You cannot erase our presence, nor keep us from taking our place as leaders of this great democracy. As you continue to judge and demean people by gender, country of origin, and skin color, we will take the high road. We will judge people by character and by actions alone.  We will never stop speaking out against the words and actions of those driven by sexism, racism, and xenophobia.

The Women’s Funding Network, its members and partners are steadfast in their support of women of ALL backgrounds who serve and aspire to serve our country in an elected capacity.

We support the active participation in our democracy by those who were not born here, but who have worked hard to become citizens and have pledged their loyalty to our country.  America has always been a country of immigrants. We do not turn our backs on these citizens, and we will not stand to let the actions of a few diminish the valuable contributions they have made to our society.

Your words were intended to divide. They did not. Together we stand, more united than ever.

This past Saturday, WFRI joined with the Women’s Fund of Southeastern Massachusetts and VoteRunLead to provide training to 60 women considering a run for political office. Participants practiced campaign “stump” speeches on the changes they wanted to make in their communities. When WFRI last ran this program in 2017, 18% of the participants ran for office and of those who ran, 60% won their seats.

The 19th Amendment to the U.S Constitution became law on August 26, 1920, giving women the right to vote. This date is now recognized nationwide as Women’s Equality Day. In preparation for the 100th Anniversary of this landmark decision, several organizations and volunteers are banding together to increase voter registration and the number of people voting in 2020.

WFRI will be hosting a training for volunteers on Aug. 26 from 3:00-4:30 pm in the State House Library on the RI voter registration process. Afterward, participants will gather on the State House steps for a picture and a commemorative “Toast to Tenacity” in tribute to the suffragists who fought for American women’s right to vote and in recognition that true gender equity for all has not yet been achieved. GCRI members are invited to attend the Toast without having to go to the training.

Both programs are sponsored by the Secretary of State Nellie Gorbea. Co-hosts include Vision2020, Planned Parenthood Votes! RI, RI NOW, The Woman Project, RI Coalition for Reproductive Freedom, RIDP Women’s Caucus, RI Democratic Women for Leadership and the RI Federation of Republican Women

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!

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.