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.

Hasbro Employees Support Rhode Island Philharmonic Student Scholarships

The Providence Business News profiled a unique partnership between GCRI member Hasbro employees and music students at the Rhode Island Philharmonic Music School.  Members of Hasbro’s Music Matters Employee Network teamed with the Philharmonic’s students for a benefit concert and raised $2,000 for scholarships for the program.

See full article

 

 

Collette Serves Up One Million Meals As Part of Massive CSR Campaign

GCRI member Collette, North America’s oldest tour operator, reached its goal of donating one million meals at a recent packaging event during the company’s annual Founder’s Day. The tour operator’s non-profit arm, The Collette Foundation, launched the One Million Meals hunger initiative in 2016 to celebrate the company’s 100th anniversary and to honor its core value of giving back.

“There are so many people in need around the globe, and we feel fortunate to be able to make a real impact in their lives, both through our global workforce and our many wonderful partners,” said CEO Dan Sullivan. “Social responsibility has been and always will be a core pillar of our culture at Collette.”

To reach the ambitious goal in support of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goal of Zero Hunger, Collette not only mobilized the support of its 600 global employees, but also through a careful selection of partnerships and donations. Partnerships include Rise Against Hunger and Rhode Island-based Edesia. Collette also donated to organizations such as Share our Strength.

 

 

 

Neighborworks Blackstone River Valley Hosts Concert in the Park Program

After learning about the Levitt Foundation’s AMP Your City grant program in the GCRI nonprofit newsletter, Neighborworks Blackstone River Valley applied for, and received Levitt funding to offer a summer full of free outdoor concerts.

Said Meghan Rego, Director of Resource Development and Communications at Neighborworks, “Thanks [to GCRI] for including it in the newsletter so that we knew of the opportunity and were able to apply.  Woonsocket is a buzz about [the] music already; this grant has been an incredible community building tool.”

The goal of the concert series is to reinvigorate the scenic and underused River Island Art Park, “drawing neighbors back into the once bustling public square at the heart of the city to enjoy free and accessible art, serving as both a cultural gathering center where community ties are strengthened and an economic catalyst to the surrounding area.”  The programming builds on Creative Placemaking funding that Neighborworks received from LISC RI, a GCRI member.

More information

Congratulations to Neighborworks, and please remember to share your RFP’s with GCRI so we can help get the word out through GCRI CONNECT, our nonprofit newsletter.

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.